Wednesday, May 2, 2018


Chapala Birders Newsletter May 2, 2018
133 Species Sighted Last Month
May is the month of nesting. Many species have already nested, but all the others will start nesting this month. There will be more bird song, a bigger dawn chorus, and many otherwise shy birds will be more visible.

In April a small group went up Mount Garcia, on the south side of the lake, in an unsuccessfull hunt for Montezuma Quail, but discovered a very pretty and 'birdy' pond on the ridge, and also sighted a Greater Roadrunner.

A larger group went south of the lake area to Concepcion de Buenos Aires sighting higher altitude birds such as Tufted Flycatcher, Slate-throated Redstart and at night, Mexican Whip-poor-will. Shortly after, Brian Lewis heard these Whip-poor-wills unexpectedly on the hill above San Juan Cosala where he lives. Perhaps we are not doing enough night-birding!

Global Big Day, Saturday May 5

Everyone is encouraged to go birding on May 5 to see how many species they can find in one day, and record the list on eBird. For serious birders, a Big Day is when you bird from midnight to midnight travelling to good spots to maximize the number of species you sight. It has become a team sport. The challenge on May 5 is to see how close we can come to reporting all of the world's 10,000 bird species on that day. You don't have to form a team to take part.

Illustrated Bird Folder for Chapala

We would like more people to be aware that there is now a handsome, laminated folder that illustrates 140 local bird species, called 'Quick Guide to the Birds of the Metropolitan Zone of Guadalajara and Chapala'. Currently we have it available for sale at Diane Pearl Coleciones at Colon and Constitucion in Ajijic, for $150 pesos. This is produced with the help of the US non-profit 'Defenders of Wildlife', which is producing similar guides for other cities and tourist destinations in Mexico.
Colima Warbler
       Colima Warbler as seen on the Jocotepec Mountain in March

Species details:

-  The Colima Warbler is an endemic species in Mexico that is also found in one small corner of Big Bend National Park, TX, in the summer.
-  It's identified by a white eyering, brownish-gray coloring, gray head, yellow rump and vent. Males may show a reddish crest.
-  It's a high altitude bird found in pine-oak forests above 6,000 ft.
-  Its summer breeding range is in NE Mexico, and its winter range is a triangular area extending north from Guadalajara on the Sierra Madre as well as east from Guadalajara on the Transvolcanic Belt.
-  It feeds on insects and caterpillars; and builds a nest on the ground, well hidden by overhanging grass, roots or rocks.
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 May 7 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. Expect to see Stripe-headed Sparrow, Western Wood Pewee and possibly a Squirrel Cuckoo. At 10.15 we will head to Cafe Negro restaurant for breakfast.
How to Get There: Drive up the Libramiento a half mile from the traffic light at Walmart, and park on the north side of the road across from the El Dorado Condominium tower.

On Saturday May 12 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 April 6, there were seven birders out for the walk at La Cristina. Interesting sightings included Black-vented Oriole, Common Raven, Plumbeous Vireo, Cliff Swallow (in addition to the regular Barn and Northern Rough-winged Swallow), Tri-colored Heron and Black-headed Grosbeak, part of an impressive total of 56 species.

On April 16, eleven keen birders travelled to Villa Corona on Lake Atotonilco, were we observed 59 species. These included both Snowy and Semipalmated Plover, American Pipit, Eastern Meadowlark, 10 Roseate Spoonbills, 50 Woodstorks and both Red-winged and Yellow-headed Blackbird.

The April 25 trip to Tapalpa was postponed due to low interest (a time of year thing).
Monthly Sightings List
Here are the 133 species sighted around Lake Chapala in April:

Ani, groove-billed
Avocet American (Ca)
Blackbird, yellow-headed (Tr,Ca)
Bunting, indigo
Bunting, varied
Caracara, crested
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, bronzed
Cowbird, brown-headed
Cuckoo, squirrel
Dove, common ground (Tr)
Dove Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, mourning (Tr,Ca)
Dove, white-tipped
Dive, white-winged
Dowitcher, long-billed (Ca)
Duck, black-bellied whistling (Xt)
Duck, fulvous-whistling (Xt)
Duck, Mexican
Duck, ruddy (Ca)
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Elaenia, greenish (At,Sa)
Euphonia, elegant (Tr)
House, finch
Flycatcher, buff-breasted
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, grey silky (Tr)
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermillion
Gallinule, common
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grebe, least (Ca)
Grebe, pied-billed
Grosbeak, black-headed
Grosbeak, blue
Gull, laughing
Gull, ring-billed
Hawk, gray
Hawk, red-tailed
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue
Heron, green
Heron, tri-colored
Hummingbird, blue-throated
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, calliope
Hummingbird, violet crowned
Ibis, white-faced (Ca)
Jacana, northern (Xt)
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
Kingbird, western (Sa)
Kiskadee, great
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern
Motmot, russet-crowned
Nightjar, buff-collared
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, Bullock's
Oriole, orchard (Ac)
Oriole streak-backed
Owl, great-horned
Parakeet, monk
Pelican, American white
Pewee, western wood (Tr)
Pigeon, rock
Pipit, American (Ps)
Rail, Virginia
Raven, common
Roadrunner, greater
Robin, American
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, least
Sandpiper, spotted
Seedeater, white-collared
Shrike, loggerhead
Solitaire, brown-backed (Tr)
Sora (Xt)
Sparrow, chipping
Sparrow, clay-colored
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, lark
Sparrow, Lincoln's
Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Stilt, black-necked (Ca)
Swallow, barn
Swallow, cliff
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Swallow, tree
Swallow, violet-green
Tanager, hepatic
Tanager, western
Teal, blue-winged
Teal, cinnamon
Tern, Caspian
Thrasher, curve-billed
Thrush, hermit (Tr)
Thrush, orange-billed nightingale
Towhee, canyon
Tyrannulet, northern beardless
Vireo, golden
Vireo, plumbeous
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Warbler, MacGillivray's (Sa)
Warbler, Nashville
Warbler, rufous-capped
Warbler, Tennessee
Warbler, Virginia's (Sa)
Warbler, Wilson's
Warbler, yellow (Ac)
Warbler, yellow-rumped
Waterthrush, northern (Tu)
Whip-poor-will, Mexican (Sc)
Wigeon, American (Ac)
Woodpecker, acorn
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, marsh
Wren, spotted
Yellowlegs, greater (Ca)
Yellowlegs, lesser (Ps)

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 Malteraña
Dp - Dike near La Palma
Hv - Hidden Valley oak forest
Ja - Jamay
La - La Cañada-Hidden Valley
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/Allen Lloyd Trail
Sc - San Juan Cosala
Sn - San Nicholas/Golf Club
Tz - Tizapan canyon
Te - San Juan Tecomatlan/Mezcala
Tr - Las Trojes/oak forest
Tu - Tuxcueca/San Luis Soyatlan
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: