Lake Chapala Birders Observadores de Aves del Lago de Chapala Your hosts John and Rosemary Keeling
If you have reports of interesting bird sightings near Lake Chapala, or need information about birding at the lake, email us at: ChapalaBirders@yahoo.com or phone 376-766-1801
Two New Species for the Lake
We saw 160 species last month - a very large list for April. This was aided by lots of birding trips and top-notch visiting birders. The complete list of sightings is shown at the end of this email.
The big news is that we have added two species to the Lake Chapala list.
The first species is the Mexican Whip-poor-will which was observed by Raul Padilla, a visiting birder from the city of Pachuca. He camped out on the ridge of Chupinaya, 2,000 feet above Ajijic, and these birds were calling all night. We have not encountered them at lake level This species sleeps during the day, and flies at night to catch insects.
The second species is the Bald Eagle. Nicola Cendron, a visiting birder from Mexico City, observed one flying over the El Volantin dam. This eagle has been seen further north in the neighboring states of Nayarit and Zacatecas, but not this far south before. These eagles breed primarily in Canada and winter primarily in the US. They are fish eating birds, but when fish are not available they will eat crabs, coots, ducks, or jackrabbits - dead or alive.
Other interesting sightings in April were:
- Greenish Elaenias on the trails above Ajijic. - An estimated 3,000 American white pelicans at Petatan - An estimated 65,000 yellow-headed blackbirds at evening assembly at the malecon at San Antonio Tlayacapan - A Black-tailed Gnatcatcher above San Pedro Itzican - Squirrel Cuckoos and Rufous-Crowned Motmots have started calling from the hills - Wilson's Phalaropes have been passing through on migration - A group of migrating Dickcissels was seen at Lake Cajititlan - The American White Pelicans departed on April 23. As usual, a few have stayed behind
Photo of a Bald Eagle as sighted at the end of April on the Rosa Amarilla loop, flying over the El Volantin dam.
Global Big Day
A final reminder, on Saturday, May 6, every birder in the world is encouraged to get outside and count as many bird species as they can find in one day. These sightings should be entered in the eBird database.
The aim is to get people out to enjoy the birds, and to get more people into using eBird for recording their sightings.
Most birders will be aware that a "Big Day" typically involves a team of birders in one car hitting as many bird hot-spots as possible in a 24-hour period. On May 6 you do not have to form a team, but it's an idea!
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 Tuesday May 8 we will meet at 8.00 a.m. to hike the Allen Lloyd Trail which follows a long arroyo with lots of underbrush in which birds love to hide. At 10.00 we will head to Sunrise restaurant for breakfast and complete the birdlist. To Get There: Take the libramiento northwards from Walmart. After the first curve, look for the culvert just before "Birds of Paradise" condominium. Park on the north side of the road close to the culvert.
On Friday May 27, we will meet at 8.00 a.m. in Riberas del Pilar to follow the shoreline observing marsh, lake and scrub birds. At about 10.00 we will head to Mom's restaurant for breakfast. How to get there: Take the carretera to Riberas; half way along, turn down to the lake at the Seven Eleven store; park close to the lake.
Bird Walk & Trip Reports
On April 8, we had eight keen birders out at Lake Cajititlan. Though the water quality is not good we managed to record 57 species including American Avocet, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, White-tailed Kite, Sora, Marsh Wren and Common Yellowthroat.
