Feb 02 2009
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.)