People-bees buzz Anza-Borrego superbloom

Amber and Chris Marovich left La Jolla at 4 a.m. Their reward was a morning view Saturday of the “superbloom” at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

Swainson’s Hawks fill the sky above Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Photo by David Nevett

With their border collie mix Captain, the San Diegans beat the traffic on S22 — the main highway to Borrego Springs.

They took selfies amid the desert sunflowers in Henderson Canyon, whose access road was scented by orange blossoms of a thick orchard.

Times of San Diego avoided the S22 traffic by taking Interstate 8 to Highway 79 to Julian and then Highway 78 east to S3, where traffic was minimal and access from the south to Borrego was unimpeded. The trip from La Mesa took just under 2 hours.

Not all visitors flocked for the flowers, however.

Summoned via email by birder Hal Cohen, a group saw thousands of Swainson’s Hawks.

“Liftoff was somewhere around 9:15 with what we were estimating to be about 800 birds in three kettles, all real close to each other,” Mark Stratton reported on the San Diego Region Birding feed. “It was awesome. When the birds went streaming off, we followed and had them right over our heads.”

His view was from the end of DiGorgio Road.

“As our birds flew out through the canyon, others appeared from the east [bringing] our total to as many as maybe 1,000 to 1,200,” he wrote.

Anza-Borrego birders include (from left) Rose Leong, Hal Cohen and Jan Nevett. Photo by David Nevett

Stratton said still others were seen.

“Every time a kettle streamed away, another appeared,” he said. Incredible day. At the end of it all, I believe the count was 3,713 total.”

Another post said: “Carloads of flower-seekers stopped along the sides of the road to ask what we were looking at, and when we explained they all temporarily suspended their flower searches and got out of their vehicles to similarly take in the majesty of the migration.”

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