Monday, September 3, 2018


Chapala Birders Newsletter September 2, 2018
103 Species Sighted Last Month 
The complete list of species seen around Lake Chapala is shown at the end of the newsletter.
Carlo Cuevas encountered a Ferruginous Pygmy Owl at the Jocotepec malecon and was able to take a video of it calling. Stan Dunn has been hearing one calling every evening and morning in La Floresta. This owl is quite unusual here at Lake Chapala. 
We all had a big suprise on the August 6 trip to Villa Corona. Lake Atotonilco was covered with thousands of birds. Rainfall has been poor this summer and the lake level is so low many birds were standing in the shallow water a mile away in the center of the lake (see trip report below). 
 Ferruginous Pygmy Owl
  Ferruginous Pygmy Owl as seen at the Jocotepec malecon in August.

Species details:

- This is a tiny owl only 5.5 inches long. You can hold it in the palm of your hand. It comes in two colors, the brown morph as in the photo, and the rufous morph which is almost orange in color. It has two black simulated eye spots on the back of its head.
- It is common throughout Mexico, Central America and most of the South American continent. It likes semi-open wooded habitats, and does not migrate.
- The claws are especially large for its size. The prefered food is lizards, but it also eats large insects, small birds and small mammals.
- It is a cavity nester, the female sitting on the eggs for 28 days fed by the male, then both parents feed the chicks for another 28 days until they fledge. These periods are double the equivant times for songbirds.
Upcoming Trips and Bird Walks
Our bird walks are open to all those interested in birds, both beginners and experienced birders. Just bring binoculars. 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 September 10, we will carpool at Donas Donuts at 8.00 am, leaving immediately 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 48 hours ahead of time saying whether you can bring a vehicle.

On Wednesday September 19, we will meet at 8.30 am at the Malecon Park in Jocotepec. We expect to see a variety of shore birds such as Northern Jacana, as well as other species in the tall trees of the park, such as Golden-fronted Woodpecker. At about 10.30 we will head to Frida's nearby for breakfast
How to Get There: From Ajijic go through San Juan Cosala and after El Chante you wiil encounter a long curve to the left, followed by major topes, followed by a long curve to the right. Take a left exit at the beginning, or end, of this last curve. Proceed towards the lake and park in the malecon parking lot.

On Friday September 28, we will meet a 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 48 hours ahead of time saying whether you can bring a vehicle, to help in carpool planning.
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
On August 6, we had a keen and optimistic group of 19 birders out at Villa Corona on Lake Atotonilco. We were amazed by the thousands of birds visible on the lake. The water level is now so low that long-legged water birds could be seen even in the center of the lake. We saw exceptionally large numbers of American Avocets, White-faced Ibis, Black-necked Stilt, and Roseate Spoonbill. Also an uncommon White Ibis and a Semipalmated Plover.

On August 17, we had 19 people to travel the Rosa Amarilla Loop. We saw Osprey, Red-tailed Hawk, White-tailed Hawk, Botteri's Sparrow, also 80 American White Pelican (these stayed in the region for the summer), and a hundred Wood Storks, including a sighting of a juvenile Wood Stork in the top of a tree. Everyone commented at the end on what a marvelous trip it was.
Monthly Sightings List
Here are the 103 species sighted around Lake Chapala in August:

Ani, groove-billed
Blackbird, red-winged (Ch,Ra)
Blackbird, yellow-headed (Dm)
Bobwhite, northern (Sn)
Bunting, painted (Dm)
Caracara, crested
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, bronzed
Cowbird, brown-headed
Dove, Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, mourning (Ch,Ra)
Dove, white-tipped
Dove, white-winged
Duck, black-bellied
Duck, fulvous whistling (Xt)
Duck, Mexican
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Elaenia, greenish
Euphonia, elegant
Finch, house
Flycatcher, gray silky
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermilion
Gallinule, common
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grasquit, blue-black (Ch)
Grebe, pied-billed (Ra)
Grosbeak, blue (Ch,Ra)
Gull, laughing
Gull, ring-billed
Hawk, red-tailed
Hawk, white-tailed (Ra)
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue
Heron, green
Heron, little blue (Dm)
Heron, tri-colored (Dm)
Hummingbird, beryline
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Ibis, white-faced
Jacana, northern
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
Kingfisher, green (Dp)
Kiskadee, great
Kite, white-tailed (Dm)
Meadowlark, eastern (Ra)
Mockingbird, blue
Motmot, russet-crowned
Nightjar, buff-collared (Av,Sc)
Oriole, black-backed
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, streak-backed
Osprey (Ra)
Owl, ferruginous pygmy (Jo,Av)
Owl, great horned (Sc)
Parakeet, monk
Pelican, American white
Pewee, greater
Pewee, western wood-pewee
Pigeon, rock
Raven, common
Roadrunner, greater (Ra,Sa)
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, spotted (Ra)
Seedeater, cinnamon-rumped
Shrike, loggerhead
Sparrow, Botteri's (Ra)
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, rufous-crowned (Av)
Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Spoonbill, roseate (Dp,Ca)
Stork, wood (Dp,Ra)
Swallow, barn
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Swallow, violet-green (Dp)
Tern, Forster's
Thrasher, curve-billed
Thrush, orange-billed nightingale
Towhee, canyon
Tyrannulet, northern beardless
Vireo, golden
Vireo, warbling
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Warbler, rufous-capped
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, happy
Wren, spotted
Yellowthroat, common (Dp)
Yellowthroat, gray-crowned (Ra,Sa)

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:
The laminated folder "Quick Guide to the Birds of Lake Chapala" illustrating 150 local species can be purchased for $150 pesos at Diane Pearl Collecciones, Colon #1, in Ajijic.