What to Look For: Early November

Brant in flight (photo by Chuck Tague)
Brant in flight (photo by Chuck Tague)

November 2008

Another installment  of November phenology for southwestern Pennsylvania.   Here are some of Chuck Tague’s suggestions on what to look for in the next few weeks, plus a few of my own.

  • We have lots of cloud cover in November.  The sun shines only 37% of the time.
  • With the trees bare – around Nov 11 in the city – you’ll be able to see bird and squirrel nests.
  • Migration continues overhead.  Watch for tundra swans.  They won’t stop on Pittsburgh’s rivers unless the weather is terrible but you can find them resting at Yellow Creek State Park.
  • Ducks, geese, and loons will pass overhead and pause on our rivers and lakes, especially at Moraine and Yellow Creek State Parks.
  • Expect:  Canada geese, common loons, mergansers, ring-necked, ruddy and wood ducks.  There will be so many kinds of ducks there’s no room to list them all.
  • Watch for the unexpected:  A brant (the small geese pictured here) sometimes stops briefly at Yellow Creek.  You might find a red-throated loon or a few snow geese.
  • Fox sparrows should be here soon.
  • Chipmunks and squirrels are caching food.   Will you notice when the chipmunks have gone underground for the winter?  It’s difficult to notice an absence, isn’t it?

(photo of Brant by Chuck Tague)

3 thoughts on “What to Look For: Early November

  1. Just wanted to let you know that I stumbled upon your blog and found it fascinating and have learned so much about birds over the past couple of days.

    This was a very interesting read. I wish we had something like this for Massachusetts but assume some of this may pertain to New England as well??

    Enjoy your day

  2. Much of what I write about applies to Massachusetts, but because you’re farther north and on the Atlantic migration flyway you have some different species.

    For instance, fox sparrows nest in New England but not here. Brant are unusual in western Pennsylvania but they spend the winter along the east coast. You can see them around Boston’s harbor area.

    Glad you’re enjoying the blog.

  3. Oh yeh, those ducks are comin’ in to Yellow Creek — today was freezing early but 5 of us saw Ruddy, Ring-necked, Canvasback Ducks, Green-winged Teal, Bufflehead, PBGrebes, and over 1000 American Coots.
    I see Pymatuning is gettin’ the good finds, too. Like those Cattle Egrets at Miller’s Ponds.

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