Sunday, September 4, 2016

September Newsletter

Chapala Birders Newsletter September 2, 2016
93 Species Seen in August
The complete list of sightings is shown at the end of this newsletter.

This is the season of 'confusing immatures', when a number of birds are difficult to identify because they are still only a month or two out of the nest and have not yet reached adult plumage.

Some interesting sightings last month:
  • Stan and Darnelle Dunn observed a pair of Black-throated Magpie Jays near lake Cajiititlan. These are beautiful birds, but not normally found here in the wild any more, though they are commonly sold in birdcages in the markets. We believe these were 'escapes'.
  • Our first returning warbler sighted this season is a Wilson's Warbler. Its winter range runs from here to Panama, so it is quite possible the bird we saw at the end of August was on migration to a Central American wintering location.
    Sinaloa Wren    
as seen above Ajijic earlier this summer. This medium-sized wren is endemic to Mexico being found only  on the West side of the country. These birds move so rapidly and silently that you do not see them move, yet their call moves from tree to tree. It's nests are commonly seen here - the nest is curled over a low branch with an access tunnel on one side and a nest bag on the other.  For us it is an altitude migrant coming here in June and July to nest, then returning to lower elevations nearer the coast. The published range maps err as they show it not coming here. Photo by Raul Padilla.
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 Friday September 9 we will meet at Donas Donuts at 8.00 am to carpool, leaving immediately for Villa Corona (60 minutes drive). We expect to see Wilson's Phalaropes, Black-necked Stilts and Roseate Spoonbills, among other species. Bring your own morning refreshments. We will be back in Ajijic by 1.00 pm. If you plan on going, please email John at ahead of time saying whether you can bring a vehicle, to help in carpool planning.

On Monday September 19  we will meet at 8.00 am at Donas Donuts. leaving immediately for Agua Escondida and the Two Dams (20 minutes drive). We may see Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Northern Jacana, and a variety of other water birds, woodpeckers and orioles.At about 10.15 we will go to Las Delicias for breakfast and complete the bird list. If you plan on going, please email John at ahead of time saying whether you can bring a vehicle, to help in carpool planning.

On Wednesday September 28 we will meet at 8.00 am at El Bajio. We will walk down the lane to the lake, expecting to see a good variety of birds in the tall trees and fields. At about 10.00 we will head to Dona Lolas 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.
Updated 'Master Species List' for the Lake
I have been busy in August updating the main 'Lake Chapala List' to show all the new official Mexican names for our species, and to totally revise the chart of monthly occurrence which is now based on our own seven-years of records instead of being based primarily on our key reference book "Howell and Webb, 1995". It also shows which 59 species have only been reported here two times or less.

If you would like to be emailed a copy of this in pdf format (7-pages), just reply to this email asking for the "New Master Bird List "
Bird Walk & Trip Reports
On August 12 a small group went to Lake Cajititlan under good weather. Interesting sightings included Brown Pelican (adult), Peregrine Falcon, Purple Gallinule, Wood Stork, Black-bellied Whistling Duck and Common Ground Dove, in a list of 36 species.

On August 22 an extended thunder shower lifted in time for our visit to the Pumping Station. We recorded Tri-colored Heron, Yellow-headed Blackbird, American White Pelican, Ladder-backed Woodpecker and a Black-backed Oriole family. The list total was 39 species.
Birding Tours in Mexico
We are pleased to recommend a new series of birding tours being offered by Travelian, an offshoot of Audubon Mexico in San Miguel de Allende. The leaders are typically senior members of Audubon Mexico, and local guides are hired in each area. Trips this winter include:

Veracruz Coastal Raptor Migration October 2-7
leaving from San Miguel or Veracruz Airport, blends birding and raptor watching and key local sights. See itinerary:

Oaxaca Highlands birding Tour
November 20-25 starting from Oaxaca City, each day will focus on birding different altitudes available outside the city. See itinerary:

Yucatan Birding Journey January 12-18
starting in Merida City, emphasizes birding across the northern Yucatan ending with American Flamingoes at Celestun. See itinerary: 
August Sightings List
Here are the 93 species sighted around Lake Chapala in August:

Ani, groove-billed
Blackbird, red-winged (Ra)
Blackbird, yellow-headed
Bobwhite, northern
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, bronzed
Cuckoo, squirrel
Dove, common-ground (Ca)
Dove, Eurasian-collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, white-tipped
Duck, black-bellied whistling (Xt)
Duck, fulvous whistling
Duck, Mexican
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Falcon, peregrine (Ca)
Finch, house
Flycatcher, ash-throated
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermilion
Gallinule, common
Gallinule, purple (Ca)
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grosbeak, blue
Gull, laughing
Gull, ring-billed
Hawk, Cooper's (Ps)
Hawk, red-tailed
Hereon, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue
Heron, green
Heron, little blue (Ps)
Heron, tri-colored
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, ruby-throated (Sa)
Hummingbird, rufous
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Ibis, white-faced
Jacana, northern
Jay, black-throated mapie
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
Kiskadee, great
Meadowlark, eastern (Ra)
Mockingbird, blue
Motmot, russet-crowned (At)
Nighthawk, lesser
Oriole, black-backed
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, hooded
Oriole, orchard (Sa,Ca)
Oriole, streak-backed
Osprey (Ps,Ra)
Owl, great horned (Av)
Parakeet, monk
Pelican, American white
Pelican, brown (Ca)
Pewee, greater
Pigeon, rock
Raven, common
Roadrunner, greater
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, spotted
Seedeater, white-collared
Shrike, loggerhead
Sparrow, Botteri's (Ra)
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
Sparrow, strip-headed
Stilt, black-necked
Stork, wood (Ca,Ra)
Swallow, barn
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Tanager, western
Tern, Forster's
Thrasher, curve-billed
Towhee, canyon
Vireo, golden
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey (Ra)
Warbler, Wilson's (Ra)
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, spotted
Yellowthroat, common (Ca)
Yellowthroat, gray-crowned (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
Lake Chapala Birders is an informal group of bird observers led by John and Rosemary Keeling. Don't hesitate to contact us if you are seeking information about birding in the area. We also like to hear about sightings of birds or nests at: or 376.766.1801. Check out the website: