Saturday, March 5, 2016

FW: Lake Chapala Birding News

Birding News Lake Chapala
Lake Chapala Birders March 2, 2016

157 species seen in February
Black Terns over Lake Chapala
Animated Video of Migration Routes
Upcoming Trips and Bird Walks
Bird Walk & Trip Reports
February Sightings List

Lake Chapala Birders

Observadores de Aves del Lago de Chapala

Your hosts
John and Rosemary Keeling
John & Rosemary

If you have reports of interesting bird sightings near Lake Chapala, or need information about birding at the lake, email us at:
or phone 376-766-1801


  • 157 species seen in February

  • The complete list of sightings is shown at the end of this email.

    Our local White-tailed kites are already mating and building a nest (at the pumping station). Other birds cannot be far behind. March is also the month in which our migratory birds leave us to go north.

    In February we had a visit from an expert birder from California. Almost the first bird he saw here was a Green-tailed Towhee, which we regard as rare. Perhaps is not as rare as we thought. We know it is very good at hiding in the underbrush. It is a winter visitor to Mexico.

    Eared grebes continue to be spotted on the upper dam above Santa Cruz de la Soledad.

    Brown-backed solitaires, previously only heard on the upper hills, are now being heard very close to Ajijic. John Roynon managed to spot one on the north edge of the village.

    Backyard Bird Count Report
    Six birders from our area submitted species lists, reporting the sighting of 108 species over the four day period of the count.

    The country reporting the most species sighted (780) was India which is becoming a major birding country. Second in the world was Mexico reporting 699 species.

  • Black Terns over Lake Chapala

  • This photo by local bird photographer Paul Hart shows an immature Black Tern over Lake Chapala. In the second week of February visiting birder Jules Evens reported seeing Black Terns. We normally see them only occasionally in the winter time. Another visiting expert birder reported this species here in November. "Howell & Webb", our reference text, says of this species: Irregular visitor Nov.-Mar.

    The adults are ash-colored birds only 11 in. in length. The immature birds show the unique dark patch below the leading edge of the wing as seen in the photo. They breed in fresh-water marshes of northern US and Canada, and winter on the coasts of South America.

  • Animated Video of Migration Routes

  • Researchers have been studying the migratory movement of birds based on ten years of data that birders have entered in the e-bird data base. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has released a fascinating 'animated gif' showing the migration routes for 118 species selected to show a wide range of routes and destinations. The first url below represents each species as a dot, the second as a coded number. Remember each dot represents the center of a cloud of tens or hundreds of thousands of birds averaged over 10 years.

    From the video, I observe that here in Jalisco in west-central Mexico, spring migration starts March 1, and most migratory birds are gone by March 31. These birds reach their breeding grounds in the US and Canada in May, and start leaving from there in August. They start arriving back here November 1, and are settled here by November 31.

  • Upcoming Trips and Bird Walks

  • Our bird walks are open to all those interested in birds, both beginners and experienced birders. Just bring binoculars and show up. We always have knowledgeable birders on hand to identify the species. If you are being given a ride, please make a contribution to gas and tolls (perhaps 50-100 pesos for a half day outing, 100-200 for a day trip).

    On Saturday March 5 we will meet at El Bajio on the west side of Ajijic at 8.00 am. Expect to see a variety of shore birds, garden birds and scrub birds. We will be looking for migrants. At about 10.15 we will head for Fonda Dona Lola for breakfast and complete the bird list.
    How to get there: From Ajijic go about 2 mi. (3 km) west from the light at Colon, turn downhill at the sign for El Bajio next to the extreme speed bumps. Park immediately on the lateral.

    On Monday March 14 we will meet at Cristiania Park in Chapala at 8.15 a.m. We should see an interesting selection of species in the tall trees and at the bushy edge of the lake. At about 10.30 we will go to Las Delicias for breakfast and complete the bird list.
    How to Get There: From Ajijic go the traffic light at the main street of Chapala (Av. Madero), cross straight over and keep going straight for five blocks, turn left at the T intersection and park on the right.

    Wednesday March 30 we will meet at Donas Donuts at 8.00 a.m. to carpool, leaving immediately for the Rio Verde, (two hours drive north-east from Ajijic). We will access the canyon at the site which has an entrance fee of 100 pesos per person and hot water issuing from the rocks into pools. Bring bathing suits, towels, refreshments and sandwiches. Expect to see lower altitude birds such as Gila Woodpecker, Squirrel Cuckoo, Mexican Parrotlet and Black Phoebe. We will get back about 5.00 p.m. If you plan to come please email at least 48 hours ahead and indicate if you can bring a car.

  • Bird Walk & Trip Reports

  • On February 6, a dozen people were out in the subdivision of La Cristina. Fifty five species were observed, including Yellow-breasted Chat, Blue Mockingbird, Bullock's Oriole, Greater Pewee, Western Tanager and Lucy's Warbler and for a special treat, a pair of Painted Buntings.

    On February 17, we had two carloads of keen birders going round the Rosa Amarilla Loop on the plateau at the south side of the lake. Everyone was pleased with the sighting of 68 species, including Osprey, White-tailed Hawk, Red-winged Blackbird, Wood Stork, Wigeon and Canvasback.

    On February 26, fourteen birders made it to the Pumping Station, where we saw 69 species, despite some construction activity. Species included Gadwall, Fulvous Whistling Duck, Orchard Oriole, Black-backed Oriole, Crested Caracara, Song Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, and the highpoint was a pair of White-tailed Kites mating and sitting on a nest.

