Seen in Late September

Honeybee on asters, Schenley Park, 28 Sept 2023 (photo by Kate St. John)

7 October 2023

The best photos from this week have been published already (Yesterday at Hays Woods Bird Banding) so I’m reaching back to late September for a few of things I’ve seen.

Bees of all kinds are attracted to deep purple asters beside the Westinghouse Memorial pond in Schenley Park. The honeybee, above, is hard to see near the flower’s orange center.

At Duck Hollow, yellow jewelweed still has flowers as well as fat seed pods. Try to pull one of the pods from the stem and see what happens.

Yellow jewelweed flower and seeds, Duck Hollow, 26 Sept 2023 (photo by Kate St. John)

On 28 September I explored the slag heap flats near Swisshelm Park where (I think) solar arrays will be installed. Because the slag is porous the flats are a dry grass/scrub land where this shrub would have done well except that it’s been over-browsed by too many deer. It looks like bonsai.

Deer damage at the future site of solar flats, NMR Valley, 28 Sept 2023 (photo by Kate St. John)

Deer overpopulation is also evident by the browse line at the edge of the flats.

Browse line at the edge of the future solar flats,NMR Valley, 28 Sept 2023 (photo by Kate St. John)

On 26 September at Duck Hollow I encountered an optical illusion where Nine Mile Run empties into the Monongahela River. It looks as if this downed, waterlogged tree is damming the creek and that the water is lower on the downriver side of it. This illusion seems to be caused by the smooth water surface on one side of the log.

Optical illusion: the log is damming Nine Mile Run, 26 Sept 2023 (photo by Kate St. John)

We found a tiny red centipede crossing the trail at Frick Park on 30 September …

Tiny red centipede, Frick Park, 30 Sept 2023 (photo by Kate St. John)

… and a puffball mushroom outside the Dog Park.

Puffball mushroom, Frick Park, 30 Sept 2023 (photo by Kate St. John)

On 27 September hundreds, if not thousands, of crows gathered at dusk near Neville Street in Shadyside before flying to the roost. I thought this would happen again the next day but they changed their plan and have not come this close again.

Hundreds of crows take off from a roof on Neville Street, 27 Sept 2023 (photo by Kate St. John)

Sometimes sunrise is the most beautiful part of the day.

Sunrise at Neville Street, 28 Sept 2023 (photo by Kate St. John)

These photos don’t give the impression that it’s been abnormally dry, but precipitation in Pittsburgh is down 6″ for the year. Almost 2″ of that deficit occurred in September. The Fall Color Prediction says our leaf color-change is later than usual.

(photos by Kate St. John)

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