Thursday, April 16, 2015

The End of The Season-Last Blog-April 11-15, 20

April 11-Laura
April 12-Herb
April 13-Herb
April 14-Hal
April 15-No Count-End of the Season

April-11-1 Swainson's Hawk; 14 Turkey Vultures
April 12-3 SW's
April 13-1 SW; 1 TV
April 14-O
April 15-No Count

The season is now officially over. Swainson's Hawks and Turkey Vulture will continue to trickle through the valley until late May. This season was marked by remarkable feeding behavior due to the huge number of caterpillars available. Daily for over 3 weeks we encountered huge numbers of SW's that foraged on the caterpillars. Unfortunately the location of most of the feeding took place in a rather remote area east of the airport. This season is ranked 3rd of 13 years of data gathering. As the end of this season approached we thought we would end up in second place. However we fell short by just over 100 hawks.

Totals For The Season:
Swainson's Hawks-5269-Third highest count in 13 years
Turkey Vultures-248-lowest count in 13 years
Northern Harrier-1
Red-tailed Hawk-5
Peregrine Falcon-1
Prairie Falcon-1
Unknown Buteo-1
Unknown Raptors-4

Those Folks that volunteered to help at the watch-A special thanks: 
Herb Stone
Judy Davis
Steve Bier
Laura Webb
Joe Hopkins
Hal Cohen
Wes Hetrick
Rose Leong
Pam Albers
Tommy Antel
Richard Yates
Gary Hilton
Bob Theriault
Ashley Kvitek
Also, our thanks to Anza Borrego Foundation for support and all the folks that came out to appreciate the hawks.

A few photo's from this year as well as previous years.
Dark Morph-HC

3 Swainson's Hawks-Morphs-HC

Rufous with Twig-Iris Kilpatrick

Intermediate Morph-
Don Endicott
Evening Watch-HC
Captured Swainson's Hawk-HC

Handsome Dude-HC

Rufous SW-HC

White-Lined Sphinx Moth in Motion-Robin Roberts-Idyllwild
The End of the Season-HC

Friday, April 10, 2015

Season Slowdown With Some Surprise Feeding Hawks-April 4-10, 2015

April 4-Hal
April 5-Herb
April 6-Herb
April 7-Steve
April 8-Laura
April 9-Hal
April 10-Hal

April 4-3 SW's
April 5-6 SW's
April 6-0
April 7-11 SW's
April 8-1 SW; 12 TV's
April 9-1 SW
April 10-3 SW's

Looks like the season is winding down quickly. Although very few Swainson's Hawks are migrating, it is apparent that feeding behavior continues. Daily now we see hawks on the ground east of the hawkwatch near Peg Leg (S-22). This evening-Friday April 10 perhaps more than 20 hawks were observed in the same area above. Evidently hawks are still moving through the valley and some are stopping for the night. Around 9A in the morning hawks begin to kettle up to aerial feed. Flying ants and dragonflies are in the valley. Unfortunately the food supply is located far to the east of the hawk count site. Below are some shots through the season. Next week I will compile the season totals and add some of Iris Kilpatrick's great Shots.

Our Landmarks-Wes Hetrick

Great Kettle-HC

Coming in to Roost-HC

Evening Touchdown-HC

Sphinx Moth Caterpillars-HC
Falcon in a Tree-?

Friday, April 3, 2015

A Marvelous Finish of the Feeding Season-March 28-April 3, 2015

March 28-Pam
March 29-Pam
March 30-Herb
March 31-Steve
April 1-Laura
April 2-Bob
April 3-Hal

March 28-526 Swainson's Hawks; 4 TV's (Turkey Vultures)
March 29-162 Swainson's Hawks; 1 Red-tailed Hawk
March 30-36 Swainson's Hawks; 1 TV
March 31-26 Swainson's Hawks
April 1-3 Swainson's Hawks ; 1 TV
April 2-48 Swainson's Hawks; 1 Unknown Buteo
April 3-21 Swainson's Hawks

This period is marked by the end of caterpillar feeding and the return of the typical pattern of migration. On Saturday March 28, hundreds of Swainson's Hawks rose from the feeding grounds to migrate very close to the count site. The following day saw the final chapter of the feeding hawks. They once again ringed up and migrated near the count site. On Sunday March 29th a group of hawks dropped into the Date Farm in the evening. In most years this is the migration pattern. That is, we wait patiently for hawks to arrive in the evening-dropping from the sky. A small number of hawks continue to enter the valley on a daily basis now. We anticipate a few more big days, with hawks that have migrated from as far as Argentina. On Friday April 3rd we had lots of aerial feeding, probably on flying ants. As of today this years count is the third highest in 13 years.
The Evening Watch-Tommy Antel

Set Wings for Streaming Migration-HC

Hawks Beginning to Kettle-Indian Head in the background

Female Light Morph-Johnathan


Large March Kettle-HC

Intermediate SW-Peter Thomas

Dark or probably Intermediate-HC

Good Looking Turkey Vulture-Gary Hilton
Intermediate-Terry Hunefeld