24 July, 2016 SSDW – “Same Stuff, Different Week”
If you’re bored with mundane outdoor photography from central Virginia, especially Barred Owls and Ospreys, today’s blog entry is SSDW. That being said, I was fortunate to get a decent picture of a large mammal at Pony Pasture Thursday around lunchtime:
Speaking of whitetail deer in Virginia, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries published a fascinating Virginia Deer Management Plan last year. It’s a ten year long plan, begun last year, to address the problems and benefits of our state’s large whitetail deer population. I find it interesting; perhaps you will too:
As you’re aware (painfully aware, possibly) if you’ve seen this blog at all, Barred Owls (Strix varia) have been abundant at Pony Pasture this year since Spring. Earlier in the year when they were younger and less mobile, you were practically guaranteed a look at one if you knew the right spots. Now the trees are leafy and the owls are ranging farther up and down the creek, but there are still quite a few in the park. I took the deer picture (above) in the Wetlands at 11:56 AM on Tuesday. Thirty-eight minutes later, at 12:34, Mackey and Turner and I had almost made it back to the parking lot when this gorgeous specimen swooped over our heads and perched on a vine:
I was in nearly the same spot Thursday when I saw this one on a branch, looking back. This is within hearing distance of the parking lot. It’s not a brilliant image but if you look on the right side near the top, there’s a male Northern Cardinal (if you see a Cardinal in Virginia, it’s a Northern Cardinal) looking through the leaves:
The more time you spend at Pony Pasture, the more it reveals itself to you. If you do a bit of research it will really reveal itself to you. The host plant for Zebra Swallowtails (Protographium marcellus) is the Pawpaw (Asimina triloba). The pawpaw is probably the most widespread understory tree in Pony Pasture. I call this picture “symbiosis”:
Pawpaw fruit will be everywhere (and edible) at Pony Pasture very soon – within a couple of weeks. If you’re curious about pawpaws – they’re fascinating – you can click the link above, which goes to the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation page for pawpaws. But as my research progressed I found an informative site called the Blue Ridge Discovery Center. That site had the nicest piece of writing I’ve yet found on this subject. You can read it here at Connections: The Pawpaw Tree and the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly.
We had dinner with an out-of-town friend this evening and I’m running late so I’m going to wrap this up. These rabbits were in our front yard on Tuesday – Evelyn’s birthday!:
Yesterday it was so hot – I am not making this up – the ospreys were panting!:
It’s amazing, but Evelyn has our gardenias looking and smelling divine, even in this other-than-divine weather. This was the same day those ospreys were panting:
This was the same day too, just early in the morning. The Red Maple in our front yard glows in the morning, before the heat rises to full force:
This dragonfly was at the river this morning when Mackey and Turner and Yuki and I were hiking. Today I actually sent it in to bugguide.net for identification but haven’t yet heard back. Next week! But here it is:
Here’s a tiny cluster of pawpaws I photographed this morning. I believe they’ll be edible this week or next:
Have a great week! It’s cool and shady at the river!