Archive for the 'Books & Events' Category

Apr 24 2017

Reminder: Schenley Park Outing, April 30, 8am

Baltimore oriole (photo by Steve Gosser)

Just a reminder that I’m leading a bird & nature walk in Schenley Park on Sunday, April 30, 8a – 10a.  (Note the early start! 8:00am)

Meet at Bartlett Shelter on Bartlett Street near Panther Hollow Road for this joint outing with the Three Rivers Birding Club.

New birds come to town every day at the end of April so there will be plenty to see.  Dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes.  Don’t forget your binoculars!

Click here for more information and in case of cancellation.

 

p.s. I’ve already seen a Baltimore oriole in the park.  🙂

(Baltimore oriole photo by Steve Gosser)

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Apr 15 2017

The “Raptor Row” Ride, April 29

Hays bald eagle carrying nesting material, March 2015 (photo by Dana Nesiti)

Hays bald eagle carrying nesting material, March 2015 (photo by Dana Nesiti)

Watch raptors on your bike!

On 29 April 2017, the Steel Valley Trail Council (SVTC) and Three Rivers Birding Club (3RBC) will hold a bicycle ride along “Raptor Row” of the Great Allegheny Passage Trail.  It’s a celebration of the raptors who nested along the Monongahela River last spring.

Travel up and down river from Hays to Duquesne or McKeesport to see bald eagles, a great-horned owl (ARL will have a live owl on site), red-tailed hawks, ospreys and kestrels.

When:  Saturday, April 29
Where: Waterfront Town Center, 270 Bridge Street behind Starbucks.
What:  A bicycle ride on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail from Hays to Duquesne (13.5-mile round trip) or to McKeesport (this 18-mile round trip includes kestrels).  Three Rivers Birding Club members will be stationed at the raptor nest sites, many with scopes for close viewing of nests and any raptors that may be present.
How:  Costs are at the link below. VIP option has a bird guide ride with you!  If you don’t have a bike you can rent one on site from Waterfront Bike Rentals.

Click here for details and more about the raptors:

Raptor Row Ride

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Apr 02 2017

Let’s Get Outdoors in April

Published by under Books & Events

Little kids with binoculars (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Little kids with binoculars (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Spring is here so let’s get outdoors!

I missed this weekend’s outings but here’s a list for the rest of April 2017.  These free outings, held in western Pennsylvania, are offered by the Three Rivers Birding Club [3RBC], the Botanical Society of Western PA [BotSocWPA], and others.  Click on the links below for more information. (Scroll the table sideways to see the links!)

Date/TimeFocusLocationLeader and More Info
April 9, 1p (Sun)Wild plants and MushroomsCrouse Run (aka Grouse Run), Hampton Township, Allegheny CountyAdam Haritan [BotSocWPA]
April 12, 7p (Wed)BirdsHarmar Twp, Allegheny CountyEvening Woodcock Walk, Tom Byrnes [3RBC]
April 19, 7p (Wed)BirdsHarmar Twp, Allegheny CountyEvening Woodcock Walk, Tom Byrnes [3RBC]
April 22, 9:30a (Sat)BirdsRaccoon Creek State ParkBirding + potluck lunch. Ryan Tomazin [3RBC & Brooks Bird Club]
April 23, 1p (Sun)WildflowersOhiopyle State Park, Great Gorge TrailMark Bowers [BotSocWPA]
April 28, 7:30a (Fri)BirdsSewickley Heights ParkBob Van Newkirk [3RBC]
April 29, 8a (Sat)BirdsFrick ParkJack & Sue Solomon [3RBC]
April 29, 1p (Sat)WildflowersErie Bluffs ParkAndrew Sipple [BotSocWPA]
April 30, 8a (Sun)Birds and moreSchenley ParkKate St. John in conjunction with [3RBC]
April 30, 8a (Sun)BirdsRiding Meadow Park, Fox ChapelCecelia Hard [3RBC]
April 30, all day, Walks start 8am & 10am (Sun)Birds and WildflowersEnlow Fork Natural Area[Wheeling Creek Watershed] [3RBC] [BotSocWPA]

