Saturday, November 21, 2020


Chapala Birders Newsletter, November 2, 2020
158 Species in October Including Two New
Species for the Lake
This is a fantastically good list. The complete list appears at the end of this newsletter. Special sightings last month included:

  • John and Rosemary saw a pair of Green-tailed Towhees at the Cajititlan marsh. These are large sparrows with maroon cap and greenish body and tail, that are seen here only every few years.
  • Sandra Young had various hummingbirds at her feeders including Black-chinned, Bumblebee and Ruby-crowned.
  • Nicola Cendron saw a large number of Clark's Grebes on Lake Cajitlan, and also many warblers on the higher levels the mountain above Ajijic including Red-faced, Hermit and Townsend's not to mention White-eared Hummingbird and Mexican Violetear.
The New Species
Costa's Hummingbird was sighted at the feeders of our Hummingbird Lady, Sandra Young, who lives in the country near Mezcala. This small hummingbird is one of those described in the books as 'unmistakable", the male having not just a purplish-colored gorget, but the color extends from the throat to the crown. It winters along the north-west coast of Mexico and we are on the very edge of its winter range.

Gray-Collared Becard was seen by Nicola Cendron on a trail that ascends to the oak forest on the top of the mountain range above Chapala and Ajijic, It is a small flycatcher with a dark cap and a flat-topped head seen in the higher levels of tall trees. It is an uncommon resident in various parts of Mexico, but is known to be an altitudinal migrant, moving to lower altitudes in winter.
Two Christmas Bird Counts in December
Our two local Christmas Bird Counts will be conducted this year on Tuesday Dec. 15 for the Ajijic area, and on Thursday Dec. 17 for the Dike at the east end of Lake. We will follow whatever government protocols for Covid virus control are in force at the time, such as smaller teams. Registration will take place on December 11 and 12. Further details will appear in the December 2 newsletter.
Featured Bird: Vermilion Flycatcher
Male Vermilion Flycatcher
The Vermilion Flycatcher is an iconic year-round resident in our area.
  • It is found in Mexico, the southernmost parts of the U.S, and various subspecies are found in many parts of Central and South America.
  • The females have whitish breasts with streaks and a pink or yellow wash on the belly.
  • They prefer fairly open shrubby areas not far from water.
  • The birds spend much of their time sitting on exposed branches waiting for flies and beetles which are caught in flight.
  • Three eggs are laid in a shallow nest. The female incubates the eggs and the male feeds her. Ten percent of females copulate with more than one male and ten percent of females lay eggs in other nests.
  • The chicks fly within 15 days and the parents build two nests in a summer.
  • The nests are often a target of brood-parasitism by Brown-headed Cowbirds.
  • The Vermilion Flycatcher is known to sing its particular trill at night in the breeding season.
Bird-walks and Trips
Unfortunately, we have not been scheduling any Bird-walks or any Birding Trips for Chapala Birders, due to the ongoing Covid restrictions.
Monthly Sightings List
Here are the 100 species sighted around Lake Chapala in September:
Ani, groove-billed
Becard, gray-collared (Ch)
Bittern, American (Ca)
Blackbird, yellow-headed (Ps,Ca)
Bobwhite, northern (Ps)
Bunting, lazuli (Ca0
Bunting, painted (Te)
Bunting, varied
Caracara, crested
Chat, yellow-breasted (Av)
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, bronzed
Cowbird, brown-headed
Cuckoo, squirrel
Dickcissel (Ca)
dove, common ground
Dove, Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, mourning
Dove, white-tipped
Dove, white-winged
Dowitcher, long-billed
Duck, black-bellied whistling
Duck, fulvous whistling
Duck, Mexican
Duck, ruddy (Ra)
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Elaenia, greenish
Euphonia, elegant (Sa)
Finch, house
Flycatcher, ash-throated
Flycatcher, cordilleran (At)
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermilion
Gadwall (Ca)
Gallinule, common
Gnatcatcher, blue-gray
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grebe, Clark's (Ca)
Grebe, least
Grebe, pied-billed
Grosbeak, black-headed
Grosbeak, blue
Gull, ring-billed
Hawk, Cooper's
Hawk, gray (Te)
Hawk, red-tailed
Hawk, sharp-shinned (Ca)
Hawk, zone-tailed
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue
Heron, green
Heron, tri-colored
Hummingbird, berylline
Hummingbird, black-chinned (Te)
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, bumblebee (Te)
Hummingbird, Costa's (Te)
Hummingbird, ruby-throated (Te,ch,Ca)
Hummingbird, rufous (Ra,sa0
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Hummingbird, white-eared (Ch)
Ibis, white-faced
Jacana, northern
Kestrel, American
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
Kingbird, western
Kingfisher, belted (Ps,Sa)
Kinglet, ruby-crowned (Ch)
Kiskadee, great
Kite, white-tailed (Ca)
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern
Motmot, russet-crowned
Nighthawk, lesser
Oriole, black-backed
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, Bullock's (SaAv0
Oriole, hooded
Oriole, orchard (Ps)
Oriole, streak-backed
Osprey (Ra)
Owl, ferruginous pygmy (Sa)
Owl, great horned
Parakeet, monk
Pelican, American white
Pelican, brown (Ca0
Pewee, greater
Pewee, western wood
Pigeon, rock
Pintail, northern
Raven, common
Redstart, painted (Sa)
Redstart, slate-throated (Ch)
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, least
Sandpiper, spotted
Seedeater, cinnamon-rumped
Shoveler, northern
Shrike, loggerhead
Solitaire, brown-backed (Ch0
Sparrow, chipping
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, lark
Sparrow, rusty -crowned ground
Sparrow, savannah
Sparrow, song
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Stilt, black-necked
Stork, wood
Swallow, barn
Swallow, cliff
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Tanager, western
Teal, blue-winged
Teal, cinnamon
Teal, green-winged
Tern, Caspian
Tern, Forster's
Thrasher, curve-billed
Thrush, orange-billed nightingale
Towhee, canyon
Towhee, green-tailed (Ca)
Tyrannulet, northern beardless
Violetear, Mexican (Ch)
Vireo, Cassin's (Ch)
Vireo, plumbeous (Ch)
Vireo, warbling
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Warbler, black and white
Warbler, black-throated gray
Warbler, hermit (Ch)
Warbler, McGillivray's (Ch)
Warbler, Nashville
Warbler, red-faced (Ch)
Warbler, rufous-capped
Warbler, Townsend's
Warbler, Wilson's
Warbler, yellow
Warbler, yellow-rumped
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, happy (Sa)
Wren, house
Wren, Sinaloa (Ch)
Wren, spotted
Sighting 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.

We like to hear of bird sightings at:

Check our website:
Lake Chapala Birders | Callejon al Tepalo #140, Ajijic, Jalisco 45920 Mexico
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