6 January, 2019 Nobody yawns…
I am embarrassed. I am acutely and painfully aware of the poor quality of this image. I took it. What stunned me about it – what is remarkable about it, IMO – is this magnificent animal was perched in a dead tree five hundred feet from a CVS pharmacy to the west, a Domino’s pizza to the east, an Episcopal church to the south. A couple of wingbeats and it could have landed on the roof of any of them. A Bald Eagle! The national bird and national animal of the United States. I was born in the early 1960’s inside the Beltway in the Washington DC area, and the idea of ever seeing a Bald Eagle was far-fetched. It simply (I believed) would never happen. Now here’s one perched practically in a strip mall. It’s a crummy image but what a bird to see in what an incredible spot. The black lines above it and below it are power lines strung beside Patterson Avenue
I read up on them a bit afterward – I’d heard something about Benjamin Franklin being unimpressed with their character. I found this on a Smithsonian Magazine web site. The article says Franklin wrote:
“For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly.”
Maybe they don’t make their living honestly – honestly I can’t say. I’m skeptical that birds have “moral Character” either way – they behave according to natural selection. They are at the top of the food chain. But they are spectacular to look at; you practically can’t turn your eyes away. You’d better believe you won’t yawn.
Anyway, I’m still amazed. Hopefully the next time I photograph an eagle near a Domino’s, a 7/11, a CVS and a church I’ll get a better image.
From a more pedestrian point of view (in a manner of speaking) I was with my friend Clark at Hollywood Cemetery watching a trainload of covered hoppers moving east. These are probably full of grain or corn or something of that nature. I’ve been hearing and glimpsing mid-train locomotives for a couple of months, but Wednesday was the first time I’ve gotten a good look. It’s not exciting or award-winning photography but – like the strip mall Bald Eagle – it was unexpected and the first one I’ve ever seen:
Thursday Mackey and Turner and I made it down to the river; it was muddy but not impassable. I believe the does that are going to get pregnant are pregnant, and they’re spending their mid-days bedded down in the woods. Chewing their cuds or “ruminating.” No great pictures, but here’s one:
Just a few feet down the path I saw six gray squirrels at one time! If you’d drawn a 50′ x 50′ square in the air, a big frame, they would have all fit inside it. Plus there were probably more on the backs of the trees. I don’t know why or how that happened. Forget about photographing it – I don’t think it’s possible. Here is one of them; again a marginal image:
I did have one image that came out well this week. It’s pretty tame, but it’s a Carolina Wren from Deep Run Park in western Henrico. My friend Kendall and I were hiking there Friday:
In quick succession from Pony Pasture this morning – because I’m tired and, not coincidentally, disorganized – three pictures then I’m done.
A bluebird this morning, wearing drab winter colors:
Second, a female turtle sunning herself on a log, while being ogled by two males – see their heads poking out of the water?:
Finally, the river – I’m going to bed! Have an excellent first full week of 2019!
Have a great week! All best,