And here are four indoor meetings where you can learn about birds, flowers and magical monarch butterflies:
April 5, 7:30pm (Wed) Three Rivers Birding Club meeting: Galapagos Adventure by Jeffrey Hall
April 6, 7:30pm (Thurs) Wissahickon Nature Club meeting: Getting Started Early in the Garden by Doug Oster
April 10, 7:15pm (Mon), Botanical Society of Western PA: Wildcrafting and Growing Medicinal Herbs in Pennsylvania’s Appalachia by Michelle Soto
April 20, 7:30pm (Thurs) Wissahickon Nature Club meeting: Magical Monarchs by June Bernard

 

(photo from Wikimedia Commons; click on the image to see the original)

p.s. If you see a typo in the list, please let me know!

p.s. Click here for a list of events at Raccoon Creek State Park, organized by park staff.

 

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Mar 30 2017

Learn Warblers Online

Published by under Books & Events

Cornell Bird Academy, Be a Better Birder: Warbler ID class, April 6 - May 18, 2017

Cornell Bird Academy, Be a Better Birder: Warbler ID class, April 6 – May 18, 2017

Warbler season is coming fast.  Are you ready to identify them?  Cornell Bird Academy can help.

I’ve learned a lot from Cornell’s online resources so when I saw they’re offering a brand new live online course in Warbler Identification — including song ID! — I thought I’d pass it along.

The class will be presented by one of my favorite bird experts, Kevin McGowan.  Here’s Cornell’s description:

Starting April 6 and running through May 18, this new series is composed of seven hour-long webinars held on Thursday evenings. The first three lessons cover the diversity of warblers and the best strategies to identify them.

This is the first group we’ve covered where song is really important, and we will spend almost an entire session on using your ears to identify warblers.

Then we will examine every one of the 50 common warblers found in the United States and Canada, species by species, over the next four weeks.

Each lesson will be presented twice, once at 7:00 p.m. EDT (New York time), then again at 9:00 p.m. EDT. You can attend either session without having to choose ahead of time. And, if you miss a live talk, no problem. We will make the recording of each week’s lesson available to watch at your leisure.

We are offering all seven lessons for one low price of $69.

If you’re interested, click here to read more and sign up.

 

p.s. In March, every eligible ebird checklist you submit gives you a chance to win free access to this class. Only 2 days left to win!

(Cornell Bird Academy, Be a Better Birder: Warbler ID class, April 6 – May 18, 2017)

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Mar 21 2017

Your Wizard For Identifying Birds

 

What bird is that? Small brown birds at the feeder (photo by Marcy Cunkelman)

Small brown birds at the feeder in Indiana County, PA, early February 2014 (photo by Marcy Cunkelman)

What bird is that?

There’s a small brown bird at the feeder and there’s no one to help you identify it.

Don’t you wish you had a personal assistant to help you?

Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s free Merlin Bird ID app for Android and iPhone does just that.  Introduced in 2014, the app gets smarter every year.  It uses the simple information you already know — your location, the date and the words “small,” “brown,” and “at the bird feeder” — to narrow your choices and identify the bird.

To Identify a bird, answer 5 questions (screenshot from Merlin Bird ID app)

(screenshot from Merlin Bird ID app, Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

You can even take a picture with your cellphone and ask Merlin what it is.

Merlin’s answer is a list of the most likely suspects with photos, sounds and descriptions.  It even tells you if the bird is uncommon or rare for your date and location.  That’s one of the best clues you’ll find anywhere because an “uncommon” species in March can become “common” in May.

Watch the video below to see how Merlin works, then download the app.

Merlin’s a wizard at identifying birds!

 

p.s.  What birds are at Marcy Cunkelman’s feeder shown above?  She took the photo in Indiana County, PA, in early February 2014.

(bird photo by Marcy Cunkelman, Merlin Bird ID screenshot and video from Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

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Mar 19 2017

Gray weather at Duck Hollow today

Published by under Books & Events

Duck Hollow outing, 19 March 2017 (photo by Kate St. John)

Duck Hollow outing, 19 March 2017 (photo by Kate St. John)

Seven of us braved the chilly gray weather at Duck Hollow this morning.

