Wednesday, March 22, 2017

March 20-22, 2017-Continued Great Hawk Counts

March 20-Herb/Judy
March 21-Steve
March 22-Laura

March 20-711 Swainson's Hawks
March 21-737 SW's
March 22-45 SW's

On March 20 and 22 the hawks moved across Henderson Canyon and along Coyote Mtn. They had roosted near the potato fields in Tamarisks and Creosotes. Most crossed Henderson at the bend in the road located to the east. We hope to exceed our best year count tomorrow March 23.

Below is a map of SW's migration, wintering and breeding grounds. We probably are now seeing the arrival of hawks from Mexico and Central America. As the season progresses hawks will come from Columbia and finally Argentina.

Evening Watch: Wednesday March 22:
This evening around 200 hawks are in town. At least 135 may have stayed over from yesterday. Additionally around 75 came in late (6:15pm)

Wind will be up with a slight break early. Perhaps the hawks will move during the break. It is too hard to predict their movement. Perhaps it will be best to go to the alternative watch site on Di Giorgio Rd about 200 yards south of Henderson Canyon Rd. You can then be instructed as to where to go. It is possible that hawks could take off early in the wind. Today however it was windy and they didn't take off until 10am.
Map of Wintering, Migration and Breeding

Nice panoramas of our count area-Pam Albers

Hal receiving our mascot award from Larry Hendrickson-A Caterpillar

A 3 inch Caterpillar on a Popcorn Flower-HC

Yes there are still flowers-A secret spot-3/22/17-HC

Monday, March 20, 2017

Swainson's Hawks Continue in Borrego Springs-March 19, 2017

March 19-Pam and Rose
March 20-Herb, Judy, Hal, Pam

March 19-Swainson's Hawks-580
March 20-Swainson's Hawks-711

March 19-Hawks came up in several kettles. Most leaving through Coyote Canyon. Seventy-five flew directly over the alternative count site. Most if not all of the hawks are spending the night near the potato fields. March 20-Hawks began moving along Coyote Mtn from Tamarisk Trees to the south of Henderson Canyon. They were easy to spot as they crossed Henderson Canyon Rd over the flower fields.

Evening Watch:
March 19-At least 400 hawks are still staging to the east of the evening watch site. They boil up every 15 minutes or so, spread out with some going very high. The numbers increase as the night approaches. By 6:30pm they go to roost her the potato fields in Tamarisk trees. Here is a youtube from the evening of March 19.
March 20-Around 150 Swainson's Hawks dropped in at 5:15pm

March 21-Probably best to view migrating hawks from Henderson Canyon Rd near the east end at the bend. Or first check in at the evening site on Borrego Valley Rd.

Subadult dark morph SW

Subadults with an adult

Saturday, March 18, 2017

March 15-March 18-2017-What An Incredible Migration Period

March 15-Laura
March 16-Rose
March 17-Pam
March 18-Hal

March 15-328 Swainson's Hawks
March 16-788      "
March 17-633      "
March 18-3,713 Swainson's Hawks

Today started off as any other day with kettles beginning to form around 8:30a hawk time. By the end of the first hour hawks began to stream. By the end of the second hour over 800 Swainson's Hawks had passed us. The next hour went crazy. We spotted a large kettle to the east. It finally emerged closer and as we clicked off the SW's another kettle formed to the east. Rose raised the cry that hawks were streaming in at an alarming rate. As one kettle formed near pyramid and streamed away, another kettle formed in the same area. This continued for more than an hour. At times the stream was too dense to count. We believe we missed a few hundred hawks! With a cramped hand from clicking, I had to switch to my other hand. This figure surpasses our previous record by over 2,000 hawks. Check out the youtube:
We are not getting as many close photos this season. The hawks, although we have great numbers, are not coming close to the road. Most likely the number of flower viewers in town and traffic influence the hawks. I've been told we have had over 40,000 visitors each weekend day!

Evening Watch:
This evening around 200 or more hawks have descended into the valley. After the numbers that migrated today we were surprised.

If the wind remains light, migration will start between 9 and 10am. Again check in with the leaders at the alternate site on Di Giorgio Rd just south of Henderson Canyon Rd.

Evening boil of Swainson's Hawks-HC

Sunset from the evening watch-HC

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

March 14, 2017 155 Swainson's Hawks Depart Town

Steve assisted by Judy and Pam

Swainson's Hawks-155
Turkey Vultures-12

Hawks in several kettles began to thermal up at 9:30a from a few locations. They streamed West and probably departed the valley at Palm Canyon or Coyote Canyon. Check out the youtube:
There will be plenty of traffic in town for the flowers. 

