Sunday, February 4, 2018


Chapala Birders Newsletter February 2, 2018
143 Species Sighted Last Month
The complete list of January sightings is shown at the end of this newsletter.

Interesting sightings last month:

-  In the first week of January visiting birder Nicola Cendron hiked with Carlo Cuevas and John Keeling to the ridge above Las Trojes. In the oak forest the group found 16 species that would otherwise not have been on the monthly list, such as Acorn Woodpecker, Hermit Warbler, Red-faced Warbler, and Blue-throated Hummingbird.

Confirmation of rare White-Eyed Vireo SightingIn January John Roynon managed to see the White-eyed Vireo on the Allen Lloyd Trail at the same location that John Keeling saw it in December. It is good to have independent confirmation. 
Elegant Euphonia
Elegant Euphonia (male) photo by Bird-photographer Vince Gravel, who still visits the lake area in the winter.

Species details:

-  The Elegant Euphonia is a tiny finch that occurs in Mexico and Central America. It inhabits mountainous regions with oak and mixed forest, migrating locally and moving to lower altitudes in the winter. It is not common in our area, but we see it sporadically, more in winter than in summer.

-  The female is more difficult to see in green foliage as it has an olive-green back and yellow-green underparts, but has the same sky-blue cap as the male.

-  It is most frequently observed on or near fruiting mistletoe where its high, continuous burbling warble attracts attention.
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 Tuesday Febuary 6 We will meet at 8.00 am at El Bajio.
We will walk down the lane to the lake, expecting to see a good variety of birds in the tall trees and fields. At about 10.00 we will head to Dona Lolas for breakfast and complete the bird list.
How to Get There: From Ajijic go about 2 mi. (3 km) west from the light at Colon, turn downhill at the sign for El Bajio next to the extreme speed bumps. Park immediately on the lateral.

On Wednesday February 21 we will meet at 8.00 am at Donas Donuts to car pool, proceeding immediately to Lake Cajititlan (30 minute drive)).
We expect to 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: ahead of time indicating whether or not you will have a car.

On Monday February 26 we will meet at 8.00 am at Donas Donuts to car pool, proceeding immediately to the Rosa Amarilla Loop on the plateau above the south side of the lake (60 minute 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 at least 24 hours  ahead of time saying whether you can bring a vehicle, to help in carpool planning.
Bird Walk & Trip Reports
On January 12 we had 19 keen birders out on the Allen Lloyd Trail. It was a cool morning and the birds were not very active. Only 26 species were observed, including Plumbeous Vireo, Black and White Warbler, Social Flycatcher, White-winged Dove and four Oriole species (Black-vented, Bullocks, Hooded and Streak-backed). There was discussion of a Pewee - was it a Greater or a Western Wood? These two can be remarkably similar in appearance, however the Western Wood Pewee does not come here at this time of the year.

On January 22 we had 17 people on the trip to the Sierra de Tapalpa. After a slow start to the morning we eventually tallied 55 species, which included Sora, American Wigeon, Townsend's Warbler, Eastern Meadowlark, Pygmy Nuthatch, Say's Phoebe, White-eared Hummingbird and both Painted and Slate-throated Redstarts.

On January 31, thirteen people came out on an overcast morning at Cristiania Park. We recorded 50 species including Common Yellowthroat, Lincoln's Sparrow, Aztec Rail, Monk Parakeet, Belted Kingfisher, Tri-colored Heron, Ruddy Duck and Fulvous Whistling Duck.
Monthly Sightings List
Here are the 143 species sighted around Lake Chapala in January:

Ani, grove-billed
Blackbird, yellow-headed (Ch)
Bunting, indigo
Bunting, lazuli (At)
Bunting, painted
Bunting, varied
Caracara, crested
Chat, yellow-breasted (Av)
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, bronzed
Cowbird, brown-headed
Dove, Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, white-tipped
Dove, white-winged
Duck, fulvous whistling
Duck, Mexican
Duck, ruddy
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Euphonia, elegant
Finch, house
Flycatcher, ash-throated
Flycatcher, cordilleran (Tr)
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, gray silky (Av)
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermillion
Gallinule, common
Gnatcatcher, blue-gray
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grebe, least
Grebe, pied-billed
Grosbeak, black-headed
Grosbeak, blue
Gull, laughing
Gull, ring-billed
Harrier, northern
Hawk, Cooper's (Av)
Hawk, red-tailed (Tr)
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue
Heron, green
Heron, little blue
Heron, tri-colored
Hummingbird, berylline
Hummingbird, blue-throated (Tr)
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, rufous (Tr)
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Ibis, white-faced
Jacana, northern
Kestrel, American
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
Kingfisher, belted (Jo,Ch)
Kinglet, ruby-crowned (Tr)
Kiskadee, great
Kite, white-tailed
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern
Nightjar, buff-collared (Sc0
Oriole, black-backed
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, Bullock's
Oriole, hooded
Oriole, orchard
Oriole, streak-backed
Owl, barn (Ch)
Owl, great horned (Av)
Parakeet, monk
Parrot, red-lored (Ch)
Pelican, American white
Pewee, greater (Jo,Av)
Phoebe, black
Pintail, northern
Rail, Aztec (Ch)
Raven, common (Tr)
Redstart, American (Jo)
Redstart, painted (Tr)
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, spotted
Sapsucker, yellow-bellied (Jo)
Seedeater, white-collared
Shoveler, northern (Ch)
Shrike, loggerhead (Tr)
Snipe, Wilson's
Solitaire, brown-backed (Sa)
Sparrow, chipping (Tr)
Sparrow, clay-colored (Tr)
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, Lincoln's (Ch)
Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Stilt, black-necked
Swallow, barn (Ch)
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Swallow, tree
Swallow, violet-green (Ch)
Tanager, hepatic (Av)
Tanager, western
Teal, blue-winged
Teal, cinnamon
Teal, green-winged
Tern, Caspian
Towhee, canyon
Vireo, Bell's
Vireo, golden (Sa)
Vireo, plumbeous (Tr)
Vireo, white-eyed (Sa)
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Warbler, black and white
Warbler, black-throated gray (Tr)
Warbler, hermit (Tr)
Warbler, Lucy's
Warbler, McGillivray's
Warbler, Nashville
Warbler, orange-crowned
Warbler, red-faced
Warbler, Virginia's
Warbler, Wilson's
Warbler, yellow
Warbler, yellow-rumped
Waterthrush, Louisiana (Jo)
Woodpecker, Acorn (Tr)
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, house (Tr)
Wren, Marsh
Wren, spotted
Yellowlegs, greater
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: