Archive for February, 2011

Feb 02 2011

Winter Weeds: Goldenrod


If you recognize this flower in August it also looks familiar at this time of year.

Tall or Canada Goldenrod is a native perennial that maintains its shape, even in winter.  It still stands two to six feet tall, it still carries alternate leaves on a rough stem and it still holds up a plume-like spire where the flowers used to be.  The spire was a dense cluster of golden flowers in August.  Now it’s a dense cluster of seeds.

You’ll find goldenrod in open areas, often in large patches because the rhizomes (roots) spread underground.

Goldenrod species are notoriously difficult to identify.  I listed two names for this plant because I’m not sure which one it is.  It might be Tall Goldenrod, maybe Canada Goldenrod, maybe something else.  It doesn’t matter.  My excuse is that the plant isn’t in good condition. 

And here’s a Quiz:  Can you identify the tall plant on the left edge of this photo?  I discussed it in an earlier Winter Weeds blog.  Remember?

p.s. Today is Groundhog Day.  Check here for news from Punxsutawney Phil.  Rumor has it he did not see his shadow so Spring is near.

(photo by Marcy Cunkelman)

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Feb 01 2011

News of the March 7 Event!

Wow!  What a response!

By last Friday afternoon “Celebrate Pittsburgh’s Peregrines” was booked solid and we had to wait-list 15 people!

The good news is that today more spots became available, so we’re notifying those on wait list that they’re confirmed for the event. 

If you want to come but haven’t made a reservation, don’t delay.  Only 8 seats left!  Email peregrines@wqed.org or call 412-622-1505.

Thanks for your support!  I’m looking forward to March 7.

(photo by Kim Steininger)

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Feb 01 2011

Watching for Spring

Published by under Phenology


We’re having ugly weather here for the next two days.  Freezing rain, rain, sleet, ice and then gusty winds, falling temperatures and snow showers by tomorrow afternoon.  Yuk. 

Will spring ever come? 

Yes!  I’ve already seen a few signs of spring.  Here are some hints of good weather to come:

  • American goldfinches are slowly molting into their yellow, breeding feathers.
  • Red-tailed hawks are soaring in pairs.  Sometimes they perch side by side. 
  • Peregrine falcons have begun courting.  E2 is bringing breakfast to Dorothy at the Cathedral of Learning.  Louie has been calling to Dori at the Gulf Tower, “Come here!”
  • Song sparrows, Carolina wrens and northern cardinals are singing at dawn.
  • Starlings’ beaks are starting to turn yellow.
  • By the end of this month, the flocks of crows will begin to disband.

Hang in there.  Spring is coming.

(photo by Marcy Cunkelman, who noticed this turning-yellow goldfinch.  Thanks, Marcy!)

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