Dec 30 2009

Out With the Old Year, In With the New

Published by at 7:11 am under Books & Events

A Blue Moon (photo by Chuck Tague, retouched by Chuck himself)Since I’m going to feature a Beyond Bounds photo on New Year’s Eve, today’s my day for assessing the past year and dreaming of the future. 

What was the best of 2009?  What can we expect in 2010?

2009 had many favorite moments:

  • January brought thousands of white-winged crossbills to Pittsburgh, a treat to see this northern finch at home.
  • Peregrine nesting season, March through June, brought many highs and a couple of lows.  Four successful nests fledged a total of 12 birds from Gulf Tower, Pitt, Monaca and McKees Rocks.  Sadly two of the young peregrines died: one at the airport, the other on a rooftop. 
  • In May Budgie taught me a valuable lesson about freedom.
  • In September pigeons made me laugh.
  • All year long the city’s wildlife amazed me.  I saw a toad, groundhogs, raccoons, a red fox and on December 18th a 10-point buck chasing two does around Carnegie-Mellon’s intramural field at the corner of Forbes and Margaret Morrison. 
  • This month Dan Yagusic identified a new peregrine pair at Tarentum.  J commented that if this new male’s identity holds it means Pittsburgh’s peregrines are continuing their dynasty:  Erie at Pitt, his son Louie at Gulf, Louie’s son E2 at Pitt and now E2’s son at Tarentum.
  • Tomorrow the year will close with a Blue Moon, a parting gesture to 2009.

What can we expect in 2010?

  • January: Snow and cold, snow buntings and horned larks, short-eared owls and maybe a snowy owl.
  • February: The least bird-y month in southwestern Pennsylvania.  Fortunately it’s a short month.
  • March: Blackbirds and grackles return, coltsfoot blooms, peregrines lay eggs.  Hope for 5 peregrine nests in 2010.
  • April and May: Spring flowers and spring migration capped by the arrival of warblers.
  • June: Nests everywhere, peregrine nestlings fledge.
  • July and August: Hot weather, butterflies and moths, field flowers, fall migration begins.
  • September: Chimney swifts leave, thrushes pass through, hawk watches begin.
  • October: Fall colors, ducks migrate, the crows arrive.
  • November: Overcast skies, first snow, tundra swans pass through.
  • December: Winter solstice, huge flocks of robins, starlings and crows, Christmas Bird Counts.

Do you have favorites of 2009?  Expectations for 2010?  Leave a comment with your answers.

And have a happy, healthy new year.

(photo of the moon by Chuck Tague which he retouched to make it blue.)

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Out With the Old Year, In With the New”

  1. Dianeon 30 Dec 2009 at 10:02 am

    One of my favorites in your blog was the story/photo of the robins nesting in the traffic signal device. They stole my heart! Also, the budgie needing his freedom was particularly moving for me. I have wondered if and when you stopped seeing him.

    Your blog is a 2009 favorite for me.

  2. Marge V.on 31 Dec 2009 at 12:56 pm

    This is a good way to end the old year and begin the new year, Kate. Thanks.
    Yep, I have a few favorites from 09 and a few expectations for 10…as you mentioned the White-winged Crossbills were so beautiful against the snow last year (those that Marcy and I saw at the cemetery in Indiana) as well as just on leaves, etc. Of course the Bald Eagles and their new youngun’s at Crooked Creek, so that will be one of my expectations for 2010–a new nest (as you saw and heard the beginning of courtship yourself) with who knows — 2 or 3 for this year? I love watching and hearing the hawks, too, so nice to see Red-shoulders around here and Rough-leggeds (up around Yellow Creek and the Volant strips, etc.)
    And I’ll be maintaining, recording/watching the bluebird boxes there, so that’s always enjoyable seeing and hearing the pretty bluebirds. Expect and hope to see some more “new” birds this year, too.
    Hope you, your family, and all your readers (birders and non-birders alike) have a fantastic New Year–2010!!

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