Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Very Windy and Few Hawks Migrating-Monday March 28, 2016

Saturday March 26-Hal Cohen assisted by Austin Stokes, Wes Hetrick and Rose Leong
Sunday March 27-Hal Cohen assisted by Austin Stokes, Wes Hetrick and Rose Leong
Monday March 28-Judy Davis assisted by Herb Stone, Wes Hetrick and Austin Stokes

Saturday March 26
     Swainson's Hawks-169
Sunday March 27
     Swainson's Hawks-9
Monday March 28
     Swainson's Hawks-18
     Turkey Vultures-5

As of today we have counted over 8,000 Swainson's Hawks that have migrated through Borrego Valley. This marks the second year since our inception, 2003,  that over 8,000 hawks have been tallied.
On March 27 we discovered hawks feeding along S22 at mile marker 30. They were again there this morning (March 28).We expected a lull and sure enough it has happened. Hawks were observed in several locations in the valley but not in great numbers. The wind on Monday has created havoc for both watchers and the hawks. We searched for hawks this evening (Monday) and found only one.

Below are some interesting shots taken of other raptor species seen in the valley recently. Also, check out the Swainson's Hawk with a snake at the evening site.

I was asked for a map of the locations we mention in the blog. We will work on it. Here are the sites mentioned:
A. Evening Site-About 1.5 miles north of Palm Canyon Drive on Borrego Valley Rd is the "Date Farm" The farm now called Evans Ranch is fronted by palm trees. There are dates in the middle. It's the Eucalyptus Trees that attract the hawks for roosting.
B. The Old Day Count Site-About 2.5 miles north of Palm Canyon Drive on DiGiorgio Rd is the "Old Day Count Site". It's a mound on the east side of the road. It's a few hundred yards south of Henderson Canyon Rd.
C. The New Day Count Site-About 4.6 miles north of Palm Canyon Drive on DiGiorgio Rd is the "New Day Count Site". It's at the end of the paved rd. However we are spending more time at the old site.
D. Potato Fields-Located east of Borrego Valley Rd/south of Henderson Canyon Rd for a few miles to the east. Some of the fields are fallow and some under production. There is a diagonal road just off of Henderson Canyon Rd. and east of Borrego Valley Rd. that runs along the potato fields. It becomes impassable after a quarter of a mile. The fields are to the south.
E. De Anza Country Club-Hawks are sometimes found in the country club. However most will feed to the east along Borrego Springs Rd. From Christmas Circle (in downtown Borrego Springs) drive about 2.5 miles north on Borrego Springs Rd. This is around 1/2 mile south of Henderson Canyon Rd.
F. Ellis Farm (now called West Coast Trees) is located on Borrego Valley Rd just south of Henderson Canyon Rd. It borders the Potato Fields. Often SW's roost in the tamarisk trees at Ellis.

 With each new post we will have a few questions that are often asked by visitors. Here are some:
1. Why do you count the hawks?
2. When do the Swainson's Hawks migrate?
3. Where do the hawks come from? Where are they going?
4. How far do they fly in a day?
5. Where do they spend the next night?
Answers next blog

Swainson's Hawk With Shovel-nosed Snake-Pete Sole

Swainson's Hawk Eating Snake-Pete Sole

Zone-tailed Hawk with Swainson's Hawk-Darren Dowell

Ferruginous Hawk-Hal Cohen

Prairie Falcon-Wes Hetrick

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