Saturday, February 27, 2016

Our First Week of Hawkwatching is Almost Complete-February 22-27, 2016

Monday February 22-Herb and Judy
Tuesday February 23-Steve
Wednesday February 24-Laura
Thursday February 25-Hal
Friday February 26-Herb
Saturday February 27-Rose

Monday February 22-1 Red-tailed Hawk
Tuesday February 23-1 Turkey Vulture
Wednesday February 24-O
Thursday February 25-3 Swainson's Hawks; 3 Turkey Vultures
Friday February 26-0
Saturday February 27-12 Swainson's Hawks

We are off to a slow start with hope that things will pick up soon. We did have a few raptors migrate on Feb. 25. Our first nice kettle was observed on Saturday Feb. 27 as a kettle of Swainson's Hawks developed just before 9A. It was encouraging to watch as the hawks kettled and streamed to a point west of the watch. We are still getting used to the new watch site. So far we have not lost hawks but are a bit further from the flight path. If hawks move east of our on the way out of the valley we will have an observation advantage over the old site.

Question of the day: What is a kettle and what is a stream. When enough raptors begin to circle upward in a spiral motion the form of the group is similar to a kettle. It's a far stretch but the term is used often when a group of hawks gain altitude. When the circling hawks reach a point where the bubble of heated air  (thermal) begins to thin out, they begin to fly in a straight line toward their migration direction. The hawks fan out and can easily be counted. On occasion a mass of hawks will take the shape of an undulating tornado. Usually the number of hawks that make up a tornado is more than 300. We have had tornados with more than 500 hawks!

TV Getting Ready-HC
First Swainson's Hawk Kettle of the Season-HC
Desert Lily Near the Hawkwatch-HC
Sunset from the Night Site-Laura Webb

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