Tuesday, March 3, 2020


Chapala Birders Newsletter March 2, 2020
  153 Species sighted around the Lake in February
Squirrel Cuckoos and Russet-crowned Motmots have just returned to our hills to find mates and build nests.

This is the month when our migrant birds start leaving Jalisco on their way to their northern breeding grounds. An exception is the American White Pelican which is a powerful flyer and doesn't need to stop so much on the way. It leaves in late April in order to arrive in the northern US states and southern Canada in May when the ice on the lakes is melting.

Interesting sightings this month:
- At the breakfast after the Chapala East Bird Trip we spotted a Western Grebe (unusual at Lake Chapala).
- Don Bell reported seeing a Ruby-throated Hummingbird on its way back up north.
- John Roynon reported a Brown-backed Solitaire singing in the hills above Ajijic.
- Laura Dangerfield saw a Yellow-breasted Chat at the San Antonio malecon.
- Jules Evens reported seeing Black-chinned Hummingbird and Grasshopper Sparrow.
Featured Bird:   Broad-billed Hummingbird
Broad-billed Humminbird (male). Photo by Jalisco birder Julio Alvarez.

The Broad-billed Humminbird is one of our two commonest species of Hummingbird at Lake Chapala (the other is the Violet-crowned).

- The females and immatures have a greenish back, with gray throat and underparts. Immatures may have a black bill.

- Its range is primarly northern and central Mexico, though some birds are seen in Arizona in the summer.

- Their diet is a mixture of nectar taken from trumpet-shaped flowers and insects which are caught on the wing or gleaned from leaves.

- They breed from January to September. The female builds a tiny nest typically attached to the end of a trailing branch or vine. She lays two eggs and incubates them for two weeks while the male guards the territory from a point close by.
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 Friday March 6, we will meet at 8.00 am to carpool behind Black Coffee, in the Laguna Mall parking area, leaving immediately for the Cajititlan Marsh (30 minutes drive). We expect to see a variety of marsh and lake birds such as Black-necked Stilt, Snowy Egret, and perhaps American Avocet. At about 10.15 we will go La Palapa de Don Juan restaurant in Chapala for breakfast and complete the bird list. If you plan on going, email John at Chapalabirders@yahoo.com at least 2 days ahead of time, also indicate whether or not you can bring a car. (We don't always have enough cars).

On Monday March 16, 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.

On Friday March 27, 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, 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 chapalabirders@yahoo.com two days ahead of time; also indicate if you can bring a vehicle, to help in carpool planning. (We don't always have enough cars).
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
On February 5, we had 13 people join us to bird the Lakeshore Road east of Chapala, principally near the Pumping Station. We saw an impressive 74 species including Belted Kingfisher, Black-backed Oriole (endemic), Gadwall, Northern Jacana, Greenish Elaenia, Marsh Wren, American Redstart and both Plumbeous and Warbling Vireos.

On February 17, twenty three people joined us on the Las Palmas Road where we saw 53 species. These included Tricolored Heron, a Black-crowned Night Heron slowy ingesting a large tilapia, Blue Mockingbird, Least Grebe, Lucy's Warbler, Rusty-crowned Ground Sparrow and Orange-billed Nightingale Thrush.

On February 28, we went to the Rosa Amarilla Loop. We had 16 people in four cars (our maximum capacity) and had to turn away four others who wanted to go. We saw Eastern Meadowlark, Crested Caracara, Osprey, Ruddy Duck, Spotted Wren, White-tailed Hawk and Black-necked Stilt out of a total of 53 species.
Monthly Sightings List
Here are the species sighted around Lake Chapala in February:

Ani, groove-billed
Avocet, American (Ra)
Blackbird, yellow-headed
Bobwhite, northern (Ps)
Bunting, indigo
Bunting, lazuli
Bunting, painted
Bunting, varied
Caracara, crested
Chat, yellow-breasted (Sa)
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, bronzed
Cowbird, brown-headed
Cuckoo, squirrel (At)
Dove, Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, mourning
Dove, white-tipped
Dove, white-winged
Duck, Mexican
Duck, ruddy (Ra)
Egret, cattle,
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Elaenia, greenish (At,Sa)
Falcon, peregrine
Finch, house
Flycatcher, ash-throated
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, gray silky (Av)
Flycatcher, least
Flycatcher, Nutting's
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermilion
Gadwall (Ps)
Gallinule, common
Gallinule, purple
Gnatcatcher, blue-gray
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grebe, least
Grebe, pied-billed (Ra)
Grebe, western (Ch)
Grosbeak, black-headed
Grosbeak, blue
Gull, laughing
Gull, ring-billed
Hawk, Cooper's
Hawk, gray
Hawk, red-tailed
Hawk, white-tailed (Ra)
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue
Heron, tri-colored
Hummingbird, berylline
Hummingbird, black-chinned
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, Ruby-throated (Ac)
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Ibis, white-faced
Jacana, northern
Kestrel, American
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
Kingbird, western
Kingfisher, belted
Kiskadee, great
Meadowlark, eastern (Ra)
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern
Motmot, russet-crowned (Av)
Nightjar, buff-collared (Av)
Oriole, black-backed
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, Bullock's
Oriole, hooded
Oriole, orchard
Oriole, streak-backed
Osprey (Ra)
Owl, ferruginous pygmy (Sa)
Owl, great horned (Av)
Parakeet, monk
Pelican, American white
Pewee, greater
Pigeon, rock
Pintail, northern
Raven, common
Redstart, American (Aw,Ps)
Redstart, Painted (Sa)
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, spotted
Sapsucker, yellow-bellied
Seedeater, cinnamon-rumped
Shoveler, northern
Shrike, loggerhead
Snipe, Wilson's (Sa)
Solitaire, brown-backed (At)
Sparrow, chipping
Sparrow, clay-colored
Sparrow, grasshopper
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, lark
Sparrow, Lincoln's
Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
Sparrow, Savannah
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Stilt, black-necked (Ra)
Swallow, barn
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Swallow, tree
Swallow, violet-green
Tanager, summer (Ac)
Tanager, western
Teal, blue-winged
Teal, cinnamon
Tern, Caspian
Tern, Forster's
Thrasher, curve-billed
Thrush, orange-billed nightingale
Towhee, canyon
Tyrannulet, northern beardless
Vireo, black-capped
Vireo, Cassin's
Vireo, golden (At)
Vireo, plumbeous (Ac)
Vireo, warbling (Ac)
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Warbler, black and white
Warbler, black-throated gray
Warbler, Lucy's (Ac)
Warbler, MacGillivray's (Ps)
Warbler, Nashville
Warbler, orange-crowned
Warbler, rufous-capped
Warbler, Virginia's
Warbler, Wilson's
Warbler, yellow (Ps)
Warbler, Yellow-rumped
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, happy
Wren, house
Wren, marsh (Ps)
Wren, spotted
Yellowthroat, common

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. NOTE: THIS FOLDER IS TEMPORARILY OUT OF PRINT.