One species, the Scots or Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris), doesn’t lose its needles even when it’s completely dry. I’ve seen Scotch pines put out for trash collection in January that looked as if they were freshly cut. There’s a down side though, as described at The Spruce:
You’ll want to wear gloves when decorating a Scotch pine since its needles can be sharp as pins!
Audubon’s 120th annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is about to begin. Every year from December 14 through January 5 volunteers count the birds they see in a single 24-hour period within 15-mile diameter “count” circles.
It’s easy to participate. No experience is necessary. Count at your feeders or in the field. Count on your own or in a group.
Choose a location and date that suits you from the map at audubon.org. Click on the bird icon inside the circle for a description and contact information, then contact the Count Coordinator to let them know you’re counting. The Coordinator makes sure you don’t double-count someone else’s territory and helps you join a group if you wish.
17 counts are planned in southwestern Pennsylvania, listed in the table at the end.
Visit the University of Pittsburgh’s Hillman Library for the 9th annual Audubon Day on Friday 6 December 2019. Events include:
10:00 – 11:00 Hillman library, Ground Floor, Room G-49 Meaning, metaphor and the words that birds have given us. Presentation by Dr. Karen Park, Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the University of Pittsburgh
11:00 – 12:00 Hillman library, Ground Floor, Room G-49 Live Bird Meet-and-Greet presented by the National Aviary. Whooo? will the Aviary bring to the meeting? Come and find out.
9:00 – 4:00 Hillman Library, Ground Floor, Room G-20 Original Prints from John James Audubon’s Birds of America on display.
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.
Thank you, also, to the many excellent photographers who’ve allowed me to use their photos and videos, to Wikimedia Commons for their vast store of Creative Commons media, and to YouTube and Twitter videos that allow embedding on my blog. Without photos and videos my blog would be just a pile of words.
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.