Evening Watch:
Over 300 Swainson's Hawks were observed east of Borrego Valley Rd. Most have taken to Creosote Bushes and Tamarisk Trees.

Hawks will probably begin to kettle up between 9 and 10am east of the evening site on Borrego Valley Rd. 1.8 mies north of Palm Canyon Drive. Light winds indicate a late lift-off. Caterpillars are now making a show.

Monday, March 13, 2017

March 9-13, 2017 Interesting Migration

March 9-Hal
March 10-Pam
March 11-Rose
March 12-Rose/Hal
March 13-Judy

March 9-19 Swainson's Hawks
March 10-37 SW's
March 11-32 SW's
March 12-209 SW's
March 13-35 SW's

Although we have a steady migration, the numbers are still low for this time of the season. The weather could be a factor. Temperatures in the mid-90's with very little wind may be slowing migration. We do have caterpillars and some feeding behavior. Flowers are peaking and the bloom is perhaps the best in 30 years. Even with many weedy non-native plants the flowers are wonderful. Of course thousands of folks are pouring into town making driving difficult. The hawks are moving to locations far from the madding crowd.

Audubon Magazine is now in town. Mac Stone, the photographer has some of his shots below. Also, the Birding Festival will begin on Wednesday.

Evening Watch Monday March 13:

This evening at 5pm somewhere between 125 and 150 hawks appeared to the east. They settled down into the mesquite dunes. See the youtube:
Tomorrow expect a slight breeze in the morning. Temperatures will remain in the middle 90's. The hawks probably will get up between 9 and 10a. Best viewing from Henderson Canyon Rd east of Borrego Valley Rd. This is at the flower fields. The hawks are to the south of Henderson Canyon Rd. You can view the hawks taking off from the evening site on Borrego Valley Rd 1.8 miles north of Palm Canyon. Then move to Henderson. Traffic coming into town could cause some backup.

3/13/17 Mostly Light Morph SW's-Mac Stone
3/13/17 Nice shot with another flyer-Mac Stone
3/13/17TeTGreat shot of a Light and Dark Morph-Mac Stone
Yellow Sphinx Moth Caterpillar-Ted Spriggs Jr.
Dark Sphinx Moth Caterpillar-Ted Spriggs Jr. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

March 5-8, 2017-Aerial Feeding Continues and Caterpillars Spotted

March 5-Herb/Judy
March 6-Herb/Judy
March 7-Steve
March 8-Laura

March 5-15 Swainson's Hawks
March 6-0
March 7-54 Swainson's Hawks; 12 TV's
March 8-115 Swainson's Hawks

Hawks continue to arrive in small numbers. Today, Wed. March 8th saw an uptick in numbers. Several small kettles and one large kettle were observed from the alternate watch site. Aerial feeding (ants) took place for more than an hour before hawks departed the valley going northwest and west.

Evening Watch:
This evening we had several early hawks enter the valley. At 4:30pm hawks were observed very high and finally descending into the Date Farm and Roadrunner Club. At least 75 and probably more than 100 are in town. Lots of flying ants and some caterpillars are in the valley.

Warm (90) and calm wind tomorrow Thursday March 9. Expect lift-off of nice kettles between 8 and 9am. tomorrow. Flying ants might slow the migration. Best viewing spots are from the evening site 1.8 miles north of Palm Canyon Drive on Borrego Valley Rd; Di Giorgio Rd near Big Horn and at the alternate count site just south of Henderson Canyon on Di Giorgio Rd. I will be at the alternate site at 8am.

Flying Ants-A Mating Pair

SW Pouncing on Flying Ants
Typical Swainson's Hawk Shape at a Distance-HC-3/8/17
1960 Nash Metropolitan-This Evening-Always Something New At The Watch-3/8/1-HC

Saturday, March 4, 2017

March 3,4, 2017-Hawks Are Trickling Through and Feeding

March 3-Rose
March 4-Rose

March 3-3 Swainson's Hawks
March 4-17 Swainson's Hawks

Today, March 4, hawks were aerial feeding on flying ants. They spent more than an hour very close to the alternative count site on Di Giorgio Rd just south of Henderson Canyon Rd.

Evening Watch:
At least 37 Swainson's Hawks flew low to the Date Farm area. They may have been feeding in fields, although no caterpillars have been observed yet. Flowers are increasing in numbers and we expect caterpillars soon.

Unfortunately high wind is predicted early tomorrow so lift-off could be just after sunup.

TV on Di Giorgio Rd 3/2/17-HC