Wednesday, April 3, 2013

March Comparisons-April 3, 2013

Laura Webb
Assisted by:
Pam Albers, Wes Hetrick, Joe Hopkins

Migration Today:

Once again a 0 day for migration. So far we have no explanation for the lack of hawks lately. The watchers did see a Prairie Falcon, a non migrant.

Below is a look at a comparison of March Swainson's Hawk numbers. You can access all of the count records for the past 11 years at Hit Monthly Summaries and scroll down to Borrego Valley Hawkwatch.

Year              Swainson's Hawks Numbers
2004              3909              
2005              2191
2006              1096
2007              2113
2008              4683
2009              1552
2010              2601
2011              6252
2012              4147
2013              3070

The average number of Swainson's Hawks observed during the 10 full spring counts in March is 3161. This year we are just under the average number (3070 counted this year). This year (2013) is ranked 5 out of the 10 years.

Looking at April, we have had some nice early April counts. In our partial first year of counting, a large tornado of hawks was observed the evening of April 4th. This was our first observation of an evening group coming in to roost. I had happened to be roaming around the valley and was on my way home just after the sun went down. On Di Giorgio Rd close to the Fun Farm road I looked east and was astounded to see a tornado of hawks. After years of experience counting I now believe it numbered around 800-1000. I followed the hawks until it was dark. They moved in a northwest direction toward Coyote Canyon. Some of the hawks appeared to continue into the canyon. I put out a notice to friends in the area and we went out early on April 5th in search of the hawks. We could not locate any hawks in trees or on the ground. We went to Henderson Canyon Rd and Borrego Springs Road and just waited there. By 9A hundreds of hawks streamed overhead. Our final count was  far below the number I believe I observed the evening before.

Other big April Swainson's Counts include:
2003-April 4-204; April 5-595; April 6-186; April 7-186
2011-April 4-592; April 6-381; April 8-105; April 10-150; April 14-144
2012-April 4-102; April 8-247; April 9-85

Evening Watch:
13 TV's flew in to Ellis from the north. No Swainson's Hawk were counted this evening.

What we want to see in the next few days-HC

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