Blown out/casting about 

20 October, 2019           Blown out/casting about 

I had a long flight planned for Thursday but it got too windy so we cancelled. We were blown out! I wanted to write about that flight but that will be a future blog entry. Now I’m casting about for subject matter! But it’s been such a nice week anyway. 

Buffleheads will show up at Pony Pasture soon and outdoor flowers will disappear until  daffodils open in March of 2020 – five months from now. But Evelyn’s hibiscus is sending out the season in a glow. Maybe more next week – we’ll see. This is from Tuesday just before lunch: 

Hibiscus OMG – look at that petal, that shadow, that sky, those trees – beyond compare

I just realized we have blooming flowers in front too – we’ll see if they keep going. Stay tuned! I’m beginning to get some improved raptor images. Red-tailed hawks are around daily but Red-shouldered hawks are currently less plentiful. And they’re always a bit more colorful. I saw this one (Red-shouldered) in western Henrico Friday morning: 

Red-shouldered hawk perched in a loblolly pine in front of a crisp blue sky

I got another raptor picture this week (a bunch really, naturally) and it’s far from my best but I’m always thrilled when I get a “double” Red-tail. And this was on the power line across from DS Freeman HS; I could have walked from my house to the corner and taken this picture: 

Better light would have been nice, but any “double” Red-tail picture is a prize

Part of being “blown out” this week means I’m relying more heavily than normal on raptor pictures, which I realize are not everyone’s favorite. But I got one in the woods at Pony Pasture yesterday while I was hiking with Mackey and Turner. No one will be surprised that I spend a lot of time in Pony Pasture, but it’s quite rare to see a Red-tail in the woods. This isn’t the first one I’ve ever seen there, but they’re non-typical. Yesterday afternoon at 2:00: 

Red-tail in the woods at Pony Pasture, 2:00 PM yesterday. They are a lot harder to photograph in the woods. Autofocus is not always your friend. 

No moon viewing tonight (Sunday, 10/20/2019) here in Richmond – solid clouds. But it was full seven days ago and it’s been waning all week. It was 100% full Sunday; now (if you could see it) it’s ~60% full and shrinking. I’m learning lunar features currently – many are naked eye visible or binocular or telescope or telephoto lens visible. We always see the same side of the moon – it’s always turned toward earth. There are some enormous craters like “Copernicus” and a few more that you can see on any clear night when the moon is full or near full. Copernicus is almost sixty miles wide! Think about the blast that would make a crater so big it would stretch from Richmond to Fredericksburg. And it’s not as if the destruction ends at the crater’s edge – it must have continued for miles. Think about if that hit DC. It would make an atomic bomb seem like a firecracker. 

Anyway, here’s an image I took Monday evening, October 14 at 9:40 PM. At this point (according to an app called “world clock” and another (more precise) app called “Sun Surveyor,”) this moon is 98.5% full and it’s been 16.3 days since it was a “new” moon:

Waning moon, Monday evening at 9:40:

At the risk of sounding too nerdy (because this is too nerdy), this is some data about this moon. At that time. It had risen at 7:23 PM; this is two hours and twenty minutes later. It rose a tiny bit to the north of east (80º) and in the two plus hours it had been up moved to an equal distance south of east (100º). In that brief period of time it had diminished from 98.7% full to 98.5% full. Tonight at 9:40 (if you could see it) it will be all the way down to 55.1% full. Seven nights from now – even if there’s not a cloud in the sky – it’ll be invisible. It’ll be a “new” moon, less than 0.2% full. So if the weather clears up tomorrow night or the next, go outside and have a look at the moon. It’ll disappear (clouds or no clouds) on Friday and won’t become visible again until Wednesday: 

Relevant (if you’re a nerd like me) data about the precedeing moon picture from Monday