John and Rosemary Keeling, who lead Lake Chapala Birders, an informal group of lakeside bird observers, encourage one and all to go birding on Saturday, May 5 to see how many species they can find in one day, and record the list on eBird.
The challenge is to see how close we can come to reporting all of the world’s 10,000 bird species on that day, John Keeling says. You don’t have to form a team to take part.
“Just bring binoculars and show up,” he says. “We always have knowledgeable birders on hand to identify the species. If you are being given a ride, please make a contribution to gas and tolls.”
On Monday, May 7, the group meets at 8 a.m. to walk the Allen Lloyd Trail, which follows a mile-long arroyo with lots of underbrush in which birds love to hide. Expect to see stripe-headed sparrow, western wood pewee and possibly a squirrel cuckoo. At 10:15 a.m. they head to Cafe Negro restaurant for breakfast. To get there,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 Saturday, May 12, the group meets 8 a.m. at Donas Donuts to car pool, proceeding immediately to the Rosa Amarilla Loop on the plateau above the south side of the lake (a 60-minute drive). Expect to see higher altitude and pasture birds such as eastern meadowlark, redwing blackbird and possibly a roadrunner. Bring refreshments for the morning and sandwiches for lunch. Return is about 3 p.m. If you plan on going, email Keeling at least 24 hours ahead of time.
Lake Chapala Birders now offers a handsome, laminated folder that illustrates 140 local bird species. It is called the “Quick Guide to the Birds of the Metropolitan Zone of Guadalajara and Chapala,” and is available for sale at Diane Pearl for 150 pesos. This guide is produced with the help of the U.S. non-profit Defenders of Wildlife.