On April 18, the trek to Las Trojes attraacted just two people, However, but we saw and heard 44 species which is unexpectedly high for the dry oak forest. We heard Acorn Woodpecker, Brown-backed Solitaire and Elegant Trogon, and saw Hepatic Tanager, Squirrel Cuckoo, Hermit Thrush, Happy Wren, as well as dozens of Gray Silky Flycatchers,
April Sightings List
Here are the 160 species observed in April around Lake Chapala:
Ani, groove-billed Avocet, American (Ca, Ra) Becard, rose-throated Bittern, American Blackbird, Brewer's (Ra) Blackbird, red-winged Blackbird, yellow-headed Bluebird, eastern (Ra) Bobwhite, northern (Ca) Bunting, indigo Bunting, lazuli Bunting, varied Bushtit Caracara, crested Chat, yellow-breasted Coot, American Cormorant, neotropic Cowbird, bronzed Cowbird, brown-headed Cuckoo, squirrel (At) Dickcissel (Ca) Dove, common ground Dove, Eurasian collared Dove, Inca Dove, white-tipped Dove, white-winged Dowitcher, long-billed Duck, black-bellied whistling (Ca) Duck, fulvous whistling (Sa) Duck, Mexican Duck, ruddy Eagle, bald (Ra) Egret, cattle Egret, great Egret, snowy Elaenia, greenish (At) Euphonia, elegant Finch, house Flycatcher, cordilleran Flycatcher, dusky-capped Flycatcher, gray-silky Flycatcher, least Flycatcher, social Flycatcher, vermillion Flycatcher, willow (Pz) Gallinule, common Gallinule, purple (Sa) Gnatcatcher, black-tailed (Pz) Goldfinch, lesser Grackle, great-tailed Grebe, least Grebe, pied-billed Grosbeak, black-headed Grosbeak, blue Gull, laughing Gull, ring-billed Hawk, Cooper's (Tr) Hawk, red-tailed Hawk, sharp-shinned (Av) Heron, black-crowned night Heron, great blue Heron, green Heron, tri-colored Hummingbird, berylline Hummingbird, broad-billed Ibis, white-faced Jacana, northern Kestrel, American Killdeer, Kingbird, Cassin's Kingbird, thick-billed Kingbird, tropical Kiskadee, great Kite, white-tailed Meadowlark, eastern (Ra) Mockingbird, blue Mockingbird, northern Nightjar, buff-collared (Av) Oriole, black-backed Oriole, black-vented Oriole, hooded Oriole, streak-backed Osprey (Ra) Owl, great horned Parakeet, monk Parula, tropical (Pt) Pelican, American white Pewee, greater Phalarope, Wilson's (Ra,Ca)) Phoebe, black Phoebe, Say's Pigeon, rock Pipit, American Rail, Aztec (Sa) Raven, common Redstart, American Roadrunner, greater Roadrunner, lesser Robin, rufous-backed Sandpiper, least Sandpiper, spotted Seedeater, white-collared Shoveler, northern Shrike, loggerhead Snipe, Wilson's (Sa) Solitaire, brown-backed (Tr) Sora Sparrow, chipping Sparrow, clay-colored Sparrow, house Sparrow, lark Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground Sparrow, savannah Sparrow, stripe-headed Spoonbill, roseate (Dp) Stilt, black-necked Stork, wood (Ra) Swallow, barn Swallow, cliff Swallow, northern rough-winged Tanager, hepatic Tanager, western Teal, blue-winged Teal, cinnamon Tern, Caspian (Ra) Thrasher, curve-billed Thrush, hermit (Pz,Tr)) Thrush, orange-billed nightingale Towhee, canyon Trogon, elegant (Tr) Vireo, Cassin's Vireo, golden Vireo, plumbeous Vireo, warbling Vulture, black Vulture, turkey Warbler, black and white Warbler, black-throated gray Warbler, MacGillivray's Warbler, Nashville Warbler, orange crowned Warbler, Townsend's Warbler, Virginia's Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, yellow-rumped Warbler, yellow-throated Whip-poor-will, Mexican (At) Woodcreeper, white striped (Av) Woodpecker, acorn (Tr) Woodpecker, golden-fronted Woodpecker, ladder-backed Wren, Bewick's Wren, canyon Wren, happy (Tr) Wren, house Wren, marsh Wren, spotted Yellowlegs, greater (Ra) Yellowthroat, common
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 Malteraña 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