Monday, February 6, 2017

February Newsletter

Chapala Birders Newsletter February 2, 2017
143 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:
  • The continuing presence of Western Kingbirds on the Allen Lloyd Trail as this species usually seems to pass through instead of staying.
  • Squirrel Cuckoos are currently active in our area, such as the two seen on our trip to Lake Cajititlan, (see below).
  • A group of Wood Storks remains on the reservoir on the Rosa Amarilla Loop.
  • Buff-collared Nightjars have started their night-time calls - a sound like bubbles in water.
Rufous-capped Warbler
Rufous-capped Warbler as seen last month in San Antonio Tlayacapan.

We have received a number of reports of sightings of this pretty warbler recently. It is a year-round resident here, but it is shy, prefering to hide in low bushes and undergrowth. In the spring it builds a nest made of grass on the ground, with a domed top and a side entrance. Its range runs from Northern Mexico to Northern Guatemala. The subspecies in Southern Mexico has totally yellow underparts.
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 Wednesday February 8, we will meet at 8.00 am at Donas Donuts to carpool, leaving immediately for the Two Dams and San Nicolas, which is on the east side of Chapala. Expect to see a variety of birds of the fields and hedgerows and lake edge. 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 Friday February 17, we will meet at 8.00 am at Donas Donuts to carpool, leaving imediately 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. Bring your own refreshments for the morning. 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.

On Monday February 27, we will meet at 8.00 am at Donas Donuts 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 and we may see the Red-faced Warbler. 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 ahead of time saying whether you can bring a vehicle, to help in carpool planning.

Great Backyard  

Bird Count
Everyone is encouraged to count and record their bird sightings, either in their backyards or in their local areas, Feb 17 to 20. The intention is to motivate more people to record their sightings on eBird. The recording procedure is explained at  We encourage you to count as many birds as you can in this four-day period.
Bird Walk & Trip Reports
The January 6 trip to Villa Corona on Lake Atotonilco was a big success. We had eight vehicles with 27 people attending. The sun was bright and the birds were waiting for us. We observed Least Bittern, Osprey, Aztec Rail, Wood Stork, Snow Goose, Little Blue Heron, Roseate Spoonbill, as well as Eastern Meadowlark. The morning total was 59 species.

On January 18 we had 19 keen birders out on the Allen Lloyd Trail in San Antonio Tlayacapan. We were pleased to see Squirrel Cuckoo, as well as Red-tailed Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Western Kingbird, Rusty-crowned Ground Sparrow and Blue Mockingbird, out of a total of 43 species.

On January 30 there were 18 people on the trip to Lake Cajititlan. Sightings included Crested Caracara, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Bushtit, Black-backed Oriole, Loggerhead Shrike, Hermit Thrush and 2,000 Yellow-headed Blackbirds. With a species count of 64, it was agreed this was another very good outing!
January Sightings List
Here are the 143 species sighted around Lake Chapala in December:

Ani, groove-billed
Avocet, American (Ra)
Blackbird, red-winged (Ra)
Blackbird, yellow headed
Bunting, indigo (Sa)
Bunting, painted
Bunting, varied
Caracara, crested
Chat, yellow-breasted
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, brown-headed
Cuckoo, squirrel (Sa,Ca)
Dove, Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, mourning (Ra)
Dove, white-tipped
Duck, fulvous whistling (Sa)
Duck, Mexican (Ca)
Duck, ruddy (Ra)
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Euphonia, elegant (At)
Finch, house
Flycatcher, ash-throated
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, gray-silky (Sa)
Flycatcher, least
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermilion
Gadwall (Ac)
Gallinule, common
Gnatcatcher, blue-gray
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grebe, least
Grebe, pied-billed (Ra)
Grosbeak, black-headed
Grosbeak, blue
Gull, laughing
Gull, ring-billed
Hawk, Cooper's
Hawk, gray (Ca)
Hawk, red-tailed
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, green
Heron, tri-colored
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Ibis, white-faced
Jacana, northern
Kestrel, American
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
Kingbird, western (Sa)
Kingfisher, belted (Ra)
Kinglet, ruby-crowned (Ca)
Kiskadee, great
Kite, white-tailed (Ra)
Meadowlark, eastern (Ra)
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern
Nightjar, buff-collared (Av,Sc)
Oriole, black-backed
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, Bullock's
Oriole, hooded
Oriole, streak-backed
Owl, barn (Av)
Owl, great-horned (Av)
Parakeet, monk
Pelican, American white
Pewee, greater
Pigeon, rock
Pintail, northern
Raven, common (Ra)
Redstart, American (Sa)
Redstart, painted (At)
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, least
Sandpiper, spotted
Seedeater, white-collared
Shoveler, northern (Ra)
Shrike, loggerhead
Sparrow, chipping
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, lark
Sparrow, Lincoln's (Ca)
Sparrow, rusty-crowned (Sa)
Sparrow, savannah (R%a)
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Stilt, black-necked
Stork, wood (Ra)
Swallow, barn
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Swallow, tree
Swallow, violet-green
Tanager, summer (At)
Tanager, western
Teal, blue-winged
Teal, cinnamon
Teal, green-winged
Tern, Caspian
Tern, Forster's
Thrasher, curve-billed
Thrush, hermit (Ca)
Thrush, orange-billed nightingale
Towhee, canyon
Tyrannulet, northern beardless
Vireo, Bell's (Sa)
Vireo, black-capped (Sa)
Vireo, Cassin's
Vireo, Hutton's (Ca)
Vireo, Warbling
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Warbler, black and white
Warbler, golden-crowned
Warbler, MacGillivray's
Warbler, Nashville
Warbler, orange-crowned
Warbler, rufous-capped
Warbler, Virginia's (At)
Warbler, Wilson's
Warbler, yellow
Warbler, yellow-rumped
Wigeon, American
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, happy (Sa)
Wren, house (Ca)
Wren, marsh (Ca)
Wren, Sinaloa
Wren, spotted
Yellowlegs, greater (Ra)
Yellowthroat, common (Ca)

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: