Monday, September 28, 2015

The Conclusion of Journey's California journey.... 
                                                                   South to the Border!

But with Mike's location so close to the Border, it looked like there would only be a few bearings before Journey crossed the line into Mexico..........   Yes, those words were from yesterday's post.  Well, that was not exactly how the story ended......

Yes, Mike headed back to Double Peak on Monday morning.  But Journey did not come by.  Mike surmised that those strong winds/updrafts late yesterday, might have moved Journey inland.  So Mike redirected his efforts inland and headed for Laguna Mountain which was one of the last locations of two of the teams on Zoe and Marathon (two earlier Broadwings).  North of the Mexican border, it has a long view into Mexico, and allowed cross bearings with other teams which pointed miles into Mexico.

Mike's omni antenna (roof mounted and non-directional) picked up beeps as Mike was trying to get up to Laguna Mountain, but a locked gate stopped his progress. He tried to hike up and around the gate but wasn't able to succeed.  So, Mike drove around looking for a secondary location nearby.

Mike did not send any text messages, until the very end of the day.  Tired from two long days of solo tracking, Mike was pulled over at a Starbucks trying to escape the 10 mph traffic on I-5.  In reference to the beeps, Mike texted, "That was the only word Journey had for us today, but we know he's okay and over the border.  Tell you the rest of my day, some other time......"

And so, Mike documented the end to Journey's journey from the Marin Headlands to the Mexican Border.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Thank You to all of the trackers who participated in following Journey's journey: Libby, Maxine, Bill, Ken, Mike and my husband, David (who hates telemetry).  Long hot days, pestering flies, endless traffic, cheap motels, hour after hour without a beep, beep, beep...... you have to be a little crazy to volunteer for this job!  But what a great job you all did.

And Thank You to All of the Banders who tried to provide us with a Broad-winged Hawk, especially Wednesday II Banders, and Hawk Blind in particular.  Was that you, Buzz????

Thanks for another great Broad-winged Hawk Tracking Season.           
Lynn Jesus
GGRO Radio-telemetry Program, Season Coordinator

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Mike Tracks Solo

This morning, Mike began back at Saddleback Peak and Journey was there, waiting for him. Unfortunately, Mike had to wait an hour and a half for Journey to pop up.  Mike reported that at 1015 he had a bearing of 50 degrees with the attenuator "ON"... which means that Journey was close!  Mike sent out a text message which ended with,  "Lovely as this music is, I'm leaving now for Elsinore."  He was referring to Elsinore Peak which has been a critical highpoint for us during Broad-winged Hawk tracking.  From that location you can track a bird along the Coastal Route (down through San Diego) or a bird taking the inland route (like Zoe and Marathon).

At 1405 (2:05 PM), Mike reported that he had arrived at Elsinore and had a weak signal with a steady bearing of 260 degrees.

At 1430 (2:30 PM) Mike reported that Journey had picked up speed and the bearing was 232 degrees.  "He's pealing out, post-dawdle."

At 1445 (2:45 PM) Mike updated the text,  "1445  222.  Wind 15 steady from him to me"  That was short hand for a bearing of 222 degrees with the wind 15 miles per hour coming from the west.  Mike debated with himself, whether he could make it to a more southern highpoint before Journey went down, and he decided to stay put.

At 1500 (3:00)  Mike reported a bearing of 207.  "I don't see him crossing today, but by noon tomorrow prob."

At 1530 (3:30) another bearing from Elsinore of 181!  Almost due south!  "He's high, using west-slope updraft from these strong onshore winds, now 15 - 20.

Mike, the energizer bunny, not wanting to give up for the day, sent his next text message from Double Peak, just north of San Diego.  No signal.  "In honor of the eclipse, the entire top plaza of Double Peak was full of cameras, telescopes, and convivial people.  Extra park personnel and mobs from the local college.  Wonderful scene."

(Earlier in the day, Libby had offered to drive back down south if we thought it was worth it.....Such as if Journey was still dawdling along. But with Mike's location so close to the Border, it looked like there would only be a few bearings before Journey crossed the line into Mexico, so we did not send a team down)

So Mike, solo, will document the end to Journey's journey from the Marin Headlands to the Mexican Border.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Plan for the Day......

The three teams were spread out over the Santa Barbara to LA basin.  Spread out so far, that the teams ended up in three different towns for the evening.  Libby and Ken were up by Mt. Pinos and stayed near Lebec.  Maxine and Mike drove from Figueroa Mt. towards LA and stayed in Camarillo.  And Bill stayed...... somewhere????

Saturday morning, Bill and M & M met up, and Maxine switched to Bill's team.  Mike headed up to Saddleback Peak, and Bill and Maxine headed inland and set up again, on Mt. Wilson.  Surely Journey would fly by one of these three high locations.

Once again, Libby and Ken had difficulty picking up any clear signals.  But Libby did record 2 possible bearings which came and went very quickly.  We could call it "essence of beep"!  How frustrating to be at almost 9,000 foot elevation and not hear a nice beep, beep, beep.  The view is expansive, but that only satisfies for so long.  Now, remember, Libby and Ken had driven down to Southern California yesterday morning, and now they would have to reverse direction and be back to the Bay Area by tonight because they each had events to attend on Sunday.  So, unfortunately, a little past noon the team was back on the road headed north.  Tracking Journey's journey would be left to the two remaining teams, Bill and Maxine, and Mike.

Mike, on Saddleback Peak, began picking up Journey's signal, very faint from the west. And for the next few hours, Mike recorded various bearings, indicating Journey was moving slowly eastward, but never moving past Saddleback Peak.  In the afternoon, weird noises haunted Mike, who was having trouble picking up Journey's frequency.  What was going on?

So, maybe Bill and Maxine were able to get cross-bearings on Journey.  Nope!  Bill and Maxine had a day of silence.  That made two days of silence for Bill, who is a great tracker; but with no signal to track, it was very frustrating.  After four days in the field, the exhausted  team called me and told me they were exhausted and felt they had to end their effort.  So, Bill and Maxine began to head northward, back to the Bay Area.

And then there was Mike, whom I affectionately call an Energizer Bunny.  Indeed Mike kept going.  He no longer had a signal from Journey, he no longer had support teams for cross-bearings, but he was determined to restart the following morning, back by Saddleback Peak.

Will Solo Mike be able to pick up traces of Journey, or had Journey really given everyone the slip.  Stayed tuned........

Lynn Jesus
Season Coordinator for the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory's Radio-telemetry Program

Friday, Sept. 25, 2015

Early Friday morning, Mike and Maxine headed up to Black Mountain, on the east side of Hwy 101, near San Luis Obispo.  And Bill headed back to Cuesta Ridge, just west of Hwy 101.  The two teams believed that Journey was still north of Cuesta, but there was really no way of knowing once the bird flew into the Coastal Range.  It may have settled down immediately, or it may have continued skimming through valleys.

Meanwhile, back in the Bay Area, Ken and Libby were heading out before dawn to rendezvous with Journey and the other two teams.

Bingo.....Mike and Maxine, on Black Mountain picked up Journey's bearing still to the north of Cuesta Ridge, just as planned.  A while later, they picked up a second bearing, still north of Cuesta.  Then silence.  Bill on Cuesta was in perfect position to hear Journey fly by....... but that was not to happen.  After both teams suffered through silence for more than an hour, they decided that surely Journey must have slipped by, so M & M were off to Figueroa Mt. and Bill planned to drive down from Cuesta Ridge,  head south, and go to a highpoint, when someone has picked up the signal.

Since the teams no longer had the signal on Journey, Libby an Ken decided to head to Mt. Pinos, an uber highpoint which should pick up Journey as he flies south through Santa Barbara or up through the mountains.  At least that was the plan.  Libby and Ken picked up keys to the locked mountain access and remained all day.... with only three, brief, very faint beeps, which Libby was not sure were really Journey or simply extraneous noise.

Meanwhile, back on Figueroa Peak, M & M picked up Journey's signal, stll to the north and recorded multiple bearings. Journey decided to tease the team by first being to the north, then the SE, then back to the N, etc.  Obviously Journey was close.  But time passed, and it was almost 6 PM and Journey was still moving around.  Will he ever settle down?  Will the team come down off the mountain, or become a permanent fixture.  As it turned out, it was after 10 PM when the team was able to get into a motel.  What a long day this had been!  But at least they were a team who knew they had the signal.

Oh, and Bill?  What happened to Bill?  Well, thinking that surely Journey would pick up speed, Bill was sent to Mt. Wilson (north of LA), and never heard a beep.  So, neither the sure thing on Cuesta, or the possible.... became reality.  Bill was truly a solo team.  Not even Journey would join him or tease him with a single beep...beep...beep.

But, at least we knew where Journey had spent the evening, and could plan for tomorrow, Saturday, September 26.

Kris  Releases Journey, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015
definition: journey, (jur' ni) a traveling from one place to another; trip.

Kris Vanesky and Journey, the Broad-winged Hawk
                                        Wednesday, Sept 23, 2015

Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015

Our Lean, Mean Flying Machine is off to break records.  Bill from the road to Fremont Peak picked up Journey's signal in line with Mt. Madonna.  So that means that Journey was hiding out somewhere in the ridge just south of San Jose on Wednesday night.  Bill and Maxine took bearings until it was obvious that Journey was going to head down the Hwy 101 corridor to the west, and so they headed down to Cuesta Ridge to get ahead of Journey while Mike Hall would come down 101 behind them.  As Mike was heading south, he picked up Journey's signal to the west of Hwy 101 in the mid-afternoon.  The bearing then moved to the SW indicating that Journey was still moving.  It was good knowing that Bill and Maxine were far ahead so that Journey could not sneak by their location.  However from Cuesta Ridge, the team never picked up Journey's signal, so the teams were unsure exactly how far south Journey's flight had taken him..... but they knew that Journey was still north of their location.  The plan for the following morning would put Bill back up on Cuesta Ridge and Mike and Maxine would head over to Black Mt. in order to pick up cross bearings on Journey in the morning.