  • February Sightings List

  • Here are the 157 species observed in February around Lake Chapala:

    Ani, groove-billed
    Avocet, American (Ca,Ra)
    Becard, rose-throated
    Bittern, least (Ca)
    Blackbird, red-winged (Ra,Ps)
    Blackbird, yellow-headed
    Bunting, lazuli
    Bunting, painted
    Bunting, varied
    Caracara, crested
    Chat, yellow-breasted
    Coot, American
    Cormorant, neotropic
    Cowbird, bronzed
    Cowbird, brown headed
    Dove, common ground (Xt,Ca)
    Dove, Eurasian collared
    Dove, Inca
    Dove, white-tipped
    Dove, white-winged
    Duck, fulvous-whistling (Ps)
    Duck, Mexican
    Duck, ring-necked (Ps)
    Duck, ruddy
    Egret, cattle
    Egret, great
    Egret snowy
    Euphonia, elegant (Ps,At)
    Finch, house
    Flycatcher, ash-throated
    Flycatcher, cordilleran
    Flycatcher, gray silky
    Flycatcher, least
    Flycatcher, social
    Flycatcher, vermilion
    Flycatcher, willow (At)
    Gadwall (Ps)
    Gallinule, common
    Gnatcatcher, blue-gray
    Goldfinch, lesser
    Grackle, great-tailed
    Grebe, eared (Ps)
    Grebe, least
    Grebe, pied-billed
    Grosbeak, black-headed
    Grosbeak, blue
    Gull, laughing
    Gull, ring-billed
    Hawk, Cooper's
    Hawk, gray (Ps)
    Hawk, red-tailed
    Hawk, sharp-shinned
    Hawk, white-tailed (Ra)
    Heron, black-crowned night
    Heron, great blue
    Heron, green
    Heron, tri-colored
    Hummingbird, broad-billed
    Hummingbird, violet-crowned
    Ibis, white-faced
    Jacana, northern
    Kestrel, American
    Kingbird, Cassin's
    Kingbird, thick-billed
    Kingbird, tropical
    Kingbird, western (At)
    Kingfisher, belted (Xt,Ra)
    Kiskadee, great
    Kite, white-tailed (Ps)
    Meadowlark, eastern (Ra)
    Mockingbird, blue
    Mockingbird, northern
    Nightjar, buff-collared
    Oriole, black-backed
    Oriole, black-vented
    Oriole, Bullock's (Ps)
    Oriole, hooded
    Oriole, orchard (Ps)
    Oriole, streak-backed
    Osprey (Ca,Ra)
    Owl, great-horned
    Parakeet, monk
    Pelican, American white
    Pewee, greater
    Pewee, western wood
    Phoebe, black (Rp,Ra)
    Pintail, northern
    Raven, common
    Redstart, painted (Sc)
    Robin, rufous-backed
    Sandpiper, least
    Sandpiper, spotted
    Seedeater, white-collared
    Shoveler, northern
    Shrike, loggerhead
    Solitaire, brown-backed
    Sparrow, chipping
    Sparrow, clay-colored
    Sparrow, house
    Sparrow, Lark
    Sparrow, Lincoln's
    Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
    Sparrow, savannah
    Sparrow, song (Ps)
    Sparrow, stripe-headed
    Stilt, black-necked
    Stork, wood (Ra)
    Swallow, barn
    Swallow, northern rough-winged
    Swallow, tree
    Swallow, violet-green
    Tanager, hepatic
    Tanager, western
    Teal, blue-winged
    Teal, cinnamon
    Teal, green-winged
    Tern, black (Av)
    Tern, Caspian (Av,Ps)
    Tern, Forster's (Av,Ps)
    Thrasher, curve-billed
    Thrush, orange-billed nightingale
    Towhee, canyon
    Towhee, green-tailed
    Vireo, Cassin's (At)
    Vireo, golden
    Vireo, plumbeous (At)
    Vireo, warbling
    Vulture, black
    Vulture, turkey
    Warbler, black and white
    Warbler, black-throated gray
    Warbler, hermit
    Warbler, Lucy's (Ac)
    Warbler, MacGillivray's
    Warbler, Nashville
    Warbler, orange-crowned
    Warbler, rufous-capped
    Warbler, Townsend's
    Warbler, Virginia's (Av)
    Warbler, Wilson's
    Warbler, yellow (Av,Ps)
    Warbler, yellow-rumped
    Woodpecker, golden-fronted
    Woodpecker, golden-fronted
    Woodpecker, ladder-backed
    Wren, Bewick's
    Wren, canyon
    Wren, house
    Wren, marsh (Ca,Ps)
    Wren, spotted
    Yellowlegs, greater
    Yellowthroat, common (Ca,Ra)

    Location codes:
    Ac - Ajijic: La Cristina/El Bajio
    At - Trails above Ajijic
    Av - Ajijic village
    Ca - Lake Cajititlan
    Ch - Chapala
    Cu - Cuitzeo/Ocotlan
    Dm - Dike near MalteraƱa
    Dp - Dike near La Palma
    Hv - Hidden Valley oak forest
    Ja - Jamay
    Jo - Jocotepec
    Ld - Lerma & Duero rivers
    Pe - Petatan area
    Ps - Pumping Station/Santa Cruz
    Pt - San Pedro Tesistan area
    Pz - San Pedro Itzican area
    Ra - Rosa Amarilla loop
    Rc - Santa Rosa/Carnero dam
    Rp - Riberas del Pilar & canyon
    Sa - San Antonio/Chula Vista
    Sc - San Juan Cosala
    Sn - San Nicholas/Golf Club
    Tz - Tizapan canyon
    Te - San Juan Tecomatlan/Mezcala
    Tr - Las Trojes/oak forest
    Tu - Tuxcueca/South Shore area
    Xt - Ixtlahuacan/Las Campanillas