SPORTS & OUTDOORS

The Scarlet Tanager

by David Liebmann
A bird on fire, a male scarlet tanager perched just above my eye level. He was in a tree at the edge of the Upper Fields Trail at Fox Chapel’s Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve. Normally high in the forest canopy gleaning insects in spring and summer, this avian migrant, roughly…

A Walk in the Woods

Cook Forest State Park, home to magnificent old-​growth forest, is a prime destination for anyone interested in scenic beauty, natural history and a variety of recreational opportunities.

A Belted Kingfisher

“From the porch at dusk I watched a kingfisher wild in flight he could only have made for joy…” —Wendell Barry (from his poem “Before Dark”)

Pittsburgh’s 3 Seasons

Forget about winter, spring, summer and fall. For Pittsburgh’s most faithful sports fans, there are only three seasons: hockey, baseball, and football.

Steelers Draft: Matt Milligan Gives the Scoop

The theatrics of the NFL draft reached new heights this year. Between a touching tribute to the late Dan Rooney and a pandemonium-​inducing tirade by former Cowboys Wide receiver Drew Pearson, there were plenty of made-​for-​TV moments. A total of 6 trades were processed during the 1st round, 3 of…

Hard Hitter

They’re not really going to miss Ralph Cindrich, those suits with the NFL’s 32 teams. If they think of him at all, it’s in vulgar adjectives attached to the devilish contracts he extracted from them for his clients, such as Bill Fralic’s Rabbi Trust, Will Wolford’s Blind Side contract and…

A Waterway Renewed

A beautiful place to enjoy nature this spring is approximately two hours north of Pittsburgh along the banks of the Bennett Branch in Elk County. The Dr. Colson E. Blakeslee Memorial Recreation Area includes 24 acres of forested land, located off State Route 555 in Benezette Township, and provides direct…

Ode to an Ash

“When great trees fall, rocks on distant hills shudder lions hunker down in tall grasses and even elephants lumber after safety…” —Maya Angelou

The Blue-​Gray Gnatcatcher

by David Liebmann
One spring, I ventured south to Savannah, Georgia, for some sun and warmth. As a coastal locale and part of the Atlantic flyway, it was rich with avifauna heading back to nesting territories farther north in places like western Pennsylvania. It was March, and the streets of that wonderful city…

Setting the Steelers Standards

Growing up in a local mill town in the late 1970’s, Steelers’ Super Bowl victories seemed like a birthright. For my generation, it takes little to rattle-​off the roster from the ‘79 season, the last of that era’s championship teams. And while the exploits of future Hall-​of-​Famers Lynn Swann and…

The Northern Cardinal

by David Liebmann
Winter puts birders in a different mood. There are birds about, but they are fewer and generally more muted — focused on finding food, staying warm and getting through. The birds that stick around for a Pittsburgh winter are hardier, more committed, the stalwarts. They are the loyalists of cold.

Old-​Growth Majesty

by Thomas Saunders
One of the most spectacular places to visit in western Pennsylvania is an old-​growth forest in the Hearts Content National Scenic Area within the Allegheny National Forest. A timber company gave the property to the U.S. Forest Service in the early 1920s, and today this area is home to one…

Erie Bluffs State Park

by Thomas Saunders
One of the most distinctive places to explore in Pennsylvania is Erie Bluffs State Park. Located west of the City of Erie, the park sits along more than a mile of lakefront near Lake City, west of the mouth of Elk Creek and north of PA Route 5.

Swainson’s Thrush

by David Liebmann
Fall is a time of movement: college students packed in SUVs returning to classes, younger kids nervous to get back to school, the lazy days of summer fading fast. Millions of birds are moving, too, some passing through the Pittsburgh area en route to wintering grounds to the south.

The Best of Intentions

I just hope my mother doesn’t testify against me… if she does, I am in deep trouble.
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