Today at Duck Hollow

Outing at Duck Hollow, 29 Oct 2019 (photo by Kate St. John)

This morning was chilly as seven of us met for a bird walk at Duck Hollow and Lower Nine Mile Run. At first the birds were few and far between but the sun warmed the hillsides and the birds came out.

We saw and heard 17 species plus an unidentified accipiter (sharp-shinned or Coopers hawk). “Best Bird” was a ruby-crowned kinglet who happened to be singing. See our checklist here:

Our walk included some surprising plants and insects as well.

The Pittsburgh region is not strong on lichens (our air is too bad) but we found a clump of branches with a very thick covering of moss and/or lichen. We were impressed.

Lichens and moss coat dead branches along the Lower Nine Mile Run Trail (photo by Claire Staples)

A grasshopper made an appearance, probably too cold to move.

At Lower Nine Mile Run (photo by Claire Staples)

And we opened the dried bladder from a bladdernut tree.

Bladdernuts opened (photo by Claire Staples)

Some furry pea-pods gave me pause. I remembered the yellow flowers that grew there in August, pictured below, but not the plant’s name.

Wild senna in August along the Lower Nine Mile Run Trail (photo by Kate St. John)

It’s wild senna (Senna hebecarpa). See the pea pods in this gallery of flowers + pea pods at

By the end of our walk the day had warmed to the mid 60s F.

Smiles all around.

(photos by Kate St. John & Claire Staples as indicated in the captions)

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