Participants at the Schenley Park outing, 28 Aug 2016 (photo by Kate St. John)
On the morning of August 28, fifteen of us braved the humidity to explore the lower end of Panther Hollow in Schenley Park.
There were wildflowers and insects galore, plus 22 species of birds. Highlights included Baltimore orioles, two immature rose-breasted grosbeaks and at least one ruby-throated hummingbird.
A noisy flock of blue jays alerted us to a red-tailed hawk perched on a pole above the lake while northern flickers and American robins joined the fray. Here’s the eBird checklist.
By the end of our walk we were feeling the heat. At 10:30am it was 82oF. That doesn’t sound bad but the dewpoint was 70oF. Dripping with sweat, many of us looked forward to a cool respite at home.
Thank you all for coming. The next outing will begin at the Westinghouse Memorial on September 25.
(photo by Kate St. John)
Just a reminder: I’m leading a bird and nature walk at Schenley Park this Sunday, August 28, 8:30am – 10:30am.
Meet at the Schenley Park Cafe and Visitor Center to see birds, late summer flowers, bugs and hummingbirds.
Dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. Bring binoculars and field guides if you have them.
Click here for more information and in case of cancellation. So far the weather forecast looks great!
(photo by Kate St. John of Asian lady beetles mating, August 2015 at Schenley Park)
Culvers root and tall sunflowers at Jennings Prairie, August 2014 (photo by Kate St. John)
Every year the Wissahickon Nature Club holds a late summer outing at Jennings Environmental Education Center to enjoy the wide variety of wildflowers that grow on the prairie.
This year the outing will remember our late president Chuck Tague who passed away in June.
What: Wissahickon Nature Club outing led by Dianne Machesney
When: Saturday, August 6, 10:00am
Where: Jennings Environmental Education Center, also called Jennings Prairie, Butler County. Directions From Pittsburgh: 79N to 422E roughly 5.8 miles to 528N. Go 7 miles. Meet in the Jennings Prairie parking lot on the left (west) side of the road.
Bring binoculars, field guides, lunch, beverages and water for the trail. The Prairie is hot and shadeless. Wear a hat and sunscreen.
This walk is open to the public. All are welcome and encouraged to bring a friend.
We’re sure to see Culvers root, tall sunflowers, dense blazing star and purple fringed orchids. And though we’ll focus on flowers, Wissahickon is a “general” nature club so we’ll look at everything that strikes our fancy — flowers, birds, butterflies and all.
Click on the links above to read more about the flowers.
(photo at Jennings by Kate St. John, photo of Chuck Tague in 2011 by Marianne Atkinson)
Outing to Duck Hollow and Nine Mile Run Trail, 31 July 2016 (photo by Kate St. John)
This morning was foggy and cooler (yay!) when eight of us walked the Lower Nine Mile Run Trail.
We started at Duck Hollow but the river was very high after heavy rains — 0.82 inches on Saturday — and there were few birds there. Our walk along the Nine Mile Run Trail was more productive.
Best Birds were lots of indigo buntings and American goldfinches, a big flock of mourning doves, an American kestrel, and an immature red-tailed hawk. Two male indigo buntings chased near us. So blue!
Best Animal was found by our youngest participant — a land snail. Look at his tiny antennae next to her fingertip.
Tiny land snail, Nine Mile Run Trail, 31 July 2016 (photo by Kate St. John)
Thanks to all for coming and for being such good spotters of birds and wildlife.
My next walk will be August 28 at Schenley Park; meet at the Visitors Center.
(photos by Kate St. John)
Just a reminder that I’m leading a bird and nature walk on Sunday, July 31, 8:30am – 10:30am, at Duck Hollow and the south end of Frick Park’s Nine Mile Run Trail.
Meet at the Duck Hollow parking lot at the end of Old Browns Hill Road.
Dress for the weather. Bring binoculars and field guides if you have them.
Click here for more information and updates in case the walk is canceled for bad weather.
If the river isn’t too high we’ll see killdeer on the Nine Mile Run delta.
See you soon.
(photo of killdeer by Chuck Tague)
Beginning this afternoon (6/26/2016) through Thursday afternoon (6/30/2016) I’ll be hiking out of cellphone range during the day. I’ll still be posting daily articles on the blog, but I won’t be able to respond to your comments until I’m back “on the grid” in the evenings.
David Sibley and his newest book (photo by Richard Pasley via Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures)
If you’re a birder you’ve probably heard of David Sibley whose excellent field guides are illustrated with his own art work. I’m particularly fond of his Sibley Guide to Birds, Sibley Guide to Trees, and the Sibley Birds app on my cellphone. (Can you tell I’m addicted?)
