30 November 2011

Swainson's Hawks

I honestly didn't know what Swainson's Hawks did out here in California (considering I moved here from Iowa).  I figured that they were a species that essentially migrated out of the US come fall/winter.  Well, I was wrong (kind of).

I was surprised a couple of weeks ago when I stumbled on half a dozen Swainson's Hawks near Modesto in Stanislaus County.  Turns out, sources say they will rarely winter in the Central Valley of California.  Pretty nifty.

Today I was back in the same area and again saw roughly half a dozen Swainson's Hawks.  Here are some photos:

Roughly speaking, most of the SWHAs I've seen in the area were centered around Jennings Road and West Main Avenue southwest of Modesto:
View SWHA in a larger map