We’ll see water willow, nodding thistle, red-winged blackbirds and northern rough-winged swallows.
Dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. Bring binoculars, field guides and a scope for river watching if you have them.
This event will be held rain or shine but not in a downpour or thunder. At this point scattered thunderstorms are predicted for Sunday but forecasts often change. Check the Events page before you come in case this outing is canceled for thunder or heavy downpours.
After the global success of its inaugural year, #BlackBirdersWeek returns Sunday, May 30 through Saturday, June 5, 2021. This year’s event will showcase the many unique ways Black people connect in the outdoors. The lineup includes nationwide birding events, live streamed panel discussions, and daily interactive themes. In partnership with The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Bird Collective, US Fish Wildlife Service, Tucson Audubon Society, and more, #BlackBirdersWeek2021 is taking flight!
My favorite part of the week will be Tuesday night, June 1 at 8pm ET, when PBS broadcasts The Falconer, a film about Rodney Stotts one of the few black falconers in the United States.
Six years ago, April 2015, Stotts was featured in this video by The GW Hatchet, an independent student newspaper serving George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Don’t miss his story at 2:36 in the video. It’s an inspiration for #BlackBirdersWeek.
Meet Rodney Stotts an hour before the show in a live Q&A Webinar: #BirdsEyeView-Falconry with Rodney Stotts on Tuesday June 1 at 7p ET. Sign up here.
Did you know that the Cathedral of Learning is such as safe nesting site that we never have to rescue a young peregrine from the street? That means that Pitt Peregrine Fledge Watch is pure fun. Drop-in when you can, no need to stay the whole time. Swap peregrine stories, learn about peregrines and watch the Pitt youngsters learn to fly. Bring binoculars or camera if you have them. Check the Events page before you come in case of weather cancellation.
Where:Schenley Plaza near the tent, shown above. When: Wed Jun 2, Fri Jun 4 and Sun Jun 6, 11:30a-1:00p. Fledge Watch is weather dependent and will be canceled for rain or thunder. Check here before you come. Parking: Parking is free on Sunday. Otherwise you must use the pay stations on the street at Schenley Plaza. Garage parking is available at Carnegie Museum, entrance on Forbes Ave at Craig St. (*) Face masks: Wear a face mask if you want to or need to. CDC guidance on 27 April 2021 says fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear a face mask outdoors; un-vaccinated people can go maskless outdoors if they are alone or with household members.
Phipps BioBlitz Bird Walk in Schenley Park, Sun June 6, 8:30a – 10:30a
On Sunday June 6, Phipps BioBlitz will bring together families, students, local scientists, naturalists, and teachers for a biological survey of the plants and animals in Schenley Park. See and learn about birds, plants, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, mollusks and more. As part of the BioBlitz I will lead a bird walk 8:30am-10:30am. The event is free but registration is required. Read all about Phipps BioBlitz Day here.
How to join the walk: Participation is limited. Registration is required. Sign up here. Where: Starting from Phipps’ front lawn. You’ll see a sign for my walk. When: Sunday June 6, 8:30a-10:30a Parking: Free on Sundays! (*) Face masks: Will follow Phipps rules. Bring a mask and be prepared to wear it. See details here. Note: As soon as the bird walk is over, I’ll adjourn to Schenley Plaza for Pitt Peregrine Fledge Watch.
(photo credits: Schenley Plaza tent by Kate St. John, Phipps Conservatory from Wikimedia Commons)
Dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. Bring binoculars and field guides if you have them.
Red-winged blackbirds nest at Panther Hollow Lake. We are sure to see them!
This event will be held rain or shine but not in a downpour or thunder. Check the Events page before you come in case of cancellation.
p.s. Face masks: Wear one if you want to or need to. On 27 April 2021 the CDC said that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear a face mask outdoors while un-vaccinated people can go maskless outdoors if they are alone or with household members. I am fully vaccinated so I won’t be wearing a mask. Only you know whether you got the vaccine. It’s up to you.
(photo of red-winged blackbird by Robert Greene, Jr.)
This morning was overcast and chilly when 17 of us explored the west end of Schenley Park beginning at Anderson Playground.
We saw a peregrine fly around the Cathedral of Learning (the eggs are hatching today!) and a red-tailed hawk bring food to his nest. Our Best Bird was a Louisiana waterthrush walking in the wetland under fallen logs.
When the birds were quiet we examined pawpaw flowers.
Unofrtunately we did not see this eastern screech-owl near the pawpaws. He was there yesterday when I scouted the park … but not today. Alas. 🙁
Dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. Bring binoculars and field guides if you have them. Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth. The outing will follow these COVID-19 safety rules:
Everyone on the outing must wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth.
We will social distance 6 feet as much as possible.
If the number of participants makes social distancing difficult I will divide the group into pods of six and ask for volunteer(s) to lead the other group(s).
Visit my Events page before you come in case of changes or cancellations.
A NOTE ABOUT ROAD CLOSURES! I have marked this map with the (approximate) Schenley Drive closures for the CMU Buggy Races on 25 April 5am-9am. We will meet at 40.435948, -79.947456.
This morning at Duck Hollow it was raining often, and sometimes hard. I really did not expect anyone to show up for the outing I announced last Monday but I was there anyway as a good excuse to look at the river on a wet day.
Best Birds were a green-winged teal, five lesser scaup, two hooded mergansers and a small flock of white-throated sparrows.
What a difference a year makes. COVID-19 has not disappeared — in fact it is resurging slightly in Allegheny County and the eastern U.S. (click for today’s map) — but we’ve learned more about how it spreads and the relative safety of being outdoors. This spring I’m resuming my outings in local parks with the COVID safety rules below:
Everyone must wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth.
We will social distance 6 feet as we walk.
If the number of participants makes social distancing difficult I will divide the group and ask for volunteer(s) to lead the other group(s). Six people per group seems right but the number depends on the trail we use.
That said …
Join me on my first bird and nature outing of 2021 at Duck Hollow and Lower Frick Park on Sunday, 28 March 2021 — 8:30am to 10:00am.
We’ll see migrating ducks and early songbirds and hope to see an eastern phoebe and tree swallows. Fingers crossed!
Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth (COVID safety rules above). Dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. Bring binoculars, field guides and a scope for river watching if you have them.
Hope to see you there.
Visit my Events page before you come in case of changes or cancellations.
(photo from Wikimedia Commons; click the caption to see the original)
The best part is that now we have hope. There are three vaccines and they are becoming more available.
Alaska leads the country in vaccine rollout. Pennsylvania hasn’t done so well. Though I am vaccine-eligible it was very hard to get one in Pittsburgh this winter. The logjam started to break up last month. I’m getting my 2nd Moderna shot on Friday!
If you’re fully vaccinated your life improves. According to the CDC:
If you’ve been fully vaccinated you can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask. You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (e.g. relatives) without masks(*), and if you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms(*).
The Hays bald eagles are having a Happy Valentine’s Day with their first egg of the season just 36 hours old. The female laid her first egg on Friday 12 February 2021 at approximately 5:55pm. Their happy event was on the CBS Local news, at Trib-Live, and captured on the streaming cam on YouTube.
The female usually lays her second egg three days after the first so watch the Hays Nest Eaglecam tomorrow, 15 February, for the arrival of another egg.