10 June, 2018            largesse

This one is called “Right place/Right time” because that’s how I took it. More luck than skill. 

largesse also lar·gess  : noun

1 : generous giving

2 : a generous gift – Merriam Webster Word Central

It’s the rain. Richmond’s CBS affiliate WTVR Channel 6 television said “May 2018 set new weather records” and “Richmond International Airport received 10.35″ of rainfall, making it the wettest May in Richmond weather history, which goes back to 1872.” There are birds and flowers and lush growth everywhere I look. As I type these words (Sunday evening) it’s pouring again. Here’s a gardenia Ev’s growing in the backyard. I took this picture at 7:45 this morning (it rained more than an inch last night). Talk about “largesse”:

If this was food I’d never eat anything else

I’m reading a beautiful book called Welcome to Subirdia: Sharing Our Neighborhoods with Wrens, Robins, Woodpeckers, and Other Wildlife by John Marzluff. Mr. Marzluff is (in my opinion) a pragmatic optimist, a worldview I share. He doesn’t discount the effects of climate change and is keenly aware of problems with the environment and possible future impacts. But in this book he primarily focuses on things we’re doing well, that we may not be aware of. Many American suburbs are helping bird populations, both in number and variety. Here is a quote he used from Aldo Leopold. This is the opening phrase in Chapter 9, “Good Neighbors”: “We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”A Sand County Almanac (1949).    

This is a fragrant magnolia blossom hanging over our driveway:

“Sugar Magnolia blossom’s blooming” – Grateful Dead, 1970

I’ve had some busy “hawk weeks” so far in 2018 – today is the last day of the 23rd week – but this has to be the busiest. The pair of Red-tails I photographed at the top I took on Friday morning in western Henrico at 9:10. This Red-shoulder I photographed 45 minutes earlier, precisely one mile (on the road) away. Flying distance is probably 1,200 yards:

Red-shoulder Friday morning

After seeing Shane’s bird feeders in Blacksburg last weekend, I decided I needed to add something to mine. My intention is to get a good photograph of an Eastern Towhee but it hasn’t happened yet. A bluejay posed one afternoon though:

Good looking bird

I took this one at 5:00 PM today. It is generally a miserable image but there were four male goldfinches on my feeders at the same time. You may see that a lot but it’s a first for me. More largesse from the rain:

Look at that – four male goldfinches! At one time! Talk about “largesse”

Speaking of largesse from the rain, whatever eats mosquitoes must be fat and happy. We could barely stop on the path at the river (in certain spots) this morning. But I snapped a quick image of the boys:

They never complain – but they didn’t want to stop

Friday was an absolute binge day for raptors. The opening picture on this post wasn’t the only one I took of that pair. Here’s a bluejay buzzing them (at a respectful distance):

Bluejay respectfully inspecting raptors:

And this was the same minute – it looks like they’re planning something. Perhaps this is meant to keep that bluejay guessing about their intentions:

Sure looks like a consultation

As an aside, look at the colors of the tails on the squirrels in our yard. Not sure what’s driving this – maybe they’re eating too much bird seed: 

Odd squirrel tail colors in our yard

One more picture. Ev was telling a friend about the elderberry bushes beside our driveway. We had someone plant them for us in the Spring of last year. When they went in they were just below my waist. So this is roughly twelve months later:

Maybe the squirrels are eating elderberries!

Have a great week! All best,


PS RAAM or Race Across America begins Tuesday, 6/12 at 3:00 PM EDT in Oceanside, CA. If you have any interest in endurance athletics, check it out. I believe it is among the most difficult endurance events anywhere. I’ve never done either one but I’ll bet it would be easier to climb Mt. Everest without oxygen. Check it out – it is astounding.   

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, Blue Jays, Dogs, Flowers, Fun, Gardenias, grateful dead, James River, Pony Pasture, raptors, red-shouldered hawks, Red-tailed hawks, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!), squirrels and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to  largesse

  1. Bob Parker says:

    Hi Jay,
    Great blog, as usual….
    I liked the picture of the “blond” tailed squirrels.
    Several years ago we had some with what we called ”red tails” on the golf course behind our condo unit. They were here for a year or two then disappeared. Mutations, hawks, who knows, but they are gone. Now we’re back to the usual type. Isn’t nature interesting?
    Take care,
    Bob Parker

    • Thanks Bob! I’m not sure what caused those odd colored tails. Some sort of mutation -it’ll be interesting to see if there are more next year. But you would think they’d be more attractive to hawks. Thanks again for the note and have a great day,


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