Monthly Archives: March 2014

Swainson’s Hawk 3-28-14

Swainson's Hawk over Jacumba 3-29-14

Swainson’s Hawk over Jacumba 3-29-14

Swainson's Hawk

Swainson’s Hawk

Swainson's Hawk

Swainson’s Hawk

This raptor, Swainson’s Hawk, migrates each year from its summering and breeding grounds in  northern British Columbia and central Alberta to Brazil and Argentina – a migration of up to 12,000-14,000 miles.  They accomplish this long migration twice a year by riding air currents up to a high elevation and then gliding as far as they can.  The ride up is practically free, the ride down is free.  So they roost at night and rise in the morning with the first thermals – often grouping up with turkey vultures – and taking an elevator ride up.

These birds stream through San Diego County in large numbers – up to 600 or more being seen in Borrego Springs in one day.  Borrego Springs has the highest number of Swainson’s hawk sightings in the US. The flight path that takes them to Borrego is not entirely understood, but its likely that Jacumba is in their general flight path. I suspect that this species is a regular visitor that arrives silently in small numbers in the late afternoon/early evening and has just not been noticed. I do not know if there are any older records for Jacumba, but I found none in a quick search.

Swainson’s once were considered a common breeding species in San Diego County. There are records of breeding (summer residents) from 1877 and up to the early 20th century.

Trent Stanley noticed this bird flying low over my backyard at 7:15 pm on the 28th.  The last bit of twilight was all that lit up the hawk, but the view through binoculars said Swainson’s hawk.  We searched a bit for it, but it was too dark to see much.

The next morning at 9:00 we saw the hawk join the kettle of turkey vultures and take a free elevator ride up to gliding altitude.

 

Also……

Black-chinned Hummingbird 3-24-14

Black-chinned Hummingbird 3-24-14

Black-chinned Hummingbird 3-24-14

Black-chinned Hummingbird 3-24-14

Here we have an odd-looking black-chinned hummingbird.  The white outer tail feathers and white secondaries are unusual.

 

 

 

Migrants Arrive in Force 3/23/14

Costa's Hummingbird

Costa’s Hummingbird

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Black-chinned Hummingbird

 

Anna's Hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird

 

Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

Besides the Calliope Hummingbird that showed up on March 8, I’ve had Rufous, Allen’s Costa’s and a few Black-chinned Hummingbirds at the feeders in my backyard. This represents all of the species that we usually get in San Diego County.  Rare but possible is the Broad-billed Hummingbird from Arizona.   Long shots are the Lucifer or Magnificent Hummingbirds.  The reader may navigate to my SmugMug account and navigate to my hummingbird gallery.

Link to Hummers and SE Arizona Birds

Hooded Oriole - female

Hooded Oriole – female

 

Bullock's Oriole - adult male

Bullock’s Oriole – adult male

Bullock's Oriole - female

Bullock’s Oriole – female

Hooded Oriole - first summer male

Hooded Oriole – first summer male

Scott's Oriole - female

Scott’s Oriole – female

Scott's Oriole - adult male

Scott’s Oriole – adult male

Hooded Orioles - adult males

Hooded Orioles – adult males

This week I’ve had a constant parade of orioles – hooded and Bullock’s migrants as well as the resident Scott’s – visiting my orange and hummingbird feeders.  Almost like Madera Canyon in SE Arizona.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calliope Hummingbird 3-8-14

Calliope Hummingbird

 

Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird

This bird was not on my radar. Usually seen along the coast in small numbers from mid-april through early May, I was not expecting this small hummingbird at all. Better, this is a very early date for this species.  They do not spend the winter in any place close.  Paul Lehman told me that they are seen at feeders in the Imperial Valley, so an individual at Jacumba is not amazingly unusual.

 

Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird

Last week I had a black-chinned hummingbird at my feeder, another very early hummer.

Some other decent birds seen in the last couple of days.

Female Scott's Oriole

Female Scott’s Oriole

Scott's Oriole - adult male

Scott’s Oriole – adult male

 

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Yellow-headed Blackbird

 

Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher

 

Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher

 

Tricolored Blackbird

Tricolored Blackbird

 

Sagebrush Lizard

Sagebrush Lizard