[All photographs copyright, Gary Nunn 2012] – While searching for migrant buntings at the Tijuana River Valley Community Garden, just off Hollister St. and Sunset Ave., a shout came from Paul Lehman a few allotments behind me and he pointed out a juvenile Swainson’s Hawk Buteo swainsoni headed my way. Nicely done! It was about 8:45 AM, the morning had really begun warming up, and the hawk was quartering around buoyantly, in typical dihedral manner, and was headed south towards me at low elevation.
The Swainson’s Hawk came flying over the weed field west of the community garden where it was set upon by a horde of American Crow, some more daring than others! Lucky for me the harassment party steered it away from the riparian areas, right on cue, and back directly over my head toward more open country to the east.
Swainson’s Hawk is a rare fall migrant with perhaps only one or two recorded each year here in San Diego County along the coastal belt. There are however growing numbers that now stage in the east county Borrego Valley on spring migration, lifting off there in the mornings to continue migration to northern grasslands. By all accounts a notable sighting here in the Tijuana River Valley.