Sunday, April 3, 2022


Chapala Birders Newsletter, April 2, 2022
Sightings this Month

There were 175 species reported for the lake area in February. The complete list is shown at the end of this newsletter. Uncommon sightings included the following:

  • Duncan Poole photographed an uncommon Blue Bunting. It seems likely that because we do not expect to see this species we will often misidentify it as Indigo Bunting which is rather similar. (See the Featured Bird article below.)
  • Mary Paston and John Keeling spotted a rare Aztec Thrush on the Oak Forest Trail east of Las Trojes.
  • Jules identified rare Spotted Towhee at the top of the Caracol Trail.
  • Markus Molenda photographed a Black-chinned Humminbird at Vista del Lago.
  • Kate and Carl Anderson saw a Northern Waterthrush in Riberas del Pilar.

At this time of the year most of the migrant birds have left Jalisco for points north. Those remaining are now mating, nest building or sitting on eggs. A few species are coming here from points south in order to nest here, such Western Wood Pewee. Others return here from lower altitudes closer to the coast in order nest here over the summer, such as Rose-breasted and Gray-collared Becards.
Featured Bird: Black-chinned Hummingbird
A male Black-chinned Hummingbird. Notice the black chin and below it a band of blue-violet feathers which glint at certain angles of the sun, but usually the whole head appears black.
  • The Black-chinned Hummingbird is a small hummingbird closely related to the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, both of which come to our area in the winter.
  • The female has a plain throat and looks like a number of other female hummingbirds.
  • It is probably more common here than we think, being subject to misidentification.
  • It has a unique habit of pumping its tail in flight or perching.
  • It spends the summer nesting in the west of the U.S., and winters in central Mexico.
  • It feeds on nectar and small insects which it catches in flight, from leaves and from spider's webs.
  • It is eaten by birds and animals such as Kestrels and cats.
Bird-walks and Trips
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. 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).

Government protocols for Covid will apply. When traveling by car, masks will be worn in the car. You will need a mask to enter the restaurant.

On Wednesday April 6, we will meet at 8.30 am at Puerta Nueva on the west side of Ajijic. We will see some shore birds and some birds in the tall trees along the street. At about 10.00 am we will head for Fonda Doña Lola Restaurant for breakfast and complete the bird list.
How to Get There: Drive about one mile (3km) west from Colon, past the French Bakery and the Cemetary; then take the next left exit signed 'Villa Lucerna'; turn left after one block and immediately turn right at the sign Puerta Nueva; park on the side of the street close to this sign.

On Tuesday April 19, we will meet at 8.00 am at the "Sculpture" (at the only traffic light in La Floresta, south-east corner, near Restaurant Pranzo), leaving immediately for the Rosa Amarilla Loop (60 minutes drive). Expect to see a variety of grassland birds 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. You must reserve - email John at at least 2 days ahead indicating that you can bring a vehicle or you would like to be a passenger. (We do not always have enough cars.)
Birdwalk & Trip Reports
On March 9, we birded along the Lakeshore Road East from Chapala to the Pumping Station with 19 participants. In a variety of habitats we managed to spot 78 species including Northern Harrier, White-tailed Kite, Osprey, Crested Caracara, Wilson's Snipe, Sora, Little Blue Heron and Marsh Wren.

On March 18, we took nine keen birders to Lake Atotonilco at Villa Corona. We recorded 76 species including Belted Kingfisher, Eastern Meadowlark, Tri-colored Heron, Fulvous Whistling Duck, Ruddy Duck, Common Yellowthroat, Aztec Rail and American Bittern.

On March 29, ten birders joined us at the Lake Cajititlan Marsh. Though the water level was high, we recorded American Pipit, Lincoln's Sparrow, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Social Flycatcher, Least Grebe, Pied-billed Grebe and a Ladder-backed Woodpecker seen entering and leaving its nesting hole, out of a total of 68 species.
Monthly Sightings List
Here are the 175 species sighted around Lake Chapala in February:

