Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Remarkable Raptor MIgration Today-701 Swainson's Hawks-Tuesday March 11, 2014

Steve Bier
Assisted by Rose,Wes, Hal, Joe, Herb, and Judy

Visitors From:
British Columbia
Seattle, WA
Portland, OR

Migration Today:
Swainson's Hawks-701
Turkey Vultures-25
Crested Caracara-1

A wonderful day to see lift-off from the Date Farm. At 9:30A hawks began to stream from the Date Farm due west, crossing DiGiorgio Rd. The stream lasted for 15 minutes. They kettled up to the west before departing through Coyote Canyon. 616 Swainson's were counted. There was very little wind so the birds moved out slowly. At 10:15A a large kettle of hawks and vultures was spotted to the south. These raptors probably roosted at La Casa Del Zorro resort. Of note, the number of Swainson's observed at this stage of the season is the highest at 1,718. The highest previous number by March 11 was 1,286 in 2011. Check out the youtube today at: http://youtu.be/OwAyAnhZ0Y4

At 10A an interesting raptor was observed flying west. It had white patches near the tip of the wings and a large white rump patch. the head appeared elongated and light. It was most likely a Caracara.

Evening Watch:
This evening 60-80 Swainson's Hawks arrived at 5:20P. They meandered about the valley until 6:10P. They finally descended into the Date Farm. Additionally a few hawks landed at Ellis Farm.

Once again the wind will be determining factor concerning lift-off. Morning wind should be light. Projected lift-off between 8:45A to 9:30A. The hawks are visible from Borrego Valley Rd. However they will probably kettle up and move northwest toward Coyote Canyon. Both Borrego Valley Rd. and DiGiorgio Rd (near Big Horn) would be good to watch the hawks.
Early morning view of perched Swainson's Hawks through a scope-3/11/14

Light, dark and intermediate morphs-3/11/14
Intermediate Morph-SW-3/11/14
Dark Morph with primaries missing-3/11/14

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