Thursday, September 2, 2021


Chapala Birders Newsletter, September 2, 2021

Sightings this Month

There were 93 species reported in August. The complete list is shown at the end of this newsletter.

Interesting sightings included:

  • A Gray-crowned Yellowthroat was seen singing on tall weeds at Lake Cajititlan Marsh - apparently it had not read the reference books which say it is not found in marshes.

  • Wood Storks have been breeding beside Presa El Volantin and Lake Cajititlan. They are becoming a major presence in those two spots. Ten years ago this species was rarely seen here.
Featured Bird: Gray-collared Becard
A male Gray-collared Becard photographed by Jalisco birder Julio Alvarez.
  • Gray-collared Becards are uncommon Central American birds found from Mexico to Nicaragua.
  • Seen in semi-arid woodlands and pine-oak forests.
  • They are only rarely seen in our area. However, they were seen in April and July on the north face of Chupinaya.
  • They are sparrow-sized flycatchers typically seen in the upper half of tall trees.
  • The females have rich red-brown wings and creamy bodies.
  • Considered non-migratory, they will move downhill to warmer areas in the winter.
  • Like other flycatchers they eat insects and grubs as well as fruits and berries in season.
Change in Species Name
August is the month we receive notice of changes in the official bird list of the American Ornithological Society (AOS). This year there is some shuffling of the taxonomic sequence and there is one name change for our area:

The non-migratory Sedge Wrens occurring in the trans-volcanic belt and in southern Mexico are now lumped with the Grass Wren which is an established species found from Mexico to Argentina. We have seen this species (as Sedge Wrens) in wet clump-grass fields at Concepción de Buenos Aires in the Sierra del Tigre on the south side of Lake Chapala. Now we will call them Grass Wrens.
Bird-walks and Trips
We are proposing to gradually get back to normal with larger groups, but masks will be worn in public in compliance with regulations.

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 limit car trips to four vehicles because larger convoys are hard to manage 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 pesos for a day trip).

On Wednesday September 8, we will meet at 8.15 am at the entrance to Cristiania Park in Chapala. We should see an interesting selection of species in the park and on the shore of the lake. Wear face masks and practice social distancing. At about 10.00 those of us who are vaccinated will go to 'La Palapa de Don Juan' for breakfast and complete the bird list.

How to Get There: From Ajijic go to the traffic light at the main street of Chapala (Av. Madero), cross straight over and keep going straight for five blocks, turn left at the T intersection and park on the right, near the Park entrance.

On Tuesday September 14, we will meet at 8.15 at the "Sculpture" (at the only traffic light in La Floresta, south west corner, opposite Restaurant Pranzo), leaving immediately for the Lake Cajititlan Marsh (30 minutes drive). Wear face masks and practice social distancing. We expect to see a variety of marsh and lake birds such as Wood Stork, Black-necked Stilt, Snowy Egret, and perhaps American Avocet. You must reserve - email John at at least 2 days ahead saying if you are bringing a vehicle and can take others, or whether you are looking for a ride.

On Monday September 27, will meet at 8.15 at the trail head to hike a mile or more up the Allen Lloyd Trail which has lots of underbrush in which birds love to hide. Expect to see Blue Mockingbrid and hear the Happy Wren - if we are lucky. At about 10.00 those of us who are vaccinated 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 next to the new hospital across from the Radisson Blu / El Dorado Condominium towers.
Birdwalk & Trip Reports
On August 12, we had six birders join us on the Rosa Amarilla Loop, which is one of our favorite routes. We saw 44 species including the expected Botteri's Sparrow, Redwing Blackbird, Squirrel Cuckoo, Ruddy Duck, Roseate Spoonbill, American White Pelican and Blue Mockingbird.

On August 23, there were twelve keen birders at Villa Corona on Lake Atotonilco. We identified Black-bellied and Fulvous Whistling Ducks, as well as Loggerhead Shrike, Black-necked Stilt, White-faced Ibis and Clark's Grebe out of total of 40 species.
Monthly Sightings List
Here are the 93 species sighted around Lake Chapala in August:

Ani, groove-billed
Blackbird, red-winged (Ra)
Blackbird, yellow-headed (Ca)
Bobwhite, northern (Ca)
Caracara, crested
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, bronzed
Cuckoo, squirrel (Ra)
Dove, Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, mourning
Dove, white-tipped
Duck, black-bellied whistling
Duck, fulvous whistling
Duck, Mexican
Duck, ruddy
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Finch, house
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, sulphur-bellied (At)
Flycatcher, vermilion
Gallinule, common
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grassquit, blue-black (Ca)
Grosbeak, blue
Gull, laughing
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue
Heron, green
Heron, little blue
Heron, tri-colored
Hummingbird, berylline
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, Rivoli's
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Ibis, white-faced
Jacana, northern
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
Kingbird, western
Kiskadee, great
Kite, white-tailed (Rp)
Meadowlark, eastern (Ra)
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern (Ra)
Motmot, russet-crowned
Oriole, black-backed
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, streak-backed
Owl, feruginous pygmy
Owl, great horned
Parakeet, monk
Pelican, American white
Pewee, western wood
Pigeon, rock
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, spotted
Seedeater, cinnamon-rumped
Shrike, loggerhead
Sparrow, Botteri's
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Spoonbill, roseate (Ra)
Stilt, black-necked
Stork, wood (Ra,Ca)
Swallow, barn
Swallow, cliff
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Tanager, western
Thrasher, curve-billed
Thrush, orange-billed nightingale
Towhee, canyon
Tyrannulet, northern beardless
Vireo, golden
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Warbler, rufous-capped (Ct)
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, happy
Wren, spotted
Yellowthroat, gray-crowned
Sighting Location codes:

Ac - Ajijic: La Cristina / El Bajio
At - Trails above Ajijic
Av - Ajijic village
Ca - Lake Cajititlan & marsh
Ch - Chapala
Ct - Caracol Trail / Int'l School
Cv - Cerro Viejo
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
Oc - Ocotlan
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 / Chupinaya
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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