We’ll get a chance to meet David Sibley when he comes to Pittsburgh for two events on July 14: a dinner hosted by Audubon of Western Pennsylvania (ASWP) and his lecture at Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures.
Attend only the dinner or both dinner+lecture by signing up at the ASWP website:
Member Banquet and an Evening with David Sibley, July 14 starting at 5 pm. Click here to attend.
Dinner and the awards presentation will be held at St. Nicholas Church in Oakland and David Sibley will speak at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, right across the street. The event starts at 5 pm with dinner served at 5:30 pm. Tickets are $50 each and include a copy of Sibley’s newest book.
Attend only the lecture by signing up at Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures:
Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures and Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh present David Sibley
Thursday, July 14, 2016, 7 pm at Carnegie Lecture Hall, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, 15213
Tickets are $25 each and can be purchased online, over the phone at 412.622.8866, or at the door starting at 6 pm on the evening of the event. Tickets include a copy of David’s newest book The Sibley Guide to Birds, 2nd Edition.
Don’t miss it.
(photo of David Sibley by Richard Pasley and cover of Sibley’s latest book via Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures website)
Our Schenley Park outing, 19 June 2016 (photo by Kate St. John)
Yesterday morning 15 of us took a walk on the Lower Trail in Schenley Park. Highlights include …
- Two ephemerals:
- Inky cap mushrooms that dissolve into ink the same day they appear. Click here to see what they look like. Thanks to Adam Haritan of Learn Your Land for identifying them.
- Ohio spiderwort flowers that last only a day before they wilt:
- Sights and sounds of birds including a busy flock of common grackles, a young wood thrush perched on a log and singing rose-breasted grosbeaks and acadian flycatchers.
- The bug-eat-bug world of aphids sucking juice out of tall flower stems while ladybugs and harvestmen (daddy longlegs) pursued them.
- And two deer, one with a big rack in velvet.
Thanks to all for coming. My next outing will be on July 31 at Duck Hollow and Lower Frick Park.
(photo by Kate St. John)
Northern flicker nestling, calling in Schenley Park, 10 June 2016 (photo by Kate St. John)
Just a reminder that I’m leading a bird and nature walk on Sunday June 19, 8:30am at Bartlett Shelter on Bartlett Street near Panther Hollow Road. I’m sure we’ll see nesting and baby birds. Click here for more information.
Those who attended my Schenley Park outing on April 24 may remember we found a northern flicker calling from a nest hole above the Visitors Center steps. He was trying to attract a mate to his deluxe nest site under a big shelf mushroom.
Last Friday I found proof that he succeeded. I heard a flicker calling from the same area and it was his son!
Look under the shelf mushroom in these photos. He matches the tree trunk but you can see a dark mustache on his face.
Northern flicker nestling in Schenley Park, 10 June 2016 (photo by Kate St. John)
Looking forward to seeing you on June 19. Visit the Events page before you come … in case the walk is cancelled for bad weather.
(photos by Kate St. John)
Peregrine fledgling whining at 309 Smithfield St, 8 June 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)
I will be Downtown June 9 at 11:25 am to 12:25 pm, then at Schenley Fledge Watch 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm. Check the Events page for many updates.
News of the Downtown peregrines:
As of yesterday morning all four nestlings had flown.
7:30am to 10:30am: 3 fledglings visible simultaneously.
11:00am to end of day: 2 fledglings visible simultaneously. The others were perched out of sight.
For most of the day a fledgling perched and screamed from a 7th floor windowsill at 309 Smithfield Street (above). The screaming meant “Parents! Bring me food!” but his parents ignored him because they wanted him to fly to a better perch. Concerned observers called the Game Commission. No worries. A high-up screaming peregrine is OK, just annoying.
At noon, Tuesday’s rescued bird ran along the edge of the porch and flew 1.5 blocks to the top of the Art Institute.
Peregrine fledgling practices short distance flights at the rescue porch (photo by Lori Maggio)
At 4:10pm Lori Maggio found this fledgling on an arch at the Pioneer Building, Wood Street at Boulevard of the Allies.
Peregrine fledgling on a 5th floor arch, 8 June 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)
Today the Downtown fledglings will be harder to find because they’re flying everywhere.
UPDATE June 9, 12:20pm: Today is the last day of Downtown Fledge Watch. The youngsters are flying so well that it’s really hard to keep up with them.
Around noon I found 1 adult on the Third Ave gargoyle, 1 youngster on top of the Art Institute and another (apparently The Screamer) on a 6th floor ledge on Third Avenue. The Screamer is really good at flying now. He moves fast!
(photos by Lori Maggio)
If you stop by Downtown Fledge Watch check the ground. If you find a fledgling, corral it to a safe zone and call the PGC “rescue” number (724-238-9523).