As I walked to the Cathedral of Learning at lunchtime yesterday, I made a list of all the new Spring things I found despite the chilly weather:
- Crocuses blooming at Schenley Plaza. These, in fact.
- House finches, northern cardinals, robins and song sparrows all singing.
- Male common grackles puffing up and saying “Skrinnk!” to each other.
- European starlings singing songs that sound like killdeer and meadowlarks.
- More dark-eyed juncoes than before — they’re on the move.
- A bright ice halo around the sun that became a sundog.
- Ducks and geese migrating. (Saw a tundra swan fly north, high over the Cathedral of Learning)
- Spring peepers and woodcocks at Middle Creek last Sunday. (none of those in the city)
- Freezing nights and above freezing days. It’s maple sugar time.
- Immature peregrine falcons wandering and migrating.
Do you have a list of Spring things you’ve seen lately? Leave a comment to let us know.
And about that last item in the list: While I was observing the halo around the sun I saw a peregrine falcon fly in from the west very high up, nearly a dot. The bird came a little lower as it approached the Cathedral of Learning (CL) but it was still quite high when it saw E2 and Dorothy mating near the nest. It then passed over the CL to the east and used thermals to rise higher and higher. From below it looked dark, perhaps a juvenile. When it was a tiny dot in my binoculars it moved off to the north. I’m glad it was no threat to my two favorite peregrines. It was just passing through.
(photo by Kate St. John)
p.s. Here’s a definition of phenology and a list for Western Pennsylvania.
p.p.s. This is my 1,000th blog entry.