Sunday, March 11, 2012


Migration Today:
Swainson's Hawks-278
Turkey Vultures-6

Mostly cloudy conditions early with calm wind. Over 75 Swainson's Hawks were visible in the date farm. As the morning progressed a breeze from the southeast at 8:40AM standard time finally got the Swainson's up from the date farm.  (9:40A-Daylight Savings Time). Kettles of SW's continued to move to the west and then northwest through Coyote Canyon. Great views today as the hawks remained very low. By the end of the first hour 224 SW's were counted. Small kettles continued for the next hour bringing the total to 278. Only 6 TV's were observed leaving the valley.

Streaming Swainson's Hawks 3/10/12
How do you count the swirling hawks? We wait until the hawks begin to stream. Pictured to the right is a stream of hawks searching for a thermal. The birds are spread out and flying in the same direction. The 18 hawks pictured here were part of a group of over 200. The stream continued for a few minutes. Using a counting clicker we count each bird after it passes a fixed point. When the hawks are funneling about in the rising heat bubble, it is difficult to count. They will twirl in two circular directions.

Evening Watch:
I just returned from the evening watch 7:10P. Hawks were still dropping into the date farm. Watchers from yesterday counted many more than the previous evening. Over 200 and possibly 300 Swainson's are now roosting at the date farm. Twenty-four TV's are in the area as well.

The windy conditions now should diminish by early morning. Expect 250-300 Swainsons's Hawks to migrate tomorrow from the date farm. Lift-off should be between 8:45A and 9:45A. Earlier if the wind persists. A good location to view the lift-off is at the evening site on Borrego Valley Rd. Also, from the junction of Big Horn and Di Giorgio Rd. The day site on Di Giorgio also provides a view.

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