Thursday, October 3, 2019


Chapala Birders Newsletter October 2, 2019
    121 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 month that the Rufous Hummingbirds come down from the western US and Canada through Jalisco on migration. We hope to see them when we visit Tapalpa, or other higher altitude locations like Rosa Amarilla and Concepcion.
Interesting sightings last month:
- A Sharp-shinned Hawk was photographed at Vista del Lago after it hit a window. It flew off after a few minutes.
- Stan and Darnell Dunn observed Yellow-throated Warblers in their back yard in La Floresta. These are pretty warblers that we sometimes see here as they migrate south.
Happy Wren
   A Happy Wren seen at Ajijic

The Happy Wren:
-  Is an endemic Mexican bird found in the lowlands and mountains on the west side of the country from Sinaloa to Oaxaca.
- It is a very shy bird preferring vine covered understory. It is much more often heard than seen.
-  It breeds in May and June building a 'retort-shaped' nest of dry plant material, consisting of a nest bag with an entrance tunnel that curls in an arc downwards from the top of the bag. The bird flies vertically upwards to enter the tunnel.
-  It eats mainly insects such as spiders, beetles and caterpillars.
-  It is most famous for it's habit of precision duetting with its partner so it sounds as if one bird is singing. Each wren has a sex-specific repertoire of at least 40 phrases. When the female starts singing the male will immediately start in unison using coded phrases. Different phrases are used to signal aggression to an intruder.
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 Wednesday October 9, 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.

On Friday October 18, we will meet at 8.00 am at the Old Train Station in Chapala, proceeding immediately to bird various shore spots along the road east of Chapala, and the Pumping Station.
This will cover a wide range of habitats. At 10.15 we will head to La Palapa de Don Juan restaurant for breakfast and complete the birdlist. If you need a ride (on the trip, or to the train station) please email John at ahead of time. The train station is on the Lakeshore road just east of Cristiania Park.

On Monday October 28, 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, to help in carpool planning.
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
On September 9 we went to the Rosa Amarilla Loop on the plateau with nine birders. We observed Northern Bobwhite, Northern Jacana, Orchard Oriole, Wood Stork, Gray-crowned Yellowthroat, American Avocet and five Lesser Roadrunners. The total count was 53 species.

On September 18 we were joined by seven birders on the Allen Lloyd Trail. Birding was slow - we observed only 38 species. These included Gray-Silky Flycatcher, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Western Wood Pewee, and we heard the calls of the Happy Wren, Russet-crowned Motmot and the Northern Beardless Tyrannulet.
Monthly Sightings List
Here are the species sighted around Lake Chapala in August:

Ani, groove-billed
Avocet, American (Ra)
Blackbird, yellow-headed (Ds)
Bobwhite, northern (Ra)
Caracara, crested
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, bronzed
Cowbird, brown-headed
Cuckoo, squirrel (Sa)
Dove, common ground (Ds)
Dove, Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, mourning
Dove, white-tipped
Dove, white-winged
Dowitcher, long-billed
Duck, black-bellied whistling (Ps)
Duck, fulvous whistling (Ds)
Duck, Mexican
Duck, ruddy (Ra)
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Elaenia, greenish
Finch, house
Flycatcher, ash-throated
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, gray-silky (Av,Sa)
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermilion
Gallinule, common
Gnatcatcher, blue-gray
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grebe, least (Ds)
Grebe, pied-billed (Ds)
Grosbeak, black-headed
Grosbeak, blue
Hawk, red-tailed (Ra)
Hawk, sharp-shinned (Sn)
Hawk, white-tailed (Ra)
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue
Heron, green (Ds,Ch)
Heron, little blue (Ds,Ch)
Heron, tricolored (Ds,Ch)
Hummingbird, berylline
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Ibis, white-faced (Ra,Ps)
Jacana, northern
Kestrel, American (At,Ps)
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
Kingbird, western
Kingfisher, belted (Ds)
Kiskadee, great
Kite, white-tailed (Ds,Ca)
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern (Ra)
Motmot, russet-crowned (Sa)
Nightjar, buff-collared (Av)
Oriole, black-backed
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, hooded
Oriole, orchard
Oriole, streak-backed
Osprey (Ra)
Owl, ferruginous pygmy
Owl, great horned ((Av)
Parakeet, monk
Pelican, American white
Pewee, western wood
Phalarope, Wilson's (Ds)
Pigeon, rock
Raven, common
Roadrunner, greater (Sa)
Roadrunner, lesser (Ra)
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, least
Seedeater, cinnamon-rumped
Shrike, loggerhead
Sparrow, Botteri's (Ra)
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Spoonbill, roseate (Ds)
Stilt, black-necked (Ps)
Stork, wood
Swallow, barn
Swallow, cliff (Ra)
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Swift, Vaux's
Tanager, western
Teal, blue-winged (Ds,Ps)
Thrasher, curve-billed (Ds)
Towhee, canyon
Tyrannulet, northern beardless
Vireo, golden (At,Sa)
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Warbler, black and white (Sa)
Warbler, black-throated gray (Sa)
Warbler, Virginia's (Sa)
Warbler, Wilson's
Warbler, yellow (Ds,Ch)
Warbler, yellow-rumped
Warbler, yellow-throated (Av)
Willet (Ds)
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, happy
Wren, spotted
Yellowlegs, greater (Ds)
Yellowlegs, lesser (Ds)
Yellowthroat, gray-crowned (Ra)

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: 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.