Feb 02 2009

Groundhog Day or What to Look For in Early February

Published by at 3:04 pm under Phenology

Punxsutawney Phil, Groundhog (photo from his very own website)It's Groundhog Day, the mid-point of winter and a very special time in western Pennsylvania when a rodent named Punxsutawney Phil comes out at dawn and tells us what to expect outdoors for the next six weeks.  He saw his shadow today so - as the legend goes - there will be six more weeks of winter.  We believe it.

Chuck Tague's prediction is much more detailed and was ready online before Phil woke up:  a western Pennsylvania phenology for early February.

Here's a hint of what Chuck says to look for outdoors in the coming weeks.  Click here for his full report.

  • We'll have snow and ice, quick thaws and flooding.
  • The bird population is at its annual low, but don't despair...
  • When the Great Lakes freeze we'll see more gulls and waterfowl on Pittsburgh's rivers.
  • Peregrines start courting this month!  (my own addition to the list.)
  • Bald eagles and great-horned owls are on eggs now.  Watch an eagle on her nest at the Friends of Blackwater NWR Eagle cam.
  • Watch for animal tracks in the snow.  You'll be able to see where they go.
  • And if you're lucky, by a creek in the woods you'll see pepper on the snow.  They're springtails, nicknamed "snow fleas."  They're not related to fleas; they're just that small.

(photo of Punxsutawney Phil from his very own website.  Click on Phil's picture to read all about the Groundhog Day celebrations in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania - 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.)

One response so far

One Response to “Groundhog Day or What to Look For in Early February”

  1. John Briggson 04 Feb 2009 at 2:25 pm

    At least Punxsutawney Phil did not bite anyone such as Chuck from Staten Island did. He bit the mayor of NYC.

    I used to watch WQED when I lived in Zelienople, PA. I watch the station when I come back home for visits.

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