Late fall blues

18 December, 2013    Late fall blues

It feels like winter – the days are short and damp. But meteorologically it’s still autumn here in central VA. Winter officially begins Saturday, December 21 at 12:22 PM EST. The true definition of the beginning of winter (here in the northern hemisphere) is the day with the least amount of daylight. The shortest time between sunrise and sunset. And it’s the precise middle of that day, the time when the sun gets as high as it will get all day. Which on that day is not very high at all. So this coming Saturday, by the time you’re finished lunch, the sun will be very low in the sky – but that’s as high as it will get all day! Then the days will gradually begin to lengthen – and that’s the beginning of winter!

If you really want to be nerdy about it, there’s a phenomenon called “seasonal lag” that means the weather doesn’t become truly “wintry” until a bit later. The winter weather “lags” behind actual winter by a few weeks here in central VA. January is invariably our coldest month, and February has a lot of cold and dreary days too. “Spring” begins in Richmond on March 20, 2014 at 11:57 AM. Day and night of equal length. Of course there’s a seasonal lag in spring too – April and May are the truly beautiful (and delicious smelling) months in these parts.

I haven’t had the blues (so far) but I’ve gotten some pretty blue pictures. I took this one in the parking lot at Pony Pasture earlier this month. Bluebirds were my Dad’s favorite bird, by far. So here’s a bit of “late fall blue”:

A beautiful bluebird - my Dad's favorite - Sialia sialis - in the parking lot at Pony Pasture

A beautiful bluebird – my Dad’s favorite – Sialia sialis – in the parking lot at Pony Pasture

Since it’s late fall, the leaves are off the trees and it’s harder for birds to hide. I was hiking in Bryan Park with my sharp-eyed friend Ethan earlier this week and he spotted this beautiful female kingfisher working (hunting) in the creek. More late fall blue!:

Gorgeous female belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)

Gorgeous female belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)

Of course our beautiful blue James River reflects the beautiful blue sky:

It's easy to see why I don't get tired of this

It’s easy to see why I don’t get tired of this

Mackey and Turner and I get to the river when we can. As people who know us are aware. Earlier this week we spotted this handsome guy munching berries in a tree. Evelyn identified him as a Red-bellied woodpecker. Not really in the “blue” theme but still a handsome boy:

Handsome Red-bellied woodpecker. Although it's tempting to take credit for the good "timing" of this shot (berry in mouth) anyone who takes a lot of outdoor pictures can tell you that's mostly luck. But it's still a fun picture.

Handsome Red-bellied woodpecker. I’d like to take credit for the “timing” here (berry in mouth) but anyone who takes outdoor pictures can tell you that’s luck. But still a fun picture.

More soon! Have a great day,


About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Birds, Fun, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!) and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Late fall blues

  1. Marion J Brown says:

    The kingfisher is one of my favorite birds.

  2. Hi Marion!
    And thanks for the note. I LOVE kingfishers – but they are nearly impossible (for me) to photograph. When they stop it’s for an instant. I was fortunate to get that one. I see them all the time but almost can never get a picture. Merry Christmas and tell John I said hello,


  3. Pingback: PP Fauna | NEWFAZE

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