We saw 23 species including two female common mergansers on the river as we were leaving.

Best Birds were three belted kingfishers — one female plus two (presumably) males who chased each other every time they got near her.

Mike Cornell kept a checklist and so did I, though we didn’t count the mallards and ring-billed gulls.

Here’s my checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S35284767

 

(photo by Kate St. John)

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Mar 18 2017

See You At Duck Hollow Tomorrow, March 19

Published by under Books & Events

Red-breasted merganser hen at Duck Hollow, March 2017 (photo by Tom Moeller)

Red-breasted merganser hen at Duck Hollow, March 2017 (photo by Tom Moeller)

Oh my!  I should have posted this last Monday.  (It’s been a busy week.)

Just a reminder that I’ll be leading an outing at Duck Hollow and Lower Frick Park tomorrow. Hope to see you there.

Sunday March 19, 2017 — 8:30am – 10:30am

Duck Hollow and Lower Frick Park Bird and Nature Walk

Meet at Duck Hollow parking lot at the end of Old Browns Hill Road. We hope to see migrating waterfowl on the river and and walk the beginning of nearby lower Nine Mile Run Trail at the south end of Frick Park. Dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. Bring binoculars, scopes (for river watching), and field guides if you have them.

(photo of a red-breasted merganser at Duck Hollow, March 2017, by Tom Moeller)

 

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Jan 13 2017

Don’t Miss This Outing, Jan 22

Published by under Books & Events

African penguin at the National Aviary (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

African penguin at the National Aviary (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

UPDATE, JAN 17: No More Reservations accepted. The tour is full.

You may have missed my announcement about the National Aviary outing on Sunday January 22 — but don’t miss the event!

It’s a private tour. Only $10!  Openings still available.  Sign-up soon!

Click here for details…

Let’s Go To The Aviary, January 22!

 

 

(photo from Wikimedia Commons. Click on the image to see the original)

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Jan 09 2017

Let’s Go To The Aviary, January 22!

Published by under Books & Events

Hyacinth macaw at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh (photo by Christopher Westfield via Wikimedia Commons)
UPDATE, JAN 17: No More Reservations accepted. The tour is full.

Let’s go birding indoors!

Join me for a guided tour of the National Aviary with Aviary docent (and Falconuts founder) John English.

When:  Sunday January 22, 10:00am to noon. Stay longer if you wish and browse on your own.

Where: The National Aviary
700 Arch Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
**  Meet at the Concierge Desk inside the East Entrance on Arch Street.  **

Who:  This outing is limited to 25 people, first come first served.  You must register by leaving a comment on this blog post by Jan 16 5pm. Include your name + email address and the names of everyone coming with you. (Note: Your information will not appear on the website. The comment will come to me alone.)

Cost: $10.00, cash or check only. (Check made out to the National Aviary.)
* For this special event, admission is free to all who’ve pre-registered.
* Add-ons: Bird shows and feedings will cost the normal rate.

Hope you can make it!  I’m looking forward to seeing you.

For directions and information about the National Aviary, see their website at www.aviary.org

Remember, reservations are required so post a comment to reserve your space today!

UPDATE, JAN 17: The tour is full!

(photo of Hyacinth Macaw at the National Aviary by Christopher Rice at Wikimedia Commons. Click on the image to see the original)

 

 

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Jan 02 2017

Reminder: Scavenger Hunt on Jan 8

Barn owl taxidermy mount in case, Carnegie Museum (photo by Kate St.John) Just a reminder that I’m holding an Scavenger Hunt outing at Carnegie Museum of Natural History on Sunday, 8 January 2017, 1:00pm to 3:00pm.

Meet me in the big hallway on the first floor between the Art and Natural History Museums at 1:00pm.  It’s the “Museum of Art Lobby” on this map.

After a brief introduction we’ll go up-and-down to the back of the 2nd floor where we’ll hunt for birds in the dioramas.

Hope to see you there.

 

Note:  If you’re not a museum member there’s a fee to get in:
Adults $19.95
Seniors (65+) $14.95
Students with ID and children 3-18 $11.95

 

Click here for admission information and here for directions.

(photo by Kate St. John)

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