Friday, November 4, 2016

November Newsletter

Chapala Birders Newsletter November 2, 2016
Two New Species for Lake Chapala
Last month we recorded 141 species here at the lake. The complete list of sightings is shown at the end of this newsletter.

New species for the lake were the Yellow-billed Cuckoo spotted by Stan and Darnelle Dunn on the El Bajio road (see below), and a Mexican Hermit seen by Sally Pachulski in Riberas del Pilar.

The Mexican Hermit is a spectacular hummingbird with an unmistakable  long curved bill and a distinctive black eye mask. It is endemic to Mexico where it is found in Jalisco between here and the coast as well as in the coastal regions of Guerrero and Oaxaca to the south of us.

Other interesting sightings last month were:
  • American Bittern, Clark's Grebe, and Aztec Rail at Lake Cajititlan
  • Green Kingfisher on the Passion River in the Tizapan canyon
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at Las Trojes
  • Yellow-throated Warbler photographed by visiting birder Dave Bengston on the east side of Chapala. This is only the second record of this species at the lake.
Christmas Bird Count
Our CBC this year for the Ajijic area (a 15-mile diameter circle) will be on Wednesday December 14. We invite all of you to take part - it's a fun day intensively birding an assigned territory with your team. Please mark it on your calendar. Full details will appear in the December 2 newsletter.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo
as seen on the El Bajio road in October by Stan and Darnelle Dunn. This bird comes through these parts on migration in the fall and spring, usually travelling during the night. It summers in the Sierra Occidental mountains immediately to the north of us as well as in the eastern U.S. It winters in South America. It generally stays well hidden in bushes and trees, and enjoys an omniverous diet, preferring large caterpillars, but also eats insects such as crickets and cicadas, and small lizards, also seeds and wild fruit in season.
Birding App Announced for Lake Chapala
An excellent birding app has been published for both Android phones and iPhones for Lake Chapala, featuring 245 species. It is currently only in Spanish. It can be downloaded from your app store under the name of 'AvesDeChapala'.

It was created by Raul Padilla who is an expert birder and bird photographer living in Pachuca, northeast of Mexico City. It was developed to make it easy for cell-hip Mexican youngsters to more easily learn about birds and the environment. Please check it out and send us your comments on its features.
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 November 7 we will meet at Donas Donuts at 8.00 am
to carpool, leaving immediately for the Sierra de Tapalpa

(90 minutes away). We will bird from 9.30 till 12.30 and have lunch in the town of Tapalpa and complete the bird list. We expect to see higher altitude birds such as Acorn Woodpecker and slate-throated redstart and if we are lucky Trans-volcanic Jay. We will be back about 5.00 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 Friday November 18 we will meet at 8.15 am at the Pumping Station.
Expect to see a variety of birds of the fields and hedgerows and shallows. At about 10.15 we will go to Las Delicias for breakfast and complete the bird list.
How to get there:
Take the Mexcala road from Chapala, pass Santa Cruz on your left, the air strip and water ski park on your right. Look out for the Pumping station on the right with three large gray pump towers and a sign "Acueducto". Immediately after this, turn right on a hidden gravel road. After one mile (2km) turn left at the T junction. Park at the next intersection, leaving space for farmer's cars and pickups to pass.

On Wednesday November 30 we will meet at 8.00 am at La Cristina on the west side of Ajijic.
We will see some shore birds, some birds in the tall trees and some birds in the scrub. At about 10.00 am we will head to Fonda Dona Lola for breakfast and complete the bird list.
How to get there: Drive about 2 mi (4km) west from Colon, look for signs for Hacienda La Cristina (near signs for Las Palmas, a bus stop and a vivero), turn down to the lake, and park close to the lake.
Bird Walk & Trip Reports
On October 10 four birders went round the Rosa Amarilla Loop on the plateau on the south side of the lake. We saw Crested Caracara. Cooper's Hawk, Botteri's Sparrow, Say's Phoebe, Wood Stork and Spotted Wren among the total count of 53 species.

