Archive for October, 2011

Oct 02 2011

Last Month at Cape May

Published by under Plants

Last month Dianne Machesney found beautiful flowers blooming at Cape May, New Jersey.  This one is Maryland Meadow Beauty (Rhexia mariana), a wetland plant that likes sandy soil.

Rhexia mariana grows as far north as Michigan and Massachusetts but neither of us have seen it in southwestern Pennsylvania.

I’m sure that’s because our area has the wrong habitat … few wetlands and almost no sand.

(photo by Dianne Machesney)

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Oct 01 2011

Winter’s Coming

Published by under Mammals,Phenology

Welcome to October.

What a difference a day makes!  Yesterday’s high in Pittsburgh was nearly 60oF with a strong wind from the southwest but today it will be in the 40′s, the low in the upper 30′s, winds from the north and rain.  The next good flying weather for migrating birds won’t be until Tuesday.

Meanwhile, if you watch your bird feeders you’re sure to see hungry squirrels.  This weather reminds them they don’t have much time left to store food for the winter.

Look closely at your squirrels and you’ll see their fur is changing from brown to gray so they’ll be camouflaged in the snow.  Their tails change first, as you can see on this squirrel posing near Marcy Cunkelman’s feeder.

Posing? Hah! He’s waiting for her to stop looking at him so he can pounce on the peanuts.

(photo by Marcy Cunkelman)

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