Meanwhile, a third team was preparing to join the team on Friday morning.  Ken's college class meant that the team could not leave Thursday night, but rather would have to leave before dawn to get down to San Luis Obispo before Journey woke up!  What a long day that will be for the team!

Stay tuned to find out where Journey will pop up on Friday morning!

The JOURNEY Has Begun

Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015

It was a Great Day in the Headlands today.  The Hawkwatch counted more than 1,000 raptors, and the banders provided 2 Broad-winged Hawks..... well, they caught two Broadwings for us, but we could only accept one.   And so, the journey with Journey (our "J" bird) began.  Chris Briggs and Kris and Laura efficiently handled the retrieval  of Journey from Hawk Blind (thanks banders) and application of the transmitter, while David and Lynn fought morning traffic.

Of the four Broad-winged Hawks we've already followed, Journey is the only one which was determined to continue its long distance migration after release.  Libby and Maxine on Twin Peaks were kept busy all afternoon as Journey moved past their location..... somewhat slowly.  Maybe there was an early afternoon stop or a lunch or pit stop, but it looked like Journey was going to remain in SF for the first nights' Roost.  However, in the mid-afternoon their bearings started to swing to the east and then southward.

Bill, solo, was driver, and tracker, and communicator and recorder.  In otherwords, Bill wore all of the hats available.  Unfortunately, we are short on staff, so today Bill did it all.  Tomorrow, Maxine will join Bill.  

David and Lynn began at the release site, just below Hawk Hill in the parking area.  Then they set up a position near Kirby Cove, where Journey took his first break from the flight path within the trees of the cove.  Within a half hour he was again up and flying.  While keeping track of Journey, David spotted Ferrug, and multiple Broadwings, Red-shouldered Hawks, plus bunches of little Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks.  When Journey flew over the Golden Gate, the team headed southward through San Francisco to try to get ahead of him.  But, that wasn't Journey's plan.  He zipped eastward and to the Bay side of Maxine and Libby.  Oh, gee,..... we're headed to the west side.  We pulled over and took a bearing and then followed that bearing towards downtown SF.  We lost the signal, but looked up to see another Broadwing flying right overhead.... of course, it was not our Journey.  While trying to regain the signal, we pulled off into a side street and looked for a parking place, only to find Bill had beat us to the spot.  We headed on to the East Bay, with no further signals from Yerba Buena Island, or any East Bay highpoints.

Tomottow, Libby will be back to work, and Mike will be coming on.  Mike will have to wear all of the hats.... Driver, Tracker, Commnicator and Recorded because he will be working solo.

If an experienced GGRO Tracker would like to join the effort..... Just let me know.  But be quick, because by Sunday, we anticipate that Journey will be approaching the Mexican Border.  Will Journey's adventure be delayed due to weather.  Stayed tuned to hear more about this Journey.

End of Day, Sept 21, 2015

Well, banders gave it a good try and stayed out all day.... but No Bird for Us!

September 20 and 21, 2015

Well, a very hot weekend has now passed and it is Monday morning, Sept. 21.  Wow, Hawkwatchers and Banders both came off the hill early, both Saturday and Sunday.  Obviously, the Telemetry Team is still "waiting" for a Broadwing or Better. (Broad-winged Hawk, Swainson Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk or even a Rough-legged Hawk).

So, Now, on Monday morning, the weather is a little cooler and the winds should begin coming from more favorable directions.  Not all of the weather sites agree as to what will happen right here on the coast, but 16 happy banders have headed up to the blinds.

I will re-post when we have our "J" (Journey) bird.

Sept 19, 2015

Well, now the weather has turned warm.  No Broadwing or Better today.

September 2015: Broadwing or Better "Wait" Begins

September 18, 2015

Well, I've spent a few days over at 1064 trying to get everything organized so that the Telemetry Team can follow another Broad-winged Hawk to the Mexican Border.  Thanks to Maxine, Ron, Brian and Linda who helped sort through all of the equipment. So far, only a few Broadwings have been seen by Hawkwatch, but we know they will be coming in larger numbers very soon.  We had some unexpected wet weather on Wednesday, but California needs every drop it can get, and it certainly should help the large fires to our North and East.  (As a side subject, David was banding on Wednesday and picked up a female, Sharp-shinned Hawk which "smelled" smoky.  He had everyone in the blind "smell" the bird..... that was a first!)

When we begin to actually track a bird, I will update the posts daily, so that you can keep up with the progress of our subject.  Hopefully, we get a picture to post to this blog, too.

So, until I have more to post, so long.  Oh, this will be the "J" bird, and I'm favoring "Journey" unless someone else can tempt me with an even better name.