I’ll have to ruminate on it

13 March, 2016            I’ll have to ruminate on it

I’ve actually watched a deer ruminate at Pony Pasture twice this week, and today I took a shaky five second video. Here’s a still photograph from when I first saw it, on Tuesday:

Graceful whitetail caught in ungraceful mid-chew.

Graceful whitetail caught in ungraceful mid-chew.

There was a herd of five deer in the woods that day, around noon. They’re often in that spot around mid-day. So first I took that picture of the doe chewing her cud, but they stayed around for nearly twenty minutes – and I kept taking pictures. I’m fond of this one. It’s an adult deer grooming a fawn. The fawn is in the center of the picture, looking directly at the camera over its mother’s back. The mother is facing away from the camera, you can see her ears pointed back, and her pink tongue licking the fawn’s head:

A mother deer (back to the camera) grooms her fawn (facing the camera)

A mother deer (back to the camera) grooms her fawn (facing the camera)

This is the video of the deer chewing her cud today. It’s shaky but I love it. It’s amazing she was calm enough to do that with five dogs staring at her:

If you know the right spots, you can see a bluebird any month of the year in Richmond. But now they’re getting their breeding plumage and the migrants are coming in. I saw this one perched on a branch in western Henrico earlier this week:

Pretty bluebird warming up in the morning sun in western Henrico

Pretty bluebird warming up in the morning sun in western Henrico

The Westbury Drive area Red-tails are becoming more active. And a lot louder! They’re quiet as I type this (Sunday evening) but this morning they were right across the street, screaming their heads off. They sounded like overgrown bluejays. Here’s one from earlier this week. This one was perched in a poplar across the street. I stood on my front walk and took this picture:

When you watch hawks, hawks watch you back.

When watching hawks, hawks watch back. I don’t think hawks ever smile. 

I currently have two favorite songbirds – bluebirds and chickadees – and two favorite raptors – Red-tailed hawks and ospreys. Our Red-tails are not migratory – they’re resident birds. Ospreys are well-known migrators. They only eat fish, and when the water freezes they can’t eat, so they go south for the winter. Typically to northern South America. I was gratified yesterday afternoon when I visited a nesting site on Parham Road. The last time I photographed one was late August of last year. It’s great to see them back again. See that plant growing just in front of the bird on the nest? They just arrived and are doing real-life “spring cleaning”:

Pair of ospreys returning and cleaning up their nest

Pair of ospreys returning and cleaning up their nest

Daffodils (a.k.a. “jonquils”) are a signature spring flower in central Virginia:

If you're uncertain it's Spring, let go of that uncertainty. This was in the woods, not in a garden.

If you’re uncertain it’s Spring, let go of that uncertainty. This was in the woods, not in a garden.

And there is hardly a living animal (except perhaps a rabbit) more closely associated with Spring than the American Robin. They’re a twelve-month bird here in Richmond but a lot of migrants are appearing:

The iconic bird of spring

The iconic bird of spring

Ditto for mallards. This relaxed (looking) pair was paddling along the creek at Pony Pasture: 

Baby mallards will be along soon.

Baby mallards will be along soon.

I took a semi-cute picture of a chickadee this week. When I’m hiking at Pony Pasture (or when I’m looking out my front window) there are chickadees in sight almost 100% of the time. But they rarely stop moving for more than about a second and a half, and then it’s not in good light. This wasn’t bad:

Chickadees are not posers.

Chickadees are not posers.

Mockingbirds are another year round resident, but all the birds are beginning to pair off and show off and they look better in Spring than at any other time of year. The light’s getting nicer too. Here’s a pretty one I saw this week:

Sometimes I think they post on purpose.

Sometimes I think they pose on purpose.

Among my favorite spring trees is the diminutive redbud; you don’t see them everywhere. There’s a small strip of them at Pony Pasture on the southern border of the Wetlands/pasture. So it’s facing north, and doesn’t get a lot of light or warmth. That’s acceptable for redbuds; they’re an “understory” tree. The buds were just coming out this morning; they weren’t there at all Thursday. They’ll open up more over the next couple of weeks:

Immune to imitation

Immune to imitation

I have a couple more pictures I could use, but nothing spectacular. I’m excited to see spring becoming more assertive each day. Come back next week! All best, 

Jay 

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, Bryan Park, daffodils, Flowers, Fun, James River, mockingbirds, ospreys, Pony Pasture, raptors, Red-tailed hawks, Rivers, robin, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!), whitetail deer and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to I’ll have to ruminate on it

  1. Pingback: “Well that’s a blessing!” | NEWFAZE

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