Up close and personal

11 June, 2017        Up close and personal


I was dropping a buddy off near Bon Air Wednesday afternoon when we came around a corner and saw this gorgeous Red-tail sitting on the side of the street, just sitting down to  lunch:

Roadside Red-tail with an unfortunate squirrel

It’s not impossible that Red-tail killed that squirrel. But this time of year it’s equally or more likely the squirrel got hit by a car and the Red-tail grabbed a quick free meal. There are lots of young squirrels around and they get hit by cars all the time right now. 

I “got” a “double” on ospreys the same day, from long distance, near Stony Point. I was parked at Fulton Bank trying to get those ospreys but couldn’t get a decent angle. I like two on a nest though:

“Double” ospreys from long range near Stony Point

I drove across the Willey Bridge and photographed this single osprey from the West End Assembly of God: 

Lone osprey at West End Assembly of God

All in the same day – there was a lot going on – I was driving in Hollywood Cemetery with another buddy (it’s a great place to watch trains) and we spotted a mockingbird on a tombstone:

Cemetery mockingbird

So that’s the Red-tail with the squirrel, the double osprey, the single osprey and the mockingbird all on the same day. All in about the same ninety minutes. That was roughly two weeks before the Summer Solstice; it would not be incorrect to say that things are “heating up.”  

I should say enough with the junky out of focus pictures of ospreys from way too far away. It was drizzly Monday before I snapped this image of one of Evelyn’s spectacular gardenias in our front bed. Which you can smell perfectly when we stand on the front porch. And even better when she cuts them and makes arrangements in our living room our dining room or kitchen or back porch:

“Everything’s better when wet” – Steve Miller Band

My inner nerd gets out of control disconcertingly often. Not that it’s ever really in control, come to think of it. Friday morning at 9:00 I was parked in Glen Allen and the sky was unbroken blue and I saw a contrail really, really high. Just a white line with a dot in front. I have a few apps on my phone that tell what planes are overhead. I got it out and took a screen shot. This was the plane:

See the plane in the middle? It’s the one making that contrail

This is the contrail. This is what a plane looks like at 37,000 feet (7 miles) overhead. For reference, that plane would be about 8,000 feet (1.5 miles) above the top of Mount Everest:  

That’s what a plane looks like that’s 37,000 feet in the air.


That’s an Airbus A320. Incredible.  

Enough already! Ev and I went to Blacksburg this weekend to visit my brother Shane and his lovely wife and handsome son. His name is Wesson and the photo credit for this one goes to Evelyn:

Picture Evelyn took this morning of my amazing nephew Wesson. We should all have that attitude. Look at him. Two words: no coffee. Can you even believe it? 

We had Mackey and Turner with us; their dog’s name is Tara, and the three of them play (and hike) well together:

Tara, Turner, Mackey, posse in effect

Here are two pictures of Mackey – he can do both these roles. The first picture is from when we were hiking yesterday on Little Stony Creek near Blacksburg. It was hot and Mackey hopped in the creek to cool off: 

When it’s hot and you’re hiking, hop in the water

And when you get back to the house, it’s time to relax: 

Mackey can be comfortable in any environment

So that was a long overnight trip and yet again I am running short on energy and time. Have a great week! Come back next 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 Birds, coffee, Dogs, Flowers, Fun, James River, mockingbirds, ospreys, People, raptors, Red-tailed hawks, Rivers, Shenandoah Valey, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!) and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Up close and personal

  1. Rob Martin says:

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful experiences. Life’s simple pleasures are the best!

    • Hi Rob,
      And thanks for the note – I’m glad you enjoyed the blog. You are absolutely correct – life’s simple pleasures are the best. When we were in Blacksburg, the dogs woke me up early (5:15 AM) so I took them outside for a brief walk. It was still pitch black, but the full moon was setting in the west and Venus was rising in the east. Perfect way to start the day.

      Thanks again for the note and have an excellent week,


  2. Jackie says:

    Love the pictures, love that baby!
    Happy child, so glad you had a great
    weekend, beautiful area!

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