The complete list of sightings is shown at the end of this newsletter.
Study of eBird records has shown that October is the month during which most of the migratory species from up north arrive here in Jalisco. Most migration routes run north-south, rarely crossing diagonally across flyways. Most of the birds we see here in the winter have come down either the west or east sides of the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Madre Occidental, and not from the central plains or the east.
Some interesting sightings last month:
On the Birding Trip to Villa Corona we saw good numbers (over 50) of Roseate Spoonbills, Clark's Grebes, and Wilson's Phalaropes (see report below).
Once again we have a pair of Peregrine Falcons at Lake Cajititlan, and a Cooper's Hawk at El Bajio.
This summer we have had about 400 American White Pelicans over-summering at the lake. These are all one-year-old birds that choose not to go north, as they are too young to breed. Their preferred roost is on a rocky island off San Nicolas de Ibarra.
A few of us have been going birding from time to time to Concepcion de Buenos Aries which is west of Mazamitla in the Sierra del Tigre. It is almost as high as Tapalpa, but is not so far to drive and it has pretty countryside and good birding. In November we will run a day-trip there.
Western Wood Pewee
as seen on the lakeshore this summer. This is one of the "confusing small flycatchers". It is a gray-brown bird that sits on prominent perches, sallying out to catch insects. It is migratory, spending the winter in South America, coming north for the summer to breed between April and September.
Incorrect Identifications of Western Wood Pewee
eBird personnel have been alerted to many reports form Mexico and elsewhere of Western Wood Pewee sightings in the winter when these birds are actually enjoying the slopes of the Andes mountains in South America. Our group has been at fault in this matter.
The problem stems from the fact that the Greater Pewee looks very similar and is only slightly larger. Size differences are difficult to judge in the field. The Greater Pewee almost always puts its crest up, and the Western Wood Pewee usually keeps its crest down. The mandible of the Greater Pewee is brighter orange. The Greater Pewee is resident here year-round.
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 Monday October 10 we will meet at 8.00 am at Donas Donuts to carpool leaving immediately for the Rosa Amarilla Loop on the plateau above the south side of the Lake. This is always a popular destination, 90 minutes drive away, to see a mixture of upland pasture birds such Eastern Meadowlarks and also water birds such as Wood Storks. We will be back about 3.00 pm. If you plan on going, please email John at email@example.com ahead of time saying whether you can bring a vehicle, to help in carpool planning. On Wednesday October 19 we will meet at 8.00 am across the road from El Dorado to hike the Allen Lloyd Trail. We will bird this mile-long bushy trail until 10.15, when we will go for breakfast at Sunrise Restaurant and complete the bird list. Expect to see Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Stripe-headed Sparrow and possibly a Squirrel Cuckoo.
On Friday October 28 we will meet at Donas Donuts at 8.00 am to carpool leaving immediately for Las Trojes, one hour away, to hike the Horizontal Oak Forest Trail. We hike to the edge of the hidden valley (3-hours hiking uphill, 2-hours back). Don't expect very many birds, but the hike is very pleasant. We will be back about 4.00 pm. Bring refreshments and sandwiches for lunch at noon at the top. If you plan on going, please email John at firstname.lastname@example.org ahead of time saying whether you can bring a vehicle, to help in carpool planning.
Bird Walk & Trip Reports
On September 9 two car-loads went to Villa Corona. We were amazed by the quantities of interesting birds. We observed Roseate Spoonbills (over 100), migrating Wlson's Phalaropes (over 200), Northern Shovelers (over 100), Clark's Grebes (over 100) and Black-necked Stilts (over 100), as well as the expected many hundreds of Great Egrets and American Coots. The total species count was 46, making a great morning.
On September 28 we had six keen birders out at El Bajio on the west side of Ajijic, sighting 35 species, including Bullock's Oriole, Berylline Hummingbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, White-tailed Kite, and the endemic Spotted Wren and Rufous-backed Robin.
August Sightings List
Here are the 102 species sighted around Lake Chapala in September:
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
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: email@example.com or 376.766.1801. Check out the website: chapalabirders.org