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Hawks and more at Anza Borrego

We drove over to Anza Borrego for the weekend. The early Saturday report from Hal Cohen said 511 Swainson's had landed on Friday night, so we were excited to see what was happening. We drove straight to the viewing site on Borrego Valley Rd, arrived by 9am and were rewarded by a sky filled with departing hawks. Some of them were right above the road, maybe on 20 or 30 feet high. We had never seen the Swainson's so close, and there were kettles of them on all sides, some high, some low. Probably close to 200 taking off. They were all gone by 9:30, and Hal told us that approx. 2/3 of the hawks from Friday night had left. We said we'd be back for the evening show and drove south to Hawk Valley, where we had seen a Prairie Falcon the year before. We got lucky and saw an adult, plus a juvie falcon. And a Rock Wren for good measure.

The flowers were very good, but not as amazing as two years ago. Some of them are running late this year because of the evenly spaced rain. They've had rain every month of the winter season. And some of the migrant birds are running late as well, but we still saw plenty of good stuff.

A Word of Warning:
Sunday morning we hiked some of the trails down by Tamarisk Grove. Because of the rain, some of the trails have been crowded by shrubs and ground cover, as well as by flowers. We were hiking the Yaqui Well trail, and parts of it were narrowed by the growth. Fortunately, I was looking down at the ground and spotted a rattlesnake in the bushes next to the trail a few feet ahead of me. It had its head raised, looking at me, since I'm not the quietest hiker. I shouted "Snake," to warn Laurel behind me, as well as another couple coming in the other direction. It dropped down and started to crawl away from the trail, and Laurel pounded her tripod on the ground, which sped it up. It had four segments on its tail. Once we got home, we looked it up, and it was a Red Diamond Rattlesnake less than two feet long.

We saw another animal we'd never seen which was far less alarming, a type of squirrel that looks a little like a chipmunk called a white-tailed antelope squirrel.

Here's the full list

Swainson’s Hawk (100-200)

White-winged Dove

Prairie Falcon (1 adult, 1 juvie)

Rock Wren

Greater Roadrunner

Common Ground Dove

Black-tailed Gnatcatcher

Lesser Goldfinch

Phainopepla (9)

Lawrence’s Goldfinch (4)

Yellow-rumped Warbler

White-crowned Sparrow (everywhere)

Northern Mockingbird

Common Raven (everywhere)

Turkey Vulture

Loggerhead Shrike

Great-tailed Grackle

American Coot

Ruddy Duck

Mallard

Great Egret

White-fronted Goose

Double-crested Cormorant

Orange-crowned Warbler

White-throated Swift

American Wigeon

Red-tailed Hawk

American Kestrel

 

Red Diamond Rattlesnake

White-tailed Antelope Squirrel

Vic Warren and Laurel Scott
Mission Valley

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports