Wednesday, July 3, 2019


Chapala Birders Newsletter July 2, 2019
    115 Species sighted last month around the Lake
The Complete list of species seen around Lake Chapala last month is shown at the end of this newsletter.
Interesting sightings last month:

- Jules Evens reported a Black-tailed Gnatcather in the Allen Lloyd arroyo.
- Laura Dangerfield reported Least Grebes at the San Antonio malecon.
- Brian Lewis reported a Brown-crested Flycatcher above Jan Juan Cosala.
- A Blue-black Grasquit was seen by several people near Rosa Amarilla.
- The biggest surprises last month were seen at the east end of the lake which currently has several square miles of very shallow water attracting no only hundreds of the commonest water birds, but also a few species not expected at this time of the year - Wilson's Phalarope, Solitary Sandpiper, Marbled Godwit, Cinnamon Teal and Northern Shoveler.
Hummingbird Moths
Examples of two different families of Hummingbird Moth, the Hawk Moth (above) and the Clearwing Moth (below.

Hummingbird Moths
These moths are confusing to birders and non-birders alike, and are frequently mis-identified as hummingbirds. They fly rapidly, their wings make the same humming sound, they hover and fly backwards, and they drink nectar from the same flowers as hummingbirds. Though less likely to fly away from a human, given their speed and need for nectar they do not stick around for long. With hundreds of species, they come in many sizes and colors. Here are the two commonest family types: 
Hummingbird Hawk Moth
-  Usually a bit smaller than a hummingbird, but quite solidly built.
Hummingbird Clearwing Moth
-  Smaller than the Hawk Moth, and longer and narrower than a bumble-bee.
- Except for the edges, the wings are transparent. 
- The body (abdomen) is typically dark but often has a broad band around the middle in yellowish, reddish or greenish shades.
- You are more likely to see a Clearwing Moth since it operates in the day time, while Hawk moths have a greater tendency to fly at night.
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. Please note that we will try to limit day trip sizes to four vehicles because larger convoys are less manageable when trying to stop on country roads to look at the birds. If you are being given a ride, we suggest you make a contribution to your driver for gas and tolls (perhaps 50-100 pesos for a half day outing, 150-200 for a day trip).
On wednesday July 10, we will meet at 8.30am at the Old Train Station in Chapala, leaving immediately to bird the "Chapala Lakeshore East" including the pumping station. Expect to see a good variety of shore birds in a variety of habitats. At 10.00 we will head to the Palapa de Don Juan for breakfast and complete the bird list. If you need a ride to Chapala please email John at at least 48 hours ahead of time. The train station is on the Lakeshore road just east of Cristiania Park.

On Monday July 22, we will meet at 8.00 am at Donas Donuts to car pool, leaving immediately for the Rosa Amarilla Loop on the plateau above the south side of the lake (60 minutes drive). Expect to see Wood Storks, and possibly a White-tailed Hawk. 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 48 hours ahead of time saying whether you can bring a vehicle, to help in carpool planning. (We don't always have enough cars).
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
On June 10, we had eight birders walking up the Allen Lloyd Arroyo in San Antonio Tlayacapan. We identified Russet-crowned Motmot, Blue Mockingbird, Rusty-crowned Ground Sparrow, Happy Wren, Western Wood Pewee and Beryline Hummingbird among the list of twenty nine species for the morning.

On June 21, fourteen people joined us on the trip to the Sierra de Tapalpa which goes as high as seven thousand eight hundred feet. We managed to see forty two species including Painted Redstart, Striped Sparrow, Elegant Euphonia, Brown Creeper, Acorn Woodpecker and a special treat - a Red Crossbill.
Monthly Sightings List
Here are the 115 species sighted around Lake Chapala in June:

Ani, groove-billed
Avocet, American (Dp)
Bittern, least (Sa)
Blackbird, red-winged (Ra,Dp)
Blackbird, yellow-headed
Bobwhite, northern (Ra)
Bunting, varied
Caracara, crested (Ra)
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, bronzed
Cowbird , brown-headed (Dp)
Cuckoo, squirrel
Dove, common ground (Dp,Ra)
Dove, Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, white-tipped
Dove, white-winged
Duck, black-bellied whistling (Dp)
Duck, fulvous whistling (Dp)
Duck, Mexican
Duck, Ruddy (Ds,Ra)
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Elaenia, greenish
Finch, house
Flycatcher, brown-crested (Sc)
Flycatcher, cordilleran
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, Nutting's
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermilion
Gallinule, common
Gallinule, purple (Dp)
Gnatcatcher, black-tailed (Sa)
Godwit, marbled (Dp)
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grassquit, blue-black (Ra)
Grebe, pied-billed
Grosbeak, black-headed
Grosbeak, blue
Gull, laughing (Dp)
Gull, ring-billed (Dp)
Hawk, red-tailed
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great glue
Heron, green
Heron, little blue (Dp)
Heron, tricolored
Hummingbird, beryline
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, sparkling-tailed
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Ibis, white-faced
Jacana, northern
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
Kingfisher, green (Dp)
Kiskadee, great
Kite, white-tailed (Dp)
Meadowlark, eastern (Rs,Dp)
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern (Ra)
Motmot, russet-crowned
Nightjar, buff-collared
Oriole, black-backed
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, streak-backed
Owl, ferruginous pygmy
Parakeet, monk
Pelican, American white
Pewee, greater
Pewee, western wood
Phalarope, Wilson's (Dp)
Pigeon, rock
Roadrunner, lesser
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, solitary (Dp)
Seedeater, cinnamon-rumped
Shoveler, northern (Dp)
Shrike, loggerhead
Sparrow, Botteri's (Ra)
Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Spoonbill, roseate (Dp)
Stilt, black-necked
Stork, wood (Ra,Dp)
Swallow, barn
Swallow, cliff (Ra,Dp)
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Teal, cinnamon (Dp)
Tern, Caspian
Tern, Forster's (Dp)
Thrasher, curve-billed
Thrush, orange-billed nightingale
Towhee, canyon
Tyrannulet, northern beardless
Vireo, golden
Vireo, warbling
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey (Ra)
Warbler, yellow
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, happy (Sa)
Wren, spotted
Yellowlegs, greater (Dp)
Yellowthroat, common (Ra,Dp)

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 Jamay to Malteraña
Dp - Dike Maltaraña to 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:

A 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 the center of Ajijic. This is especially useful to newcomers - it is produced by "Defenders of Wildlife" which works to protect imperiled species throughout North America.