Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Nice Day With Surprises

Migration Today:
Swainson's Hawks-281
Turkey Vultures-11

Clear skies with a light breeze throughout the morning. We were surprised by the number of Swainson's Hawks roosting near the day count site. Sixty plus birds perched on the ground at sunrise in the fields west of the day count site. At 8:35A 25 SW's kettled up above the cars before streaming north. Smaller groups of 4 to 5 hawks took off from Ellis Farms and the potato fields. Just after 10A a kettle of 25 SW's was observed in the gap between San Ysidro and Indian Head. Several other SW's kettles came in from the east swelling this new group to 165.  

March 23, 2012-Route of a Swainson's Hawk from the border.
Recently 2 of the radioed birds mentioned in previous posts, crossed the border with Mexico (March 23rd). The map pictured here provides the route of one of the hawks. It crossed the border 2 miles east of Mexicali. It stayed over for several hours in the agriculture fields about 5 miles east of Calexico. In the afternoon it continued northwest apparently not stopping as it passed 4 miles east of El Centro, then 5 miles west of Brawley, 5 miles west of the southern tip of the Salton Sea, 13 miles east of Borrego Springs, 3 miles east of Anza and then over Hemet to finally roost near Pasadena. Hopefully I am correct in calculating the distance as over 175 miles.
This is quite interesting and impressive. Did the hawk move through Clark Valley? Or through Borrego Valley? Thirteen miles east would put the bird near Truckhaven. Get those maps out and comment.

Where near Pasadena do the hawks roost? The second hawk that passed through the border on March 23 also roosted near Pasadena. I don't have the answer. Perhaps someone has observed them near Pasadena.

Evening Watch:
We were disappointed by the low number of raptors this evening. Perhaps more surprises are awaiting us. Only 13 Swainson's and 12 TV's were observed. The SW's are roosting in the Date Farm.

Predictions for Tomorrow:
Maybe there are some late arrivals. With continued mild conditions the raptors will probably ring up around 8:30A tomorrow from the Date Farm. It is always possible that many Swainson's Hawks have roosted an hour from Borrego Valley. If so we will again have late arrivals (around 10A).                                      

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