Most people tune in for the peregrine nesting season but there was a big surprise this year. The most popular article by far was my 25 February prediction of 17-year cicadas in May: Let Me Be The First To Tell You. With over 6,400 readers it was a two-day wonder.
This 12th anniversary is an opportunity to thank you, dear reader, for your enthusiasm, comments, suggestions and “shares.” Thank you for sticking with me. You inspire me to keep going every day.
I wish we’d stop turning the clocks back and forth. The sign in the photo above, behind the Kaufmann’s Clock in Downtown Pittsburgh, seems to agree.
p.s. The Kaufmann’s Clock at Fifth & Smithfield is a well known meeting place with a long history. My favorite story is the time in 1983 when Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Michelle Madoff challenged Council President Eugene “Jeep” DePasquale to meet her under the clock and make good on his promise to kiss her “you-know-what” after a tax she proposed raised more than the $20 he believed possible. Michelle waited under the clock with a stuffed donkey (a.k.a. ass) for him to kiss. Jeep never showed up.
(photo from Wikimedia Commons; click on the caption to see the original)
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: https://ebird.org/checklist/S61022547
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.
A grasshopper made an appearance, probably too cold to move.
And we opened the dried bladder from a bladdernut tree.
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.
This morning 12 of us gathered at the Bartlett Shelter to kick off a bird walk in Schenley Park. The weather was very gray and cloudy, almost foggy, and we worked hard for every bird for more an hour and a half.
Then the sun came out at 10am and so did the birds. Our best sightings were in the last 15 minutes. We ran overtime to see them!
Fall officially arrived this week though it’s been in progress for a while. Trees and plants are gradually losing leaves, squirrels are storing food for the winter and birds are migrating. It’s a good time to be outdoors.
We’re sure to see birds, lingering flowers, fruits and acorns. Acorns are a big attraction for chipmunks and blue jays. Last week the number of blue jays exploded when migrating jays arrived in town. Will there be more blue jays than chipmunks? Come and see.
Dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. Bring binoculars and field guides if you have them. NOTE that a fallen tree blocks part of the Falloon Trail trail so we’ll have to go off the beaten path. Be prepared to walk on dirt with roots and rocks. A walking stick may be useful.
Visit my Events page before you come in case of changes or cancellations.
(photo credits: blue jay by Chuck Tague, chipmunk by Brian Herman)