Monday, April 18, 2016

April 6-Nice Looks at Migrating Swainson's Hawks-The Season Has Come To An End

April 6-Laura Webb assisted by Hal Cohen
April 7-No Count
April 8-No Count
April 9-Hal Cohen assisted by Herb Stone, Judy Davis, Tom Antel
April 10-Steve Bier
April 11-Steve Bier assisted by Hal Cohen
April 12-Hal Cohen
April 13-Laura Webb assisted by Hal Cohen and Steve Bier
April 14-Bob Theriault assisted by Steve Bier
April 15-Steve Bier

April 6-Swainson's Hawks-94
April 7-No Count
April 8-No Count
April 9-Swainson's Hawks-63
April 10-Swainson's Hawks-61; Turkey Vultures-21
April 11-Swainson's Hawks-34
April 12-Swainson's Hawks-219
April 13-Swainson's Hawks-45
April 14-Turkey Vultures-10
April 15-Swainson's Hawk-1

The season has come to a close! From April 6-10th we had lots of hawks on the ground near the new site. I drove .6 miles into Coyote Canyon and stopped at Coyote Creek, walked up a dune and watched as several small kettles of hawks formed and streamed above. This was a great spot to look NW up the canyon. I also watched as a few hawks flew in from Clark Valley near Butler Canyon. We need to work on landmarks of the mountains to the north. April 13 became a defining day as number 8,903 flew past us. The record number of hawks set in 2011 was broken. At the end of the day our tally for the season stands at 8,916. With an additional 1 hawk on the last day, we ended up with 8,917 Swainson's Hawks. Of interest, our Turkey Vulture number declined to it's lowest in 14 years at 148. Red-tailed Hawks all but disappeared as a migrant tallying only 1 for the season. Other raptors: Osprey-3; Red-shouldered Hawk-1; Prairie Falcon-1; White-tailed Kite-1; Zone-tailed Hawk-1.
A full summary will be available next year at Hawk Migration Association of North America.

Here are some of the you tubes taken during the season. Also included is the CBS-8 San Diego special and Huffington Post article. Feeding on Caterpillars. Last Kettle of the Season Coming to Roost CBS Huffington

Here are answers to questions that have been submitted:
1.       1. Why do you count the hawks? The short answer, to understand the status of hawks and other bird species. Counts yield information about the health of the population. Trends upward or downward often tell us if a population is rising or dwindling. Swainson's Hawks in northern California suffered greatly from pesticides in Argentina. By watching the population trends an alarm went off and action was taken.
2. When do the Swainson's Hawks migrate? Fall migration takes place from September through November. Spring migration is from February through May. 
3. Where do the hawks come from? Where are they going? Our hawks spend winter in Mexico, Colombia and points south to Argentina, southern Brazil and Uruguay.They breed in summer in most of the plains states including Canada and as far north as Alaska.
4. How far do they fly in a day? Anywhere from 80-150 miles
5. Where do they spend the next night? Our hawks probably spend the next night around 100 miles north and north east of Borrego Springs. 

Dark Morph Swainson's Hawk-James Morris

Light Intermediate Female-James Morris

SW-Jonathan Kwan
Subadult Light Morph Swainson's Hawk-Jonathan Kwan
Dark Morph SW on a wire-unusual-Martin Fletcher

Dark Morph-Jonathan Kwan

Adult Male Light Swainson's Haw-Judy Davis
Andy the Anna's Hummer-Our Mascot-At The Evening Site Every Day-Hal Cohen

Thanks to all of our leaders and assistants for a wonderful season. Also thanks to Jim Dice and Bob Theriault for assisting with data entry. Thanks to Gina Moran (Sr. Environmental Scientist-Anza-Borrego State Park) for coordinating meetings and our new site development. Thanks to Ashley Kvitek for her help updating our brochure. Many thanks to all of the photographers that shared wonderful photos.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

March 29-April 5, 2016-We Still Have Some Hawks Coming In-However Unpredictable

March 29-Steve Bier assisted by Wes Hetrick
March 30-Laura Webb assisted by Hal Cohen
March 31-Bob Theriault
April 1-Herb STone
April 2-Dan Mayka Jr. assisted by Hal Cohen
April 3-Hal Cohen
April 4-Herb Stone assisted by Tommy Antel
April 5-Hal Cohen assisted by Tommy Antel

March 29-51 Swainson's Hawks
March 30-14 Swainson's Hawks
March 31-24 Turkey Vultures
April 1-22 Swainson's Hawks
April 2-3 Swainson's Hawks
April 3-0
April 4-88 Swainson's Hawks; 1 Turkey Vulture
April 5-217 Swainson's Hawks

We discovered a new area for feeding north and east of the new watch site at the end of DiGiorgio Rd. For 3 days beginning April 3 we have found SW's on the ground and creosote bushes. Today April 5, several kettles formed around 9am. and over 200 SW's migrated. There were over 20 still on the ground at 11am.

Evening Watch:
This evening I went to the new site at the end of DiGiorgio Rd and found several hawks to the east feeding on something? Without disturbing the hawks we may not know what the food is. I counted around 20 on the ground and another 15 coming in from ? So anyone interested in seeing a lift-off, tomorrow at the new site 4.6 miles north of Palm Canyon Drive on DiGiorgio Rd is the place.

Tomorrow wind should be calm to light so the hawks on the ground probably won't take off until 9a.m or later. The best place to view the hawks is at the end of DiGiorgio Rd. 4.6 miles north of Palm Canyon Dr. The raised mound is perfect for viewing the hawks. There is a portable washroom there as well.

Hal Cohen-SW

Ernie Cowan-Rufous Morph Swainson's Hawk

Iris Kirkpatrick-SW
James Morris-SW