Fifteen of us had a great time in Schenley Park this morning. We saw 33 species of birds including nesting Baltimore orioles and wood thrushes. The two youngest members of our group found frogs, turtles and an enormous goldfish in the lake. Wow!
We started off with a distant look at a peregrine falcon perched at the Cathedral of Learning. My guess is that we saw Hope watching over the chicks. If you were viewing the falconcam you wouldn't have seen her but she was quite close.
Three young peregrines are growing at the Gulf Tower and will fledge before you know it. It's time for Fledge Watch, May 26-30, 2017.
This year the Downtown watch will be a purely social occasion. The Gulf Tower is so tall that we don't have to worry that the young birds will land in the street. Instead we'll have a falcon fans get-together and an opportunity to educate the public about peregrines.
With that in mind, on weekdays I'll be at The Pennsylvanian entry -- 1100 Liberty Avenue -- where folks can stop by during lunch hour. On Memorial Day weekend John English and I will be up at Flag Plaza where there's plenty of free parking and a good view of the Gulf Tower.
Here are the details.
When & Where on Business Days:
Fri May 26 and Tues May 30
11:30am to 1:30pm
On the sidewalk at The Pennsylvanian RR station area, 1100 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. See arrow below.
When & Where on Memorial Day Weekend
Sat May 27, Sun May 28, Mon May 29
11:30am to 1:30pm. Hours may be extended. Check back as the weekend approaches!
At Flag Plaza (Boy Scouts building), 1275 Bedford Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Come for as little or as long as you’d like. Bring binoculars if you have them.
Hope to see you there!
p.s. CHECK HERE or on the EVENTS PAGE for SCHEDULE UPDATES.
Fledge Watch is a fair weather event. It will be canceled if it's raining or storming.
(photo credits: Fledge Watchers by Kate St. John. The Pennsylvanian from oncarrot.com, Location of Flag Plaza via John English on Pittsburgh Faclonuts Facebook page)
Dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. Bring binoculars and field guides if you have them.
NOTE ABOUT THUNDERSTORMS! As of this writing there's a 60% chance of thunderstorms on Sunday. Weather forecasts can change so check back at this blog post or on the Events Page before you come to the outing in case I've had to cancel because of lightning.
This morning there were 36 of us ready to go birding in Schenley Park at 8am. We searched for birds in the Bartlett area and part of Lower and Falloon Trails, then walked the golf course edge for a view of the treetops along Serpentine Road.
The birds were quiet at first but became more active when the sun broke through the clouds. Best Birds of the day were rose-breasted grosbeaks, the first-of-year ovenbird and a green heron at the lake. I wish we'd seen the blue-winged warbler (heard singing) but we did see a peregrine falcon flying around the Cathedral of Learning.
I promised we'd end at 10am but a dozen people wanted to continue so we split up at 9:45a. (Thank you, Marcus, for guiding folks back to Bartlett Street.) So I have two lists of the birds we saw. Let me know if I missed something.
Before 9:45m. Birds Seen and Heard, 8am-9:45am, 0.8 miles (until turn around). Click here for eBird checklist.
Ovenbird (first of year)
Blue-winged Warbler (heard by several of us, seen by Michelle)
After 945am: Additional Species Seen and Heard, 9:45am-11:30am, 2.17 miles, via Panther Hollow Lake (Click here for the eBird list of additional birds)
Green Heron (first of year)
Osprey (2 flew over at Bartlett at the end of the walk)
Red-tailed Hawk (adult at Occupied Nest)
Peregrine Falcon (flying and perched at Cathedral of Learning)
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Palm Warbler (first of year)
Black-throated Green Warbler
Thanks, everyone, for coming out. It was a great birding day!
When I got home I heard a white-eyed vireo singing in my neighborhood. 🙂
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:
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!)
Leader and More Info
April 9, 1p (Sun)
Wild plants and Mushrooms
Crouse Run (aka Grouse Run), Hampton Township, Allegheny County
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.
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.
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.