Keeping your water dry

9 October, 2016            Keeping your water dry

It was raining so hard in Hopewell, VA yesterday – I swear I’m not making this up – I saw a guy walking down the street holding an umbrella over a shrink-wrapped twelve pack of Aquafina water bottles. It was just the way he happened to be carrying the umbrella and the water bottles, but I couldn’t help smiling. He was using an umbrella to keep the rain off his water. 

It was appropriate that the race logo had a ship on it:

Finisher's medal - Hopewell Sprint Tri - 2016

Finisher’s medal – Hopewell Sprint Tri – 2016

Andrew and I raced in the Hopewell Sprint Triathlon yesterday. We left the house for Hopewell yesterday morning at 5:30 in a pitch-black, solid, downpour. When we arrive in Hopewell forty-five minutes later it hadn’t let up. The 650 meter swim (less than half a mile) was in the Appomattox River. It rained the whole time. The fifteen mile bike was two circuits of downtown Hopewell. Kept raining, but at least it was warm. The 5k run was also in downtown Hopewell. That’s where I was when I saw the guy holding the umbrella, keeping the rain off his bottled water.

Andrew got a selfie of the two of us at breakfast at the Hopewell Quick Lunch, in business since 1927:

Andrew & me, post-race chow-down at the Hopewell Quick Lunch

Andrew & me, post-race chow-down at the Hopewell Quick Lunch

That’s the only pictures from the day – it rained non-stop. Here’s something incredible – I was fourth in my age group! There were only four people in my age group, but still. I only missed third place by four minutes. I’ll have to work harder next year! 

Ophidiophobes – those with an abnormal fear of snakes – be warned. I was at Bryan Park this week and photographed a Northern Water Snake. I also photographed an Eastern Phoebe sitting on a frisbee golf basket. I’ll put that before the snake. So you’ll be prepared. Here’s the phoebe:

Eastern Phoebe on a frisbee golf basket

Eastern Phoebe on a frisbee golf basket

One more pre-snake reprieve – thanks to Evelyn our nasturtiums continue to thrive: 

Nasturtium in our yard - what an amazing sight for October

Nasturtium in our yard – what an amazing sight for October

Now the snake – same day as the phoebe, same park, almost within sight of that frisbee golf basket:

October Water Snake at Bryan Park

October Water Snake at Bryan Park

A couple of more birds and another hasty, lame apology for the thin content of this post – my only excuses are feeble ones so I’ll skip them. This week I did see a Red-bellied woodpecker on my feeder for the first time ever:

Red-bellied woodpecker on the feeder outside my window!

Red-bellied woodpecker on the feeder outside my window!

This bird has a bit more significance for me. I was surprised to see a Red-bellied woodpecker on the feeder, but it’s a familiar bird for me. I first misidentified it as a Flicker, but that was just a miss on my part. I know both birds. I came home and saw this bird on my feeder for the first time on September 29. I had no idea what it was! I finally figured out that it’s a Brown-headed nuthatch (Sitta pusilla). The thing that really got me is, before I saw that, I had no idea there was such a bird. I thought sure I knew every small bird in central Virginia. Not so! Pretty little bird:

Brown-headed nuthatch - a lifetime first for me!

Brown-headed nuthatch – a lifetime first for me!

I don’t like to promise when I’m not sure if I can deliver, but I hope next week I’ll add some content at the end. Have a great 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, Flowers, Fun, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!), Snakes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Keeping your water dry

  1. Bob Parker says:

    Hi Jay, Another interesting blog. Several comments: Red-bellied Woodpeckers were common visitors to my bird feeder at our previous house. We don’t have one now so I just depend on Mother Nature to bring the birds around, however I see the Red-bellies quite often. The Brown-headed Nuthatch is a show stopper for me. I’ve never seen one. My bird book calls them uncommon. I think you were at the right place at the right time. Lastly, a water snake in October??? That’s interesting.
    Keep up the good work.
    Bob Parker

  2. Hi Bob, And thanks for the note. I was surprised to see that Red-belly on my feeder. I’ve been on another page and a person had a picture of a Pileated on theirs; that’s what I’m REALLY hoping for! The Brown-headed nuthatch, I didn’t even know such a bird existed. I’ve read they’re “piney” and I have tall pines here. I’m also told by a birder friend that they’re common at U of R, which has lots of big pines. As for the water snake in October, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I couldn’t believe it. And I went back earlier this week and it was there again! It’s at the bottom of the dam, right at the outflow, so I’m sure the temperature change there is limited.

    I have a GREAT picture (only one so far, alas) for this week’s blog post – I’m looking forward to putting it up Sunday.

    Thanks again for the note and have a great rest of the week,

    Jay

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s