Ani, groove-billed
Avocet, American (Ch)
Bittern, least (Rp)
Blackbird, red-winged (Ca)
Blackbird, yellow-headed (Ca)
Bunting, blue
Bunting, indigo
Bunting, lazuli (Tr)
Bunting, painted Ct)
Bunting, varied
Caracara, crested
Chat, yellow-breasted (Rp,Av)
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, bronzed
Cowbird, brown-headed
Cuckoo, squirrel
Dove, common ground (Ps)
Dove, Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, mourning (Ch)
Dove, white-tipped
Dove, white-winged
Dowitcher, long-billed
Duck, fulvous whistling (Ca,Rp)
Duck, Mexican
Duck, ruddy
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Elaenia, greenish (Ct)
Finch, house
Flycatcher, ash-throated
Flycatcher, buff-breasted (Ct)
Flycatcher, cordilleran
Flycatcher, dusky (Sa)
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, gray silky (Tr,Ct)
Flycatcher, Hammond's (Ct)
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermilion
Gadwall (Ch,Ca)
Gallinule, common
Gallinule, purple (Rp)
Gnatcatcher, blue-gray
Goldfinch, lesser
Goshawk, northern (Ac)
Grackle, great-tailed
Grebe, least
Grebe, pied-billed
Grosbeak, black-headed
Grosbeak, blue
Gull, laughing (Ch)
Gull, ring-billed
Harrier, northern (Ch)
Hawk, Cooper's (At)
Hawk, gray (Rp)
Hawk, red-tailed
Hawk, sharp-shinned (At)
Hawk, white-tailed
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue
Heron, little blue
Heron, tri-colored
Hummingbird, berylline
Hummingbird, black-chinned (Sn)
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Hummingbird, white-eared (Ct)
Ibis, white-faced
Jacana, northern
Kestrel, American
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
Kingbird, western (Sa)
Kinglet, ruby-crowned (Ct)
Kiskadee, great
Kite, white-tailed (Ps)
Meadowlark, eastern (Ch)
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern
Motmot, russet-crowned (Ac)
Nighthawk, lesser (Rp)
Nightjar, buff-collared (Av)
Oriole, black-backed (Ca)
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, Bullock's
Oriole, hooded
Oriole, orchard (Ca)
Oriole, streak-backed
Osprey (Ch)
Owl, ferruginous pygmy (Av,Rp,Ct)
Parakeet, monk
Parrot, red-lored (Sa)
Parula, northern (Ac)
Pelican, American white
Pewee, greater
Phoebe, Say's (Sn)
Pigeon, rock
Pintail, northern (Ch)
Pipit, American (Ca)
Raven, common
Redstart, American (Sa)
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, least
Sandpiper, spotted
Seedeater, cinnamon-rumped
Shoveler, northern
Shrike, loggerhead
Snipe, Wilson's (Ch)
Solitaire, brown-backed (Tr,Ct)
Sora (Ca)
Sparrow, chipping
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, lark
Sparrow, Lincoln's (Ca)
Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground (At)
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Stilt, black-necked (Ca)
Swallow, barn
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Swallow, tree (Rp)
Tanager, flame-colored (At,Ct)
Tanager, hepatic
Tanager, western
Teal, blue-winged
Teal, cinnamon (Ca)
Teal, green-winged (Ch)
Tern, Caspian
Tern, Forster's (Ch)
Thrasher, curve-billed
Thrush, Aztec (Tr)
Thrush, orange-billed nightingale
Towhee, canyon
Towhee, spotted
Tyrannulet, northern beardless (Av)
Vireo, black capped (Sa)
Vireo, Cassin's (Ct)
Vireo, golden (Ct)
Vireo, plumbeous (Ct)
Vireo, warbling
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Warbler, black and white
Warbler, black-throated gray
Warbler, crescent-chested (Ac)
Warbler, hermit (Ct)
Warbler, Lucy's (Ac)
Warbler, MacGillivray's (Ct)
Warbler, Nashville
Warbler, orange-crowned
Warbler, rufous-capped (Ct)
Warbler, Townsend's (Ct)
Warbler, Virginia's (Sa,Ct)
Warbler, Wilson's
Warbler, yellow (Ac)
Warbler, yellow-rumped
Warbler, yellow-throated (Ch)
Waterthrush, northern (Rp)
Wigeon, American (Ac)
Woodpecker, acorn (Tr,Ct)
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, happy
Wren, house (Rp)
Wren, marsh (Ch,Ps)
Wren, spotted
Yellowlegs, greater
Yellowlegs, lesser
Yellowthroat, common (Ca)
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 - Potrerillos / Las Trojes / Chupinaya
Tu - Tuxcueca / San Luis Soyatlan
Xt - Ixtlahuacan / Las Campanillas

What is the "Lake Chapala Area"?
We define it as the whole area of the lake plus all land within 15km (or 7 miles) of the shores of the lake.
Lake Chapala Birders is an informal group of bird observers led by John and Rosemary Keeling.

We like to hear of bird sightings at:

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