Tuesday, September 3, 2019


Chapala Birders Newsletter September 2, 2019
    104 Species sighted last month around the Lake
The complete list of species for last month is shown at the end of this newsletter.

This is the time of year when we keenly watch for returning migrants. One of the first to appear is the Wilson's Warbler, a small bright yellow bird with a characteristic 'chip' call, which you may see in your garden.
Interesting sightings last month:
- Helen Sanchez photographed the first returning warbler - a Louisiana Waterthrush at the Cajititlan marsh.
- Throughout August we have been seeing more Blue-black Grassquits than usual in fields around the lake.
-  Ferruginous Pygmy Owls are once again being heard in La Floresta by Stan and Darnell Dunn, and in Jocotepec by Carlo Cuevas.
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher
  Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher as seen in Ajijic in July.

The Sulphur-belied Flycatcher is a long distance migrant which is occasionally seen at Lake Chapala:
  • It spends the winter months, October to March, in the foothills of the Andes in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador.
  • In April it moves north to nest in Central America, Mexico and in a few canyons north of the US border.
  • It is found in the upper levels of trees, feeding mainly on large insects, berries and fruit.
  • The birds move around in search of food supplies, not always visiting the same sites every year.
  • The female builds the nest and sits the eggs, but both parents feed the nestlings. 
  • The call is a shrill sound like a squeaking toy rubber duck or a rusty hinge.
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 car trips 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 Monday September 9, 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 chapalabirders@yahoo.com 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).

On Wednesday September 18, we will meet at 8.00 am to walk the one-mile long Allen Lloyd Trail which has lots of underbrush in which birds love to hide. Expect to see Stripe-headed Sparrow and Groove-billed Ani and hear the Happy Wren - if we are lucky. At about 10.15 we will head to Cafe Negro restaurant for breakfast and complete the bird list.
How to get to the trail head: 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. 
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
On August 12 we had 10 people out to walk the El Bajio area in Ajijic. The count of species was disappointing - only 21 species. We did see three types of oriole: Black-vented, Black-backed and Streak-backed, also Rufous-backed Robin, Lesser Goldfinch and three types of Wren: Bewicks's, Canyon and Spotted.

On August 28 there were16 birders at the Lake Cajititlan marsh. We saw several Blue-black Grassquits (some of them doing the up and down dance), Orchard Oriole, Northern Bobwhite, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Common Yellowthroat, Gray-crowned Yellowthroat, Roseate Spoonbill and 300 American White Pelicans (these are still the one-year-old birds who did not fly north for the breeding season.) The total count was 46 species.
Monthly Sightings List
Here are the species sighted around Lake Chapala in August:

Ani, groove-billed
Blackbird, red-winged (Ra)
Blackbird, yellow-headed (Ca)
Bluebird, eastern (Ra)
Bobwhite, northern (Ca,Ra)
Bunting, varied (Sa)
Caracara, crested
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, bronzed
Cowbird, brown-headed
Cuckoo, squirrel
Dove, Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, mourning (Ca)
Dove, white-tipped
Duck, black-bellied whistling (Ca)
Duck, fulvous whistling (Ca)
Duck, Mexican
Duck, ruddy (Ra)
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Elaenia, greenish
Finch, house
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, gray-silky
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermilion
Flycatcher, white-throated
Gallinule, common
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grassquit, blue-black (Xt,Ca)
Grebe, Clark's (Sa,Ca)
Grebe, pied-billed (Ra)
Grosbeak, black-headed
Grosbeak, blue
Gull, laughing
Gull, ring-billed
Hawk, white-tailed (Ra)
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue
Heron, green
Heron, tricolored (Sn)
Hummingbird, berylline
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Ibis, white-faced
Jacana, northern
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
Kiskadee, great
Kite, white-tailed (Ca)
Meadowlark, eastern (Ra)
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern (Ra)
Motmot, russet-crowned
Nightjar, buff-collared (At)
Oriole, black-backed
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, Orchard (Ca)
Oriole, streak-backed
Osprey (Ra)
Owl, ferruginous pygmy (Av,Jo)
Owl, great horned (Av)
Parakeet, monk
Pelican, American white
Pewee, western wood
Pigeon, rock
Raven, common
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, least
Sandpiper, spotted
Seedeater, cinnamon-rumped
Shrike, loggerhead
Sparrow, Botteri's (Ra)
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Spoonbill, roseate
Stilt, black-necked
Stork, wood
Swallow, barn
Swallow, cliff
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Teal, blue-winged
Thrasher, curve-billed
Thrush, orange-billed nightingale
Towhee, canyon
Tyrannulet, northern beardless
Vireo, golden
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Warbler, yellow (Sn)
Waterthrush, Louisiana (Ca)
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, spotted
Yellowthroat, common (Ca,Sa)
Yellowthroat, gray-crowned (Ca,Sa)

Location codes:
Ac - Ajijic: La Cristina/El Bajio
At - Trails above Ajijic
Av - Ajijic village
Ca - Lake Cajititlan & marsh
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: chapalabirders@yahoo.com or 376.766.1801. Check out the website: chapalabirders.org.

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.