Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Few Raptors Tuesday February 26, 2013

Migration Today:
Swainson's Hawks-3
Turkey Vultures-10

Today the sky was very clear. The first lift off was at 8:25A with a single Harrier. The SW's began to kettle up at 8:50A. Seven TV's joined the SW's. They all appeared to have roosted at the Date Farm or Roadrunner. 

The "Hill" pictured below is the official count site just south of Henderson Canyon Road and Di Giorgio Road. For two years now we have not had it plowed up. It still provides us with a slight rise in the surrounding area. 

Evening Watch:
No raptors observed migrating into the valley this evening.

Hopefully some raptors have entered the valley unannounced. The wind should be light tomorrow with warming temperatures.

The "Hill" on Di Giorgio Road-HC

Monday, February 25, 2013

No Raptors Today-February 25, 2013

Migration Today:

A clear day with calm to very light wind and no raptors. I have included a photo of a perched Swainson's from yesterday.
Very dark morph Swainson's Hawk-2/24/13-HC

Evening Watch:
No incoming raptors were observed this evening.

The weather should remain warm (70's) with light wind. Any migrating raptors will probably arrive late as we did not detect any incoming hawks this evening.  We continue to observe resident TV's in front of the Roadrunner Club. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Early Lift Off Today-Sunday Feb. 24, 2013

Migration Today:
84 Swainson's Hawks
6 Turkey Vultures

The windy conditions prompted us to get out before 7A. Before 8A most of the Swainson's Hawks were on the move. All of the hawks migrated up Palm Canyon. They kettled up very high before departing. Most of the SW's roosted at or near the Pekoff  Farm in Tamarisks on Borrego Springs Rd The blog you are reading was prepared at 6:30P on Feb 24. It probably won't be delivered until tomorrow Feb 25th.

If you want alert updates either bookmark this blog and go to it each evening or you can get the ALERT email by sending me your email address. The ALERT will be posted when we have significant numbers of hawks coming into roost in the evening. If  you are on the ALERT list you will automatically get the email. The ALERT will be just  a simple note without photo's or details.

Evening Watch:
No apparent migrants this evening. We did have around 6 TV's observed in the Roadrunner Club, probably local birds. 

Wind will be light tomorrow. If we do have a migration it will occur around 9AM. Check in at the day count site for more information.

Swainson's Hawk Intermediate Morph-2/24/13-HC

Saturday, February 23, 2013

First Big Migration Tonight February 23, 2013

Migration Today:
Turkey Vultures-12

The TV's began to kettle up at 9:00A. A few small kettles formed and all TV's flew NW and exited the valley through Coyote Canyon. An Osprey was spotted to the North and also left the valley by way of Coyote Canyon.

Evening Watch:
At least 65 Swainson's Hawks were observed but the roost site was not determined. Twenty or more TV's also were spotted.

If the windy conditions persist in the early morning, the Swainson's Hawks will depart somewhere between 7 and 8A. If the winds die down tonight and tomorrow they will depart between 8 and 9A. The best site to watch the migration will probably be at the day watch just south of Henderson Canyon Rd on Di Giorgio Rd. Usually the number counted in the evening is less than the hawks spotted the following day.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Raptors Observed February 19-22nd 2013

Where are the Swainson's? That's a question some folks have been posing. Reports from the Mexican border area near Holtville and also closer near Brawley suggest that the Swainson's are beginning to move through the area but not into Borrego Valley. Turkey Vultures have shown up in numbers however. For the period February 19-22nd we have counted 54 TV's and only 1 Swainson's Hawk. A few flying ants have been reported. Above is a photo of a Swainson's Hawk grabbing an ant (or copulating ants) in the air. In past years when ants are present, we often see a number of hawks "kiting and hovering" as they reach out for the tasty ants. The Swainson's Hawks will face into the wind to stay motionless similar to flying a kite. Or the SW's will beat their wings with short rapid strokes to remain in one spot (hovering). Kestrels will often be observed hovering over fields in search of insects and small rodents

Evening Watch Friday February 22, 2013-23 Turkey Vultures-unknown roost site
Prediction For Tomorrow: The weather should remain clear with light wind. The vultures will probably depart the valley between 9 and 9:30A.

