Seen This Week

Sunrise on 3 March 2022 (photo by Kate St. John)

5 March 2022

This week in Pittsburgh the weeping willows turned yellow for spring and male red-winged blackbirds came back to the marshes. At Homewood Cemetery the two combined when a red-winged blackbird called from a large willow. He’s the black dot at 9 or 10 o’clock (on the dial) in my photo.

Yellow willow tree + red-winged blackbird, Homewood Cemetery, 2 March 2022 (photo by Kate St. John)

The red-wings didn’t look so spiffy three weeks ago at Frick Park’s feeders, below. Now they are sharply black and red.

Red-winged blackbirds, 9 Feb (photo by Charity Kheshgi)

Over at Schenley Park the moss is greening up on the tufa bridges and purple “weed” leaves are looking hairy.

Tufa bridge has moss and purple basal leaves (photo by Kate St. John)

A closer look reveals the hairs may be tiny rootlets. Last summer I knew the name of this “weed” but I don’t remember it now. (Best guess via Stephen Tirone is hawkweed)

Are these tiny roots growing from the leaves? (photo by Kate St. John)

At Carnegie Mellon’s campus cultivated witch-hazel is blooming in yellow and red. Our native witch-hazel is all yellow and blooms in November. These plants have yellow petals and red centers.

Cultivated witch-hazel blooming, 2 March 2022 (photo by Kate St. John)

They are probably Chinese or Japanese witch-hazel, both of which bloom in February and March.

Cultivated witch-hazel blooming, 2 March 2022 (photo by Kate St. John)

I haven’t see an American woodcock (Scolopax minor) yet but Adrian Fenton reported three at North Park on 3 March. The woodcocks are back in New York City, too. This one danced at Bryant Park. Woo hoo!

Today the temperature will reach 68 degrees F. It’s time to get outdoors!

(photos by Kate St. John & Charity Kheshgi)

6 thoughts on “Seen This Week

  1. I just learned about woodcocks and now I really want to see some this spring-especially during courtship! Is North Park the best or closest spot to Pittsburgh to see them?

    1. North Park is a good location. https://ebird.org/hotspot/L971715
      Also, Three Rivers Birding Club is holding guided Woodcock Walks. See outings here and below. https://www.3rbc.org/outings.html
      Wednesday, March 23, 2022 — Woodcock Walk
      Wednesday, March 30, 2022 — Woodcock Walk
      Wednesday, April 13, 2022 – Woodcock Walk
      Enjoy the woodcock walks again this spring. Meet leader Tom Byrnes (724-715-7184) at the Ladbrokes (now The Meadows) parking lot behind the Primanti Brothers restaurant off the Harmar exit 11 of Route 28. Meeting time will be 7:00 PM. We will drive a short distance to a field in Harmar Township that has produced lots of American Woodcock in the past several years. Be prepared for a muddy walk and bring a flashlight. Before going to the field, we will check the Great Blue Heron nest, which in previous years was an exciting find on this trip.

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