More is better

26 August, 2018           More is better 

More is better

I turned 57 on Thursday. I took this picture Saturday at sunrise looking across the Potomac River on Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. There is nothing – ever – that’s bad about watching the sun rise. I will never complain about getting old, because I get to see more sunrises, and more is better. Full stop. 

More birds and flowers are better too (again, with no exceptions) and Evelyn planted these milkweed flowers (or “Asclepius” or “butterflyweed” or “tuberose”) in front of my office window. Thanks to her research and green thumb I  photographed a hummingbird in my yard for the first time in my life: 

       First hummingbird I’ve ever photographed in our yard – Monday afternoon




Since I’d never seen one here before, she (that’s a female Ruby-throated hummingbird  (Archilochus colubris)) caught me off guard. Next time I’ll get a better image. I was just overjoyed to see her outside my window. Birthday week! Let me give you a better idea of why those flowers are hard for a hummingbird to pass up. I took this picture after the hummingbird left: 

If you were a hummingbird, you would totally not be able to pass this up:

My former instructor John was hired by a major airline and Tuesday afternoon I flew for the first time with my excellent new instructor Earnest:

Just after landing Tuesday (8/21) afternoon

More flying – Evelyn and I went out for an early birthday dinner Tuesday in Short Pump at Burger Bach and Evelyn pointed out this Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) perched on the edge of a building watching for an evening meal: 

Cooper’s Hawk in Short Pump:

To continue with the intermittent flying theme – this time back to a manmade “bird” – my friend Pat’s son Daniel is training to be a Marine Corps tactical jet pilot. He is currently stationed at NAS Meridian in Meridian, MS. He flew up with his training officer Friday in a T-45C Goshawk and landed at Richmond International Airport (KRIC). I took this picture when he was on final approach at 6:00 PM EDT:

Daniel about to land at Richmond airport Friday in his T-45 Goshawk:

This is a couple of minutes later when he was taxiing up to the airport:

Daniel taxiing to the ramp shortly after landing:

Pat and Megan and I all rode together to the airport to watch Daniel land. We left straight from there for Quantico – we were riding together in Pat’s truck and we all stayed in the same hotel just a few minutes from Quantico. We got up way way way before the crack of dawn so we’d get to the race for check in at 5:00 AM. I’d been awake for two and a half hours before I took that sunrise picture at the top of this post. Oy. Anyway, I had a wonderful race – I’ve never had a bad one – but it was Megan’s first triathlon! She was outstanding! And Pat got third place in his age group – a podium finish! Incredible. Here are the three of us post race: 

Age group medalist Pat on left, 1st time triathlon finisher Megan on right, very happy person in the center

This was at least the third time I’ve done this race, possibly more. And I’ll tell you – it’s just fun to be on base at Quantico. There are ospreys everywhere, and I usually see bald eagles but I missed them this year. Trains go by all the time, and the river – as you can see in the top picture – is beyond lovely. Plus check out this old tank. I leaned my bike against the front of it after the race. Our Dad – stop me if you’ve heard this – used to always put objects in pictures “for scale” so you could estimate the size. You’ve seen me do it with Evelyn’s spectacular flowers. Dad’s favorite “for scale” item – as I recall – was to put a quarter near a baby’s foot. He’d also do it for insects and flowers and all manner of other items where the size was difficult to determine. I thought of Dad and adding objects to pictures “for scale” when I leaned my bike against this old tank. Until just now I thought it was an American tank, but after a little research I think it’s a Russian T-62 main battle tank. I may be wrong – I am wildly ignorant in this area. If you know what it is, by all means put a comment in the comment box or shoot me an email or text. Anyway, it’s a cool picture: 


T-62 tank with bike for scale















Bike is on the side this time:
















Almost forgot – I got a picture of a Red-tail on the tower next to the Westbury Apothecary after our river hike this AM: 

More hawks is better too









Found some last-minute pictures! Still (for the most part) in the “more is better” theme. Pony Pasture flowers from this morning (more flowers is better): 

Such wonderful light this morning 












I also saw a toad at the river this morning – I haven’t seen a ton this year:

Toad at the river this morning – sorry no ID or item for scale













So anyway, I opened this blog post with what is (to me) the universal symbol of “more is better” – a brand new sunrise. You can just never have too many sunrises. Also included in the “more is better” category – and in this blog post – are more birds, more flying, more flowers, more fun, “more is better” is a big, big category. Thus it’s only fitting that I close with a picture of dogs at the river this morning – more hikes with dogs at the river is better too. Have a great week!:

Hikes at the river with dogs – more is better






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 accipiters, Birds, Cessna 172, Cooper's Hawk, Dogs, Endurance, Flowers, Fun, James River, Pony Pasture, raptors, Red-tailed hawks, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!), triathlons and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to More is better

  1. Andrew M says:

    Great post! Cool pics. Happy belated bday! Sorry to have missed the race this year, but glad you had a good time… AGAIN.

  2. Megan Dalzell says:

    Jay, we’re glad you came along. The race wouldn’t be the same without your optimistic message! Thanks for the share – great photo! It was a great day, great weekend!

    • Thank you Megan – for your kind comments AND for chauffeuring me around all weekend. And congratulations on your excellent race! Thanks again and have a great day,


  3. Jackie says:

    Sounds and looks like the perfect birthday week! ❤️

    • Thank you Jackie! It was a perfect birthday and birthday week, thanks in large part to your sister’s generosity! Plus she made such great choices for her own birthday – I just copied what she did! Thanks again for the nice note and have a great day,


  4. pam waaland says:

    Happy belated birthday! What an action packed birthday week! I’m so glad you have Evelyn by your side. Best wishes to your both!

  5. pam waaland says:

    Not sure why I was just unsubscribed?

    • Not sure – it looks to me like you’re still on here! Hopefully you’re not really unsubscribed. I hope to see you on this blog again soon! Not to mention in real life! Have a great day,


  6. kmeiller says:

    Happy Birthday Jay! Love your hawk photos.

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