Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Chapala Birders January Newsletter

Chapala Birders Newsletter January 2, 2017
160 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:
  • Least Bitterns reported in the reed beds of Chapala, seen from a kayak, and also at the pier in Jocotepec. These are highly secretive birds seen only in reed beds. Previously we have observed them at Lake Cajititlan in the summer.
  • Visiting birder Jules Evens reported sightings of Blue-throated Hummingbird and Lesser Nighthawk at San Antonio Tlayacapan.
  • A Brown Pelican at Lake Cajititlan. This species, normally found on the coast, is an occasional visitor to our area.
During the month we visited Villa Corona with Carlos Contreras, a birder-photographer from Guadalajara who has been visiting there for many years. We were amazed to be shown a beautiful part of Lake Atotonilco that we had never known how to get to. It was so special it will be our first trip this year on January 6. 
Christmas Bird Count Results
Our eleventh Ajijic Christmas Bird Count held on December 14 reported 114 species, which is close to the highest count we have recorded. High counts were recorded for Cattle Egrets (367) and Social Flycatchers (50). We also saw strong counts for the various hawks: Crested Caracara (5), Red-tailed Hawk (5), Cooper's Hawk (2) and Gray Hawk (1). The December 16 Bird Count at the east end of the lake recorded a disappointingly low count of only 71 species - every year is different!
Ring-billed Gull as seen last month at the upper Santa Cruz dam.

The Ring-billed Gull was the species with the most occurrences in the Ajijic Area Christmas Bird Count. They were predominantly observed on the dam next to the Ixtlahuacan dump. They are opportunistic omnivores, and landfills typically offer them a steady food supply while the dam offers a safe place to rest or sleep.

This species is more commonly seen inland than most other gull species. In the summer they go north to breed in the northern States and Canada. Most nesting is done in the interior of the continent, near fresh water. The nest is a depression in the ground lined with twigs and grasses. The baby chicks are able to leave the nest only five days after hatching.

Their normal wintering range is from the southern US to southern Mexico. However, they are wide-ranging flyers - baby gulls ringed at nests on the prairies of Canada have been later identified all across the U.S. and Mexico.
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 January 6, we will meet at 8.00 a.m. at Donas Donuts to carpool, leaving immediately for Lake Atotonilco at Villa Corona,

(a one-hour drive). We are likely to see Roseate Spoonbills there, as well as various lake and marsh birds. Take your own refreshments (there is no good place to have breakfast). We will be back in Ajijic about 12.30. If you plan to go please email indicating whether you can bring a vehicle, to help us balance the car pool.

On Wednesday January 18, we will meet at 8.00 am to walk the Allen Lloyd Trail which follows a mile-long arroyo with lots of underbrush in which birds love to hide. It remains our most interesting local bird walk. Expect to see Golden-fronted Woodpecker, stripe-headed Sparrow and possibly a Squirrel Cuckoo. At 10.150 we will head to Sunrise restaurant for breakfast and complete the birdlist.
How to Get There: Drive up the Libramiento a half mile and park on north side of the road opposite El Dorado Condominium.

On Monday, January 30, we will meet at Donas Donuts at 8.00 am to carpool, leaving immediately for Lake Cajititlan (30 minutes drive). We will see a variety of marsh and lake birds. At about 10.15 we will go Las Delicias restaurant in Chapala for breakfast and complete the bird list. If you plan on going, email John: indicating whether or not you will have a car.
Bird Walk & Trip Reports
On December 9 we had nine birders out at the Allen Lloyd Trail. We managed to see our fabled Squirrel Cuckoo as well as Black-capped Vireo, Western Tanager, Rusty-crowned Ground Sparrow, Gray Silky Flycatcher, and four Oriole species (Black-backed, Black-vented, Hooded and Streak-backed). The species count was 49. We will be going back here on January 18.

