Some days

20 July, 2014              Some days

 

Some days when you’re committed to a post a week, you come up to Sunday afternoon and you don’t have anything to post. Some days you have a lot to write, some days a lot of pictures, this or that. I’ve been uninspired this week when it comes to blogging. My brothers both had birthdays this week so that was fun, and Evie’s was yesterday, and that was even more fun. If you’ve noticed over the three years of this blog I don’t photograph people well and I don’t photograph indoors well so I stay away from that. I met Kevin and his family at the Carter Park Municipal Pool in Ashland for a swim meet and had a ton of fun – but didn’t take pictures. At the North Richmond YMCA this week with Ethan I saw a bluebird; I can never resist a picture:

Bluebird on a blue rail

Bluebird on a blue rail

And hiking at the river earlier this week I came face to face with this handsome young buck:

Shy little guy - see his little antlers?

Shy little guy – see his little antlers?

For comparison, I took this picture last year at Pony Pasture. Make no mistake, this is a freak of nature. To think that this animal lives inside Richmond city limits is mind-boggling. If you see a whitetail deer in Pony Pasture you can be pretty certain it shares some of this dude’s DNA:

I still can't get over the way this guy looks. That's w/in ~5 minutes walk from the big parking lot. Incredible.

I still can’t get over the way this guy looks. That’s w/in ~5 minutes walk from the big parking lot. Incredible.

 

I don’t recall July being such a prolific month outdoors in past years. This week the woods and fields have been full. This zebra swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus) was modeling at Pony Pasture a few minutes before I saw that buck (the small one, not the monster):

Zebra swallowtail. What an amazing beauty.

Zebra swallowtail. What an amazing beauty.

Some people click on the links I provide; others move on. If you chose not to click on that link, here is a piece of info I found interesting: “Caterpillar Hosts: Shrubs of the genus Asimina (pawpaw) in the Annonaceae family. Young plants are preferred.” Pawpaws are the most prolific tree in Pony Pasture. While reading the information about the zebra swallowtail I also learned this: “Adult Food: Moisture from sand…”. That was especially interesting  since this morning when Ev and the dogs and I were hiking, we saw one standing in the wet sand on the river’s edge. I took a nice picture of that one as well but take my word for it – leaves make a much prettier background.

 

Pony Pasture wasn’t the only place with a lot to see this week. Wednesday morning around 9:30 I was driving south on Parham from Interstate 64 and I turned onto a residential street. A hawk swooped over and landed on a soccer goal post. I pulled over and rolled down my window and got this picture:

The Brazilian soccer team could have used this guy when they played Germany.

The Brazilian soccer team could have used this guy when they played Germany.

I believe that is a red-tailed hawk. But I confuse them with red-shouldered hawks regularly. Handsome whatever it is.

 

When there’s that kind of action in a busy place like the edge of Parham Road, Pony Pasture is just wild. I see toads at Pony Pasture nearly every visit in this weather but often find them difficult to photograph. They stay away from bright light. Two this morning were more cooperative than usual:

Holding down a blade of grass

Holding down a blade of grass

 

Holding down a log

Holding down a log

This cicada is from earlier in the week, in the middle of the field at Pony Pasture:

Noisemaker

Noisemaker

This is the first year I’ve delved this deeply into insect identification. The link above is to a site called “Cicada Mania.” Perhaps you’ve noticed in earlier blog posts how much information I’ve turned up regarding dragonflies. If I assumed that exhaustive focus was confined to dragonflies and damselflies (odonates) I was incorrect. The name “Cicada Mania” is sufficient to express the level of enthusiasm for that branch of the insect world. There are a lot of people deeply engrossed in a lot of arcane matters. Perhaps some day I will cease to be amazed. But not any time soon.

 

The showy and sweet smelling flowers of spring are long gone but early summer still has a few to offer. Only showy ones, I believe that sweet smelling flowers are done for 2014. This bee couldn’t resist this beckoning morning glory:

Flying toward a flower

Flying toward a flower

There are mosquitoes at Pony Pasture although they’re not out in force yet. That comes in a month or two. The spiders are putting out their welcome mats:

Some animals LOVE mosquitoes! For breakfast.

Some animals LOVE mosquitoes! For breakfast.

This food chain is remarkable. Another thing that perhaps in the future will cease to amaze me – but not soon. Every time I look up – speaking figuratively, but almost literally – I am reminded yet again how life lives on life. How much everything eats everything. How much birds eat frogs eat bugs which eat other bugs, and fish eat bugs, and dragonflies eat baby fish and baby frogs and each other, eagles eat fish, something must eat turtles, there is just so much life. Not to mention bats and snakes and rabbits and chipmunks and voles and squirrels – there are so many calories out there.

 

These Eastern Pondhawks gobble up a lot of bugs – they even eat other dragonflies!:

Eastern Pondhawk. Isn't that a great looking insect?

Eastern Pondhawk. Isn’t that a great looking insect?

I saw a pretty female ebony jewelwing just as I was leaving the park Thursday:

Female Ebony Jewelwing. So pretty.

Female Ebony Jewelwing. So pretty.

I’ve mentioned I have a niece in Guinea (west Africa) with the Peace Corps. I mentioned her in a couple of sentences in my March 25, 2014 blog post Easy to be happy. If you have a few minutes – or more – take a look at her blog here: Piglet in Guinea. There’s a particular recent post I’ve thought about a lot. When we need something to work in the yard with or on our house, we go up to Home Depot or Lowe’s or Pleasant’s and pick up what we need. She’s doing primarily agricultural work (people need to eat) and needed a hoe. So the blacksmith forged one for her! I sometimes forget just how easy I have it here. What an experience. When I googled “dobba hoe” the search said “including results for donna home” and the first hit was for Donna Karan Home and said “Enjoy the comfort of Donna Karan Home luxury bedding and bath collections.” So there’s still a little bit of a cultural disconnect but we’re all making progress all the time.

 

I could digress a lot. But I’ll save that for a more appropriate time. Here’s a link that shows her excellent dobba hoe. And what she’s using it for. Her blog posts are in English but the title of this one is in French (I encourage you to take a look). It’s called PEPINIERE DE REBOISEMENT. I used google translate – that means “REFORESTATION NURSERY.” So cool.

 

Have a great week, all best,

 

Jay

 

PS I’ll close with a picture of the birthday girl and me and the boys at the river this morning:

Happy Birthday my love!

Happy Birthday my love!

 

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 Dogs, Endurance, Flowers, Fun, People, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!) and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Some days

  1. Gilpin Brown says:

    More WONDERFUL photography!! My favorite is the Eastern Pondhawk.
    Gilpin

  2. Hi Gilpin!
    Glad you enjoyed the photography! I love that Eastern Pondhawk too – those greens are so bright. The Zebra Swallowtail came out well too. I wish the light had been better on that cicada, that’s a nice looking insect. The bee-by-the-morning-glory shot was a fun one too. I wish I’d gotten the bee in a little better focus but it’s still a cheerful shot.

    Thanks for the note and have a great day,

    Jay

  3. Pingback: PP Fauna | NEWFAZE

  4. Pingback: Some days, revisited | NEWFAZE

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