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11321SBT: Nesting Swainson's Hawk Returns

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    Apr 2, 2014
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      Howdy, County Birders,

      Just a brief update on the kingbird fallout at Marantha Road, San Benito County. This site had more than 60 kingbirds feeding on some sort of blue berry on March 29.

      Nelson Samuels and I checked out the site, yesterday and found 23 WESTERN KINGBIRDS and 6 CASSIN'S KINGBIRDS, along with robins, starlings and mockingbirds feeding on the remaining berries. Our complete checklist for Marantha Road can be found here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S17700251

      We also stopped by the Hollister Sewer Ponds and saw a nice selection of waterfowl, although nothing unusual. eBird list here:

      This evening I stopped at Marantha Road and found only 6 WESTERN KINGBIRDS. And, all of the berries are gone! That's that. 

      Elsewhere in the county, I was thrilled to see a returning SWAINSON'S HAWK today in the area where they nested last year. Last year's nest was the first, ever documented nesting of Swainson's Hawk in San Benito County. Let's hope they are successful this year as well. I am unaware of any modern day or historical records of Swainson's Hawk in April. As some folks have noted, this raptor nested for the first time in years in Santa Clara County and a few other places. Most folks seem to think they are "reclaiming" their former range. 

      About March 27, San Benito County's most famous pair of BALD EAGLES, Bob & Bernadette, probably hatched their eggs. I haven't seen the "brown heads" yet (the nest is too high), but both parents are exhibiting behavior that indicates hatching. 

      San Benito County — a Birder's Playground!
      Happy Trails,
      Debi Shearwater

      Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
      PO Box 190
      Hollister, CA 95024

      Disko Bay: Greenland, May 15-22, 2014 with Debi
      Birding Down Under: SubAntarctic Islands, November 9 - 25, 2014 with Debi