Wednesday, December 7, 2016

FW: Chapala Birders December Newsletter

Chapala Birders Newsletter December 2, 2016
122 Species Sighted Last Month
The complete list of sightings around the lake is shown at the end of this newsletter.

Interesting sightings last month included:
  • A Sharp-shinned Hawk photographed above San Pedro Itzican by visiting birder Dave Bengston.
  • Rufous Hummingbirds on migration seen at various locations on the lakeshore.
  • Acorn Woodpecker, Swainson's Thruch, Hermit and Townsend's Warblers observed near the top of the oak-forested hills above Las Trojes by John Keeling and Paul Hart.
Two Christmas Bird Counts this Month
Our Ajijic area Christmas Bird Count (CBC) will be held 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.
This is one of the birding highlights of the year.  We plan five teams of about five people, each with a leader and an assigned area. Most teams start at about 8.00 am and are usually through by lunch time. There is no cost to take part in the count, but there is of course a charge for the evening dinner celebration at 6.00 p.m. where we share details of each team's adventures. Feel free to invite friends along if they have an interest in birds. We ask all participants to register ahead both for the count and for the dinner.

Bird Count Registration:

Registration will take place on Monday December 12, between 10.00 a.m and 1 p.m at John Keeling's home, Condominium Villas del Tepalo, Callejon al Tepalo #140, Villa #46. This is three blocks up-hill from Donas Donuts, on the east side of the school. For detailed driving instructions, or if this time does not work for you, phone John at 766-1801, or email We can arrange an alternate time for you.

The second Christmas Bird Count:
On Friday December 16, we hold the La Cienega (marsh) CBC at the east end of the lake some 80 km (50 miles) away. This is generally attended by our keener birders but all are welcome. We set up two teams assigned to different parts of the dyke across the lake. The teams leave Ajijic about 8.00 am and meet for a sandwich lunch at about 1.00 pm on the shore of the Lerma River. You can sign up for this count at the same time as signing up for the Ajijic CBC.
Gray Silky Flycatcher
This male was photographed recently by our local bird photographer Paul Hart.

This is one of the 17 endemic and near-endemic species that have been seen in the Lake Chapala area. It is a year-round resident that tends to move in flocks, typically roosting and feeding in taller trees with berries. It's range is from northern Mexico to northern Guatemala.
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 December 9 we will meet at 8.00 am to walk 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, Lark Sparrow, and possibly a Squirrel Cuckoo.
How to Get There: 

From the Carretera, drive up the Libramiento a half mile (1 km)and park on the north side of the road opposite El DoradoCondominium. The trail runs on the west side of that condominium.

On Wednesday December 28 we will meet at 8.00 am to carpool at Donas Donuts, leaving immediately for the Rosa Amarilla Loop
on the plateau above the south side of the lake (60 minutes drive). Expect to see higher altitude and pasture birds such as Eastern Meadowlark, Redwing Blackbird and if we are lucky a Roadrunner. Bring refreshments for the morning and sandwiches for the 12.30 lunch stop. We will be back about 3.00 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.
Bird Walk & Trip Reports
On November 7 we had a group of five keen birders out at the Sierra de Tapalpa, 1,500 feet above the lake level. As usual we saw Acorn Woodpeckers, Eastern Bluebirds and Crested Caracaras. We also saw Hermit Warbler and Olive Warbler for a total  count of 48 species.

On November 18 there were eight birders at the Pumping Station observing birds along the shoreline including the usual Black-backed Oriole, Yellow-headed Blackbirds and Marsh Wren. We also saw four types of Sparrow - Lark, Lincoln's, Savannah and Song, as well as Monk Parakeet. The total count was 55 species.

On November 30 we had eleven people out at La Cristina on the west side of Ajijic. Sightings included Blue Mockingbird, Rufous-backed Robin, Loggerhead Shrike, Lucy's Warbler, and both Caspian and Forter's Terns, out of a total count of 46 species.
November Sightings List
Here are the 122 species sighted around Lake Chapala in November:

Ani, groove-billed
Blackbird, yellow-headed
Bunting, varied
Chat, yellow-breasted
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, bronzed
Cowbird, brown-headed
Cuckoo, squirrel
Dove, Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, white-tipped
Dove, white-winged
Dowitcher, long-billed
Duck, fulvous-whistling
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Finch, house
Flycatcher, Cordilleran
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, gray silky
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermilion
Gnatcatcher, blue-gray
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grosbeak, black-headed
Grosbeak, blue
Gull, laughing
Gull, ring-billed
Hawk, Cooper's
Hawk, sharp-shinned (Pz)
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue
Heron, tri-colored
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, rufous (Pz)
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Hummingbird, white-eared (Tr,Pz)
Ibis, white-faced
Kestrel, American
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
Kingbird, western (Pz)
Kinglet, ruby-crowned (Pz)
Kiskadee, great
Kite, white-tailed
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern
Oriole, black-backed
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, Bullock's
Oriole, hooded
Oriole, orchard
Oriole, streak-backed
Owl, great horned (Sn,Av)
Owl, northern saw-whet (Ch)
Parakeet, monk
Pelican, American white
Pewee, greater
Phoebe, Say's (Pz)
Pigeon, rock
Pintail, northern
Rail, Aztec (Jo)
Raven, common
Redstart, American
Redstart, painted (Tr)
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, least
Seedeater, white-collared
Shoveler, northern
Shrike, loggerhead
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, lark
Sparrow, Lincoln's
Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
Sparrow, savannah
Sparrow, song
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Swallow, bank (Sn)
Swallow, barn
Swallow, tree
Swallow, violet-green
Tanager, hepatic
Tanager, western
Teal, blue-winged
Teal, cinnamon
Tern, Caspian
Tern, Forster's
Thrasher, curve-billed
Thrush, orange-billed nightingale
Thrush, Swainson's (Tr)
Towhee, canyon
Vireo, Cassin's (Sa)
Vireo, golden (Sa)
Vireo, plumbeous
Vireo, warbling
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Warbler, black-throated gray
Warbler, hermit (Tr)
Warbler, Lucy's (Ac)
Warbler, McGillivray's (At)
Warbler, Nashville
Warbler, orange-crowned (Ac)
Warbler, Townsend's
Warbler, Virginia's (Sa)
Warbler, Wilson's
Warbler, yellow
Warbler, yellow-rumped
Woodpecker, acorn (Tr)
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, house
Wren, marsh
Wren, spotted
Yellowlegs, greater

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: