Nov 17 2008

What To Look For: Through Mid-December

Published by at 9:20 pm under Phenology

Snow bunting (photo by Chuck Tague)

Snow bunting (photo by Chuck Tague)

Nature is slowing down as winter settles in.

In every other season, nature changes so rapidly that two weeks of “what to look for” is a very long list.  But now a month of sightings will do.  Here’s a peek at what we can expect in the weeks ahead.

  • We’ve entered the time of frost, snow, ice and rime.  I remember rime last year (2007) at the Allegheny Front Hawk Watch.
  • Waterfowl are still on the move.  As lakes freeze up north more birds come our way:  tundra swans, loons, scaup, ring-necks, buffleheads, mergansers, goldeneye and ruddy ducks.
  • Gulls will come to the rivers.
  • Northern shrikes will show up at rural thickets.
  • When there’s snow on the ground, check manured fields for horned larks, lapland longspurs and snow buntings (pictured here).  They all look dull in winter to match the dull scenery.
  • Be prepared for irruptive migrants.  In November 2000 a snowy owl showed up at Duquesne University, a life bird for me!
  • Today in Pittsburgh, there will be 9 hours and 45 minutes of daylight.  A month from now – nearly the solstice – we’ll have only 9 hours and 16 minutes.  The half hour we lose will be subtracted from the morning.


(photo of a Snow Bunting by Chuck Tague)

One response so far

One Response to “What To Look For: Through Mid-December”

  1. Trinidad Regaspion 19 Nov 2015 at 10:49 am

    A nice list of things to look for. This year, things have been a bit mild so far.

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