Return of the guest photographer

2 April, 2017            Return of the guest photographer

Guest photographer gets osprey with a fish, first time he takes the lens cap off

Guest photographer at work. See how far away that tower is? Do you know how hard it is to take that picture? Incredible.

Some of you may remember my old friend Ethan, who took a truly spectacular picture of a Northern water snake at Bryan Park three years ago. He and his family moved to Missouri last summer, but they were in Richmond this week and he borrowed my camera and took that picture of an osprey with a fish. I hadn’t seen any with a fish this year. Ethan travels a thousand miles, suggests we go out looking for pictures, and we find one the first time we take the lens cap off. Maybe I need a good luck Cam Newton jersey. 

Ethan and I also discovered Richmond’s falcon camera while he was here. You can see it yourself at Richmond falcon cam. It’s incredible. I just looked at it – it’s after 10:00 PM – and there’s a peregrine falcon sitting on the edge. Ethan and I took a screenshot with my iphone Tuesday just when we discovered it. Take a look:

Falcon cam screen shot

I have (once again) fallen victim to my own poor organizational skill. But I got a lot of pictures I enjoyed this week, especially today. So I’ll just throw them up here with a minimum of blather and work (in theory, anyway) to be more organized next week.

I didn’t get this deer today, but I love interacting with the deer herd at Pony Pasture, and they were browsing away near Charlie’s Bridge on Thursday at around noon:

An easily identifiable member of Pony Pasture’s resident deer herd

As I arrived at Pony Pasture Thursday (shortly before I photographed the deer) I looked across the river and saw one of the Williams Island pair (probably the male):

Williams Island Bald Eagle

As soon as we began the hike, we came across this rowdy crowd on the rocks near the main parking lot:

Turkey vulture (left), black vulture (center and bottom), and a crow (right) – it sounded like a fish crow.

Flowers are bursting out everywhere at Pony Pasture. Constantly. This only happens once a year; it’s fleeting. I love these pictures, but to see these flowers and have the breeze on your face and the chickadees chattering and the cardinals chipping and the redtails screaming in the background (sometimes in the foreground) is a treat that can only be experienced when you’re in the park. And there are zero mosquitoes right now. And there may be poison ivy but I haven’t seen it yet. It is priceless to visit that park in April.

Here’s one beauty – I took this trout lily picture Thursday:

Trout lily at Pony Pasture. The leaves are as striking as the flowers.

The same day, I took this daffodil picture. This daffodil was just popping its head up out of a tangle of brush on the riverbank. This flower would win any flower show hands down. And it’s growing on the riverbank at Pony Pasture:

That is as spectacular a flower as you will ever see, anywhere. And it’s growing wild in Pony Pasture.

Bluebells are out in force now too – they’re worth a visit by themselves:

Our bluebells are spectacular

Speaking of flowers – some of you may have seen a flower I didn’t identify in last week’s Thanks Kathy! blog post. In the caption under the flower I wroteAn unidentified insect on an unidentified flower. I am doubly embarrassed to say. Unspectacular image too.My sister Katie ID’d the flower in the comments section of that blog post – just click on the link and go to the bottom and read if you’d like to be enlightened.

The sky was bright, bright blue this morning, and I was seduced into taking pictures and using it as a backdrop. The quality of this redbud picture is marginal but the contrast is beyond compare. I think I was so smitten with the background that I didn’t pay attention to the subject:

Even now at night in my office I have a hard time taking my eyes off of this

Pawpaw buds are (in my opinion) a bit homely, but this blue sky makes everything glorious:

Pawpaw buds look great against that blue sky

I rode my bike at West Creek this afternoon; there were a few killdeer on the edge of the lake as I was leaving. Killdeer are always skittish and this is an imperfect image but they’re beautiful, cheerful, energetic birds and they always make me smile. Hopefully I’ll get a higher quality image soon:

Killdeer allowing me a glimpse this afternoon at West Creek

Speaking of birds that make me smile. I pick up Yuki (the big white German Shepherd) at a friend’s house on the way to the river. As I was dropping him off today, I noticed the doves had returned to her yard for nesting. I snapped this picture as I left. I thought it was just an adult dove when I took the picture. It wasn’t until I got home and saw it on my monitor that I realized there was a baby in there. See its little eye down there on the right? Who could not be amazed by all this – it’s just remarkable:

Adult dove in foreground with a tiny dove low on the right. They both have the same reflection in their eyes. Look closely. Zoom in.

Evelyn’s traveling this week, which is part of the reason I’m disorganized. I’m in charge of watering the pansies:

I’m in charge of watering these. Keep your fingers crossed.

I am up way past my bedtime. Have an outstanding week! All best, 



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

3 Responses to Return of the guest photographer

  1. Bob Parker says:

    Hi Jay,
    Great blog as usual. Glad you mentioned the Falcon cam. Have been enjoying it since an article in the RTD a week or so ago. Did you know there is also an Osprey cam? It’s, just as interesting.
    Thanks for your great prose and photography.
    Bob Parker

    • Hi Bob!
      And thank you for your kind words. I’ve seen the osprey cams, but I like the ospreys best when I see them myself. Although I don’t get that looking-down-from-above perspective. I never know the egg situation! Hopefully I’ll see heads poking above the tops of these nests soon.
      This week’s blog post came out well too, though some of it on a slightly different tack. But I had a real great “session” with a Red-tail. Have a great week,


  2. Pingback: Let somebody else do the heavy lifting! | NEWFAZE

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