On December 28 three carloads of people did the Rosa Amarilla Loop above the south side of the lake. Sightings included Gray Hawk, Crested Caracara, Belted Kingfisher, Eastern Meadowlark, Wood Stork and Rufous Hummingbird, out of a total count of 68 species.
December Sightings List
Here are the 160 species sighted around Lake Chapala in December:

Ani, groove-billed
Avocet, American (Dm)
Bittern, American
Bittern, least (Jo,Ch)
Blackbird, yellow-headed
Bunting, indigo
Bunting, lazuli
Bunting, painted (Dm)
Bunting, varied (Sa)
Caracara, crested
Chat, yellow-breasted
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, bronzed
Cowbird, brown-headed
Cuckoo, squirrel (Sa,Ra)
Dove, common ground (Dm)
Dove, Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, white-tipped
Dove, white-winged
Dowitcher, long-billed
Duck, black-bellied whistling
Duck, fulvous whistling (Sa)
Duck, Mexican
Duck, ruddy
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Finch, house
Flycatcher, ash-throated
Flycatcher, cordilleran
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, least
Flycatcher, gray silky (Sa,Av)
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermilion
Flycatcher, willow (Sa)
Gallinule, common
Gallinule, purple
Gnatcatcher, blue-gray
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grebe, least
Grebe, pied-billed
Grosbeak, black-headed (Sa)
Grosbeak, blue
Gull, laughing
Gull, ring-billed
Harrier, northern (Dm)
Hawk, Cooper's
Hawk, gray (Ps)
Hawk, red-tailed
Hawk, sharp-shinned
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue
Heron, green
Heron, little blue (Xt,Dm)
Heron, tri-colored
Hummingbird, beryline (Sa)
Hummingbird, blue-throated (Sa)
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, Lucifer (At)
Hummingbird, rufous (Sa,Ra)
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Ibis, white-faced
Jacana, northern
Kestrel, American
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
Kingbird, western (Sa)
Kingfisher, belted
Kinglet, ruby-crowned (Ca)
Kiskadee, great
Kite, white-tailed (Ca,Ra)
Meadowlark, eastern (Ra)
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern
Nighthawk, lesser (Sa)
Oriole, black-backed
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, hooded
Oriole, orchard (Ac)
Oriole, streak-backed
Owl, great-horned (Av)
Parakeet, monk (Av,Sn)
Pelican, American white
Pelican, brown (Ca)
Pewee, greater (Sa,Av)
Phoebe, black (Dm)
Pigeon, rock
Pintail, northern
Rail, Aztec (Ch,Sa,Jo)
Raven, common
Redstart, American (Ld)
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, least
Sandpiper, spotted
Seedeater, white-collared
Shoveler, northern
Shrike, loggerhead
Snipe, Wilson's (Ps)
Sparrow, chipping
Sparrow, clay-colored
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, lark
Sparrow, Lincoln's (Ca)
Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
Sparrow, Savannah (Ca)
Sparrow, song (Ac)
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Stilt, black-necked
Stork, wood (Ra)
Swallow, barn
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Swallow, tree
Tanager, western
Teal, blue-winged
Teal, cinnamon
Teal, green-winged (Ca)
Tern, Caspian
Tern, Forster's
Thrasher, curve-billed
Thrush, orange-billed nightingale (At)
Towhee, canyon
Vireo, Bell's (Ca)
Vireo, black-capped (Sa)
Vireo, Cassin's
Vireo, warbling
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Warbler, black and white
Warbler, black-throated gray
Warbler, Lucy's (Ca)
Warbler, MacGillivray's
Warbler, Nashville
Warbler, orange-crowned
Warbler, rufous-capped
Warbler, Townsend's
Warbler, Wilson's
Warbler, yellow (Ca,Ac)
Warbler, yellow-rumped
Wigeon, American (Ra)
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, happy (Sa)
Wren, house
Wren, marsh (Ca)
Wren, spotted
Yellowlegs, greater (Ca,Ra)
Yellowlegs, lesser (Dm,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 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/Rio la Pasion
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: