Seen Last Week
Outside My Window
by Kate St. John
13h ago
Coltsfoot gone to seed, Frick Park, 9 April 2024 (photo by Kate St. John) 16 April 2024 Last week was so full of news, from peregrines to floods, that I had to skip my usual “Seen This Week” report. Meanwhile Spring isn’t holding still. Wildflowers are blooming and the early ones have already gone to seed. Here’s a selection of my best photos from last week, April 8-11. Above and below, three photos from Frick Park. All of these are alien and some are invasive but they are pretty. Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), at top, is found in disturbed soil. Speedwell’s (Veronica persica) tiny flowers bl ..read more
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Yes, We Saw Sapsuckers
Outside My Window
by Kate St. John
2d ago
Yellow-bellied sapsucker, Schenley Park, 14 April 2024 (photo by Charity Kheshgi) 15 April 2024 Twelve of us gathered in yesterday’s perfect weather for an outing in Schenley Park. Schenley Park outing, 14 April 2024 (photo by Kate St. John) When I announced the outing, I said we had a good chance of seeing yellow-bellied sapsuckers and indeed we did — at least four plus an interesting interaction between a male and female. Was this pair migrating together? Birds of the World says Not likely. Male yellow-bellied sapsuckers migrate first, the females follow later. When the males reach the breed ..read more
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Pitt Peregrine Alumni is Nesting at Sewickley Bridge
Outside My Window
by Kate St. John
3d ago
Peregrine at Sewickley Bridge, 16 May 2023 (photo by Jeff Cieslak) 14 April 2024 The Sewickley Bridge has hosted single peregrines since 2017 but a pair was not regular there until early 2021. At some point observers noticed that one of the pair is banded but who could read the bands? Banded male peregrine at Sewickley Bridge, 6 June 2023 (photo by Jeff Cieslak) And where was this pair nesting on the bridge? This spring Jeff Cieslak answered both questions. He photographed a nest exchange in which the male took over incubation and the female left the nest. Peregrine nest exchange at Sewickley ..read more
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Tarentum Peregrine Chicks are Growing Fast
Outside My Window
by Kate St. John
4d ago
Tarentum Bridge peregrines have two chicks, 11 April 2024 (photo by Dave Brooke) 13 April 2024 On Thursday 11 April, before torrential rain and flash floods hit the Pittsburgh area, Dave Brooke went down to Tarentum to see the peregrine family at the Tarentum Bridge. His video shows the mother peregrine sheltering two chicks. Not only are the chicks sitting up with their eyes open but their faces are distinct. My guess, based on the clues in Peregrine Chicks Week-to-Week Development, is that these chicks hatched around April 2. video embedded from Dave Brooke on YouTube This weekend would be ..read more
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Tenant Didn’t Like the Decorations
Outside My Window
by Kate St. John
5d ago
Eurasian nuthatch (photo from Wikimedia Commons) 12 April 2024 This one had me laughing out loud. I will have to charge for this vandalism …. some potential tenants of this furnished apartment have taken a dislike to some of the decorations. Instead of letting me know, they decided to remove it themselves! ??#GwylltHollow pic.twitter.com/i3HoicKLhp — WildlifeKate (@katemacrae) April 10, 2024 Heads up for North Americans: Though the bird resembles a red-breasted nuthatch the birdhouse is in Southern Wales so this destructive tenant is a Eurasian nuthatch (Sitta europaea). He is simply called ..read more
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It’s Time For Spray Your Clothes Day
Outside My Window
by Kate St. John
6d ago
It’s Spray Your Clothes Day (photo by Kate St. John) 11 April 2024 There’s a danger outdoors in Pennsylvania’s suburbs, parks and woods. The first step to protect yourself is to spray your clothes in early spring. The Danger: When a black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis) sucks your blood it can transmit a parasite that causes Lyme disease, an illness that can ruin your life for a very long time. Black-legged ticks are especially dangerous in May and June when the tiny nymphs, only as big as a poppy seed, are questing for a blood meal. Nymph highlighted on Chart of black-legged tick life stages ..read more
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Peregrine Update, Southwest PA, 10 April
Outside My Window
by Kate St. John
1w ago
Carla at Pitt peregrine nest, about to incubate, 9 April 2024 8:32am (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh) 10 April 2024 Peregrine news is quiet in early April while all the nests are incubating … or are they? I just did the math and Tarentum Bridge is going to hatch on or before today (see end of article). Here’s the news. Cathedral of Learning, Univ of Pittsburgh: Yesterday I just happened to be on the roof deck of my apartment building at 6:24pm when I saw a peregrine burst off the Cathedral of Learning and head east over Fifth Avenue using territorial flappy flig ..read more
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Honeybees Go Home for the Eclipse
Outside My Window
by Kate St. John
1w ago
Total solar eclipse, Berea, Ohio, 8 April 2024 (photo by Jeff Cieslak) 9 April 2024 For three minutes yesterday afternoon, people in a wide swath of the U.S. from Texas to Maine were wowed by the total solar eclipse. Jeff Cieslak was in the totality zone in Berea, Ohio and captured the photo at top. Look closely at the dark edge and you’ll see solar prominences (flares). Map of the path of 8 April 2024 solar eclipse totality (image from NASA via Wikimedia Commons) Pittsburgh and Dubois, PA, just east of the totality zone, were both close enough to experience a 97% eclipse. Our light level was ..read more
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Schenley Park Outing on April 14, 8:30am
Outside My Window
by Kate St. John
1w ago
Yellow-bellied sapsucker, Frick Park, 6 April 2024 (photo by Charity Kheshgi) 8 April 2024 Surprise! Instead of an outing on the last Sunday of the month, let’s go birding next weekend. Join me at the Schenley Park Visitors Center for a bird & nature walk on Sunday 14 April, 8:30a – 10:30a. Yellow-bellied sapsuckers migrate through Allegheny County in April so mid-month is the best time to find one in Schenley. Charity Kheshgi and I saw this one at Frick. We’ll also see trees in bud, in bloom, and with tiny leaves. Ten years ago the redbuds had not opened yet. Will they be blooming next Su ..read more
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Supporting Each Other: A Shepherd’s Story
Outside My Window
by Kate St. John
1w ago
Ewe and lamb (photo from Wikimedia Commons) 7 April 2024 If you live in close contact with animals you get to know them well. Shepherds of small flocks develop an especially close relationship with their sheep because they tend them every day — and for 24 hours a day during lambing in early spring. Paula Aarons, originally from Valencia PA, runs a small sheep farm in New Hampshire called the Dancing Pony Sheep Farm. Last month she appeared on Junction Fiber Mill‘s Millcast program to tell the story of her flock supporting each other and supporting her, their shepherd. Our mutual friend Jeff Ci ..read more
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