I had no idea!

21 June, 2015          I had no idea!

This week I had no idea what I was going to write about! Fortunately I caught a couple of decent photographs to make up for my lack of creativity. Here’s my favorite: 

An inscrutable expression. A bit worried, a bit of a frown. I believe that is a youngster.

An inscrutable expression. A bit worried, a bit of a frown. I believe that is a youngster.

I didn’t even take that at Pony Pasture! I took that next door to my house when the dogs and I got home from a walk last week! We came around the corner and the dogs practically knocked me off my feet trying to get to my next door neighbor’s trash can. Which they normally ignore. But that little guy – I think it’s a youngster – jumped out of the trash can and grabbed a low-hanging cedar limb. I put the dogs in my backyard, went inside and got my flashlight and camera and came back out – and it was still there! That was a fun picture.

The dragonflies and damselflies are out in force at Pony Pasture now. Everything is out in force at Pony Pasture now. I was hiking with a buddy earlier this week and there were three Blue-fronted dancers (Argia apicalis) (a common damselfly) lined up on a log. Here’s one that photographed well: 

Blue-fronted dancer (Argia apicalis) at Pony Pasture.

Blue-fronted dancer (Argia apicalis) at Pony Pasture.

I saw a new flower this week as well. When I began my “Every living thing” project late last year I was fastidious about identifying and posting everything. I’ve fallen behind on both. My primary sources for identifying plants are (presented here in random order) Evelyn, Betsy, Kim, Katie and Marion. I haven’t showed this flower to any of them! So watch this space for an ID soon: 

Boy that is such a beautiful flower. You'd think it would be mobbed by pollinators.

Boy that is just such a beautiful flower. You’d think it would be mobbed by eager pollinators.

[[This just in – thank you to Anne Wright – an expert fact checker if ever there was one! She identified that graceful and delicate plant as American water-willow (Justicia americana). Thank you again! Also, I presume since it’s “americana” that it’s a native, which we love to see at Pony Pasture.]]

Here’s another non-Pony Pasture picture from this week. Eastern Towhees are not (to my knowledge) feeder birds. But this youngster landed on my window feeder last week then dropped down under the little boxwood in front of my office: 

Young Eastern towhee under a boxwood in front of my office window.

Young Eastern towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) under a boxwood in front of my office window.

Also – while I’m putting up non-Pony Pasture pictures – I took this on Wednesday near Brown’s Island. These tadpoles are growing legs – and growing larger – in a puddle under a footbridge near the parking lot: 

Tadpoles near Brown's Island. See the feet? And the spots?

Tadpoles near Brown’s Island. See the feet? And the spots?

The same day I “got” that damselfly picture I hiked a short distance down the riverbank and saw a five-lined skink (Plestiodon fasciatus) darting along a tree trunk. I’ve seen them at Pony Pasture before but this is the first one I’ve ever photographed. So it will be added to Every Living Thing! Blue river in the background:

Skink on a mossy log at the edge of the river

Skink on a mossy log at the edge of the river

I haven’t seen the hawks near my house today (Sunday), but they were very busy yesterday. At one point they were in a Loblolly pine in my backyard! Both of them! But I was rushing (which I avoid whenever possible) and didn’t get a picture. I came home several hours later and they were both at Freeman. Here’s one on the light above right field on the baseball diamond:

Neighborhood hawk. It's great to have them around.

Neighborhood hawk. It’s great to have them around. Unless you’re a neighborhood rabbit. Or chipmunk. 

I was also fortunate to get a decent but not spectacular photo of one flying. Bear with me  (please) while I practice: 

Slightly improved flying hawk picture

Slightly improved flying hawk picture

I also caught a picture of the pair flying. These are not high quality images, but I’m improving slowly. As a photographer, the challenge in taking pictures of soaring birds is that the sun is normally behind them. And I am not sufficiently good at photography to get good backlit images. But this isn’t bad:

Pair of hawks soaring above my house. Our neighborhood is nearly overrun with cottontail rabbits. The hawks will help restore balance.

Pair of hawks soaring above my house. Our neighborhood is nearly overrun with cottontail rabbits. The hawks will help restore balance.

I believe I will close this week’s post. And be a bit more creative next week!

Wait – today (June 21, 2015) is Father’s Day (yay! Congratulations to all the great fathers I know plus fathers to be plus my favorite one ever, rest in peace dad). In addition to being Father’s Day, this is the Summer Solstice. Here in the northern hemisphere, it’s the longest day. For true weenies (I number myself among them), this is the day when the sun is directly above the Tropic of Cancer.  That happened at 12:39 EDT today, or 4:39 PM (1639) UTC. Since the first day of winter in the northern hemisphere (late December), the sun has gradually crept higher in the sky every day. It reached its highest point today at 12:39. Now, every day until late December, its highest point will be a little bit lower. So for six months the days have grown longer. Beginning today, they grow shorter. But they’ll all have sunrises and sunsets! And I intend to enjoy as many as possible! I hope you do too!

All best,

Jay 

PS Thanks to Evelyn’s careful pruning, the battered roses in my yard continue to flourish. I took this picture Thursday (same day as the skink and the damselfly): 

Beautiful old rose climbing a trellis next to our garage.

Beautiful old rose climbing a trellis next to our garage.

PPS Late addition. My father holding me some time in 1962. I was born in August, 1961. Dad’s father took this picture. My dad died almost three years ago. And I think of him literally every time I work on a blog post. And a lot of times when I don’t. Having him for a father is the greatest thing that ever happened to me: 

My late father holding me in 1962. Picture taken by his father.

My late father holding me in 1962. Picture taken by his father.

 

 

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, Flowers, Fun, Insects, James River, Pony Pasture, Raccoons, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!) and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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