On October 19 another group of birders hiked the Allen Lloyd Trail in San Antonio Tlayacapan, reporting Greater Pewee, White-winged Dove, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Gray Silky Flycatcher, thirty Western Kingbirds and an unusual Common Black Hawk and a total count of 34 species.

On October 28 a party of four keen birders went the length of the Horizontal Oak Forest at Las Trojes. Sightings included the Red-faced Warbler which returns to the same few acres of woodland every winter, as well as Squirrel Cuckoo, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, White-eared Hummingbird, and at the top of the trail we heard the repeated 'siren' call of a northern saw-whet owl, out of a count of 40 species.
October Sightings List
Here are the 141 species sighted around Lake Chapala in October:

Ani, groove-billed
Avocet, American (Ra)
Bittern, American
Blackbird, red-winged (Ra)
Blackbird, yellow-headed
Bunting, Painted
Caracara, crested
Chat, yellow-breasted
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, bronzed
Cowbird, brown-headed
Cuckoo, squirrel (Tr)
Cuckoo, yellow-billed (Sa)
Dove, common-ground
Dove, Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, mourning
Dove, white-tipped
Dove, white-winged
Duck, fulvous whistling (Ca)
Duck, Mexican (Ca)
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Elaenia, greenish (Tr)
Falcon, peregrine (Ca)
Finch, house
Flycatcher, cordilleran (Tr)
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, gray silky (Av)
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermilion
Gallinule, common
Gnatcatcher, blue-gray
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grebe, Clark's (Ca)
Grebe, least
Grebe, pied-billed (Ca)
Grosbeak, black-headed
Grosbeak, blue
Gull, ring-billed
Hawk, common black (Sa)
Hawk, Cooper's
Hawk, red-tailed
Hawk, sharp-shinned (Sa)
Hermit, Mexican (Rp)
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue
Heron, green
Heron, little blue (Sn)
Heron, tri-colored
Hummingbird, beryline
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, rufous (Ca,Sn,Tr)
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Hummingbird, white-eared (Tr)
Ibis, white-faced
Jacana, northern
Kestrel, American
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
Kingbird, western (Sa)
Kingfisher, belted (Xt)
Kingfisher, green (Tz)
Kinglet, ruby-crowned (Tr)
Kiskadee, great
Kite, white-tailed
Meadowlark, eastern
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern
Motmot, russet-crowned (At)
Oriole, black-backed
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, Bullock's
Oriole, hooded
Oriole, streak-backed
Osprey (Ca,Tu)
Owl, great-horned
Owl, northern saw-whet (Tr)
Parakeet, monk
Pelican, American white
Pewee, greater
Phoebe, black (Tz)
Phoebe, Say's (Ra)
Pigeon, rock
Rail, Aztec (Ca)
Raven, common
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, spotted
Sapsucker, yellow-bellied (Tr)
Seedeater, white-collared
Shoveler, northern
Shrike, loggerhead
Sora (Ca)
Sparrow, Botteri's
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, lark
Sparrow, Lincoln's (Ca,Tr)
Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Stilt, black-necked
Stork, wood (Ra)
Swallow, barn
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Swallow, tree
Tanager, hepatic
Tanager, summer (Sn,Tr0
Tanager, western
Teal, blue-winged
Teal, cinnamon (Ca)
Teal, green-winged (Ac)
Tern, Caspian
Thrasher, curve-billed
Towhee, canyon
Vireo, Bell's (Pz)
Vireo, Cassin's (Tr)
Vireo, plumbeous
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Warbler, black and white
Warbler, Nashville (Ca)
Warbler, orange-crowned (Tr)
Warbler, red-faced (Tr)
Warbler, Townsend's
Warbler, Wilson's
Warbler, yellow
Warbler, yellow-rumped
Woodpecker, Acorn
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed (Ca)
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, house (Sa)
Wren, marsh (Ca)
Wren, spotted
Yellowlegs, lesser (Sn)

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: