Some weeks I don’t know where to begin

26 May, 2019            Some weeks I don’t know where to begin

They live for one week! What a treat to see.

I saw a Luna moth (Actias luna) early this afternoon while I was riding my bike at West Creek. It’s such a treasure to see one, I screeched to a stop (in a manner of speaking) and leaned my bike against a tree and stopped for a picture.

Evelyn was putting hydrangeas in a vase; she told me it had belonged to my mom. After mom died in early 2017 we were taking stuff we wanted to keep when we cleared out her house. Evelyn thought this vase was attractive and brought it home. My brother said “sassy vase” – two words that may never have been together before now:

Sassy vase – I’ll bet you didn’t expect to read those words today (Ev made the potholder too) 

In addition to seeing a Luna moth this afternoon, I saw a Box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) at Pony Pasture this morning. Yuki and Mackey and Turner were tired; this was late in our walk. They were content to lie down and observe:

Peaceable kingdom (still image) – Yuki, Turner, Mackey, unnamed turtle

Believe it or not, there were at least two or three deer in the creekbed, seventy-five feet away at the most. The trees were leafy so it was hard to get good video. But here’s a seventeen second video showing the turtle, the dogs, and the flicking tails of the deer down in the creek:

We first saw an Eastern ratsnake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) but it was in poor light the picture is not lovely:

Eastern Rat snake crossing trail

One of my favorite pictures from this week is an Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) caterpillar on our parsley plants (leftover from last year):

Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillar gobbling fresh parsley (last year’s model)

So much going on outdoors at this time of year.  I saw a Fowler’s toad (Anaxyrus fowleri) at Pony Pasture Tuesday:

Fowler’s Toad

I’d been watching (and photographing) a female bluebird on a bird house at Deep Run Park Monday. I was sitting on a bench with my friend Ray and I’d looked away but he kept watching. He told me the male had returned and I looked up and there he was. Female first then male; same birdhouse:

Like many birds (think of mallards) the females are less brightly colored than the males

The male – very bright colors. Thanks for pointing him out Ray!

I flew twice this week – I almost named the blog post after that. I was going to call it “Letting my geek flag fly.” This is a view from the plane; we were flying north at 2,600 feet near Fredericksburg:

Near Fredericksburg, from 2,600 feet: 

This is the instruments at the same time:

From the pilot’s seat Thursday morning:

I’ve seen lots of ospreys this week and a return of Red-tailed hawks, but no pictures I adore. Perhaps next week. Enjoy your Memorial Day!  Come back next week!

Wait a second. I was flipping through some pictures from Wednesday. I finally saw a pair of Red-tails. Both at once. The babies are probably getting huge and the nest is too crowded on hot days. They were both out at the same time but I couldn’t get both at once. The male was posed in better light:

Male red-tail hawk near the Willey Bridge, full crop:

WAIT! Hold the presses! As they used to say. We got a gardenia outside this morning! I was out all day; I didn’t get this picture until right before sunset tonight:

If you get real close your nose touches the wet leaves when you smell it – it’s amazing


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, box turtle, Dogs, Flowers, Fun, Gardenias, James River, kofp, love, Pony Pasture, raptors, Red-tailed hawks, Rivers, simplify, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!), Snakes, Tecnam, thoreau, Turtles, whitetail deer and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Some weeks I don’t know where to begin

  1. gilpin brown says:

    Wow! Lots of wildlife the week!

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