Since I'm going to feature a Beyond Bounds photo on New Year's Eve, today's my day for assessing the past year and dreaming of the future.
What was the best of 2009? What can we expect in 2010?
2009 had many favorite moments:
- January brought thousands of white-winged crossbills to Pittsburgh, a treat to see this northern finch at home.
- Peregrine nesting season, March through June, brought many highs and a couple of lows. Four successful nests fledged a total of 12 birds from Gulf Tower, Pitt, Monaca and McKees Rocks. Sadly two of the young peregrines died: one at the airport, the other on a rooftop.
- In May Budgie taught me a valuable lesson about freedom.
- In September pigeons made me laugh.
- All year long the city's wildlife amazed me. I saw a toad, groundhogs, raccoons, a red fox and on December 18th a 10-point buck chasing two does around Carnegie-Mellon's intramural field at the corner of Forbes and Margaret Morrison.
- This month Dan Yagusic identified a new peregrine pair at Tarentum. J commented that if this new male's identity holds it means Pittsburgh's peregrines are continuing their dynasty: Erie at Pitt, his son Louie at Gulf, Louie's son E2 at Pitt and now E2's son at Tarentum.
- Tomorrow the year will close with a Blue Moon, a parting gesture to 2009.
What can we expect in 2010?
- January: Snow and cold, snow buntings and horned larks, short-eared owls and maybe a snowy owl.
- February: The least bird-y month in southwestern Pennsylvania. Fortunately it's a short month.
- March: Blackbirds and grackles return, coltsfoot blooms, peregrines lay eggs. Hope for 5 peregrine nests in 2010.
- April and May: Spring flowers and spring migration capped by the arrival of warblers.
- June: Nests everywhere, peregrine nestlings fledge.
- July and August: Hot weather, butterflies and moths, field flowers, fall migration begins.
- September: Chimney swifts leave, thrushes pass through, hawk watches begin.
- October: Fall colors, ducks migrate, the crows arrive.
- November: Overcast skies, first snow, tundra swans pass through.
- December: Winter solstice, huge flocks of robins, starlings and crows, Christmas Bird Counts.
Do you have favorites of 2009? Expectations for 2010? Leave a comment with your answers.
And have a happy, healthy new year.
(photo of the moon by Chuck Tague which he retouched to make it blue.)