A Swainson's Hawk Feeding on Flying Ants-Dennis Morrison

Monday, February 18, 2013

Borrego Valley Hawkwatch February 15-18, 2013

The season officially got off the ground with the 1st evening watch February 14. The evening watch site is located on Borrego Valley Rd. The count is made the following day from "the hill" on Di Giorgio Road just south of Henderson Canyon Road.
Evening Watch February 14:2 TV's and 20 flyby Canada Geese.
Migration February 15-2 TV's and 1 Red-tailed Hawk
Evening Watch February 15:3 TV's, the geese again, Western Bluebirds, 1 Cooper's Hawk and 2 Kestrels
Migration February 16:0
Evening Watch February 16:No raptors observed
Migration February 17:6 TV's, 1 Red-tailed Hawk
Evening Watch February 17:8 Turkey Vultures & 1 unidentified buteo
Migration February 18:8 Swainson's Hawks and 44 Turkey Vultures
Discussion: Our first day with migrating Swainson's Hawks since our opening Feb. 15. On Monday Feb 18 the SW's lifted off at 9:05A from an area near Bill Wrights Fun Farm just north of The Springs RV Park on Di Giorgio Rd. The TV's arrived in the same area at 10A probably from a roost site to the south of the Fun Farm. A kettle of 34 TV's was spotted at 10A followed by 10 additional TV's by 10:45A. The TV's remained in the area for almost an hour before departing near Coyote Canyon.
Evening Watch February 18: 7 TV's were spotted going into the Roadrunner Club.

                                                                Turkey Vulture-HC

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Hawk Season Begins Tomorrow 2/15/13

The Hawkwatch is located in Borrego Springs, CA

Tonight we will begin watching for incoming Swainson's Hawks and Turkey Vultures. The evening site is located on Borrego Valley Road, 1.8 miles north of Palm Canyon Drive. From Christmas Circle drive east 1 1/2 miles on S-22 (Palm Canyon Drive) to a 4 way stop at the elementary school. Turn left on Borrego Valley Road and drive the 1.8 miles to the dune on the right side of the road. Hawkwatchers will be at the site about 1 hour before sunset, around 4PM this evening. Our watch site is unique, with hawks flying in, roosting and departing the following day.

The official count takes place at the morning site. To reach the morning site take Palm Canyon Drive east 1/2 mile from Christmas Circle to Di Giorgio Rd. Turn left (north) and drive 2.8 miles to the morning site. The "Hill" is located on the east side of  the road. We meet every day beginning February 15 through April 15th at 8A. Most often the hawks and vultures depart the valley around 9A on days without wind. As the season progresses and we have a time change, so does the flight. On windy days the hawks will fly just after sun rise.

You can access information about the site and data for the past 11 seasons at Hawkcount.org.  We began the watch in 2003. To see past data for our watch and most hawkwatches across North America, scroll to a site or look at the map. For our watch scroll to Borrego Valley Hawkwatch. Hit monthly summaries and take a look at the data. Most of our big hawk days occur in Mid-March to early April. However we have had February and early March big days as well.

I will blog most evenings and will include photo's as they become available. If we have hundreds of hawks descending into the valley to roost, I will put post an alert. This will give watchers an opportunity to come out early the next morning to view the splendor of  hawks kettling up for the flight north.

Friday, February 8, 2013

First sighting of a Swainson's Hawk Today 2/8/13

The hawk season has now begun! The first Swainson's Hawk was observed by Mark Jorgensen and Herb Stone as they sipped coffee at Calico's. Joe Hopkins had several TV's a few days ago. As soon as I can access my photo's (I have a new computer as of today), the blog with photo's will be up and running.