SSDW – “Same Stuff, Different Week”

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:

Peaceful gaze from a Whitetail Deer at Pony Pasture

Peaceful gaze from a Whitetail Deer at Pony Pasture

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: 

Virginia Deer Management Plan, 2015-2024

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:

Yet another handsome owl at Pony Pasture

Yet another handsome Barred Owl at Pony Pasture

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:

Barred Owl on the left, Cardinal on the right

Barred Owl on the left, Cardinal on the right

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”:

Symbiosis - a Zebra Swallowtail on its host plant, a Pawpaw

Symbiosis – a Zebra Swallowtail on its host plant, a Pawpaw

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!:

Young cottontail rabbits munching on the fresh grass in the morning

Young cottontail rabbits munching on the fresh grass in the morning

Yesterday it was so hot – I am not making this up – the ospreys were panting!:

Panting ospreys. You just know it has to be hot in that nest.

Panting ospreys. You just know it has to be hot in that nest.

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:

If you're going to pant, it's good to do it with your nose in a gardenia.

If you’re going to pant, it’s good to do it with your nose in a gardenia.

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:

There is no question this Red Maple is thriving

There is no question this Red Maple is thriving. That is a thing of beauty. 

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:

All dragonflies are elegant and graceful

All dragonflies are elegant and graceful

Here’s a tiny cluster of pawpaws I photographed this morning. I believe they’ll be edible this week or next:

These will be edible really soon!

These will be edible really soon!

Have a great week! It’s cool and shady at the river!

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

One Response to SSDW – “Same Stuff, Different Week”

  1. Gilpin Brown says:

    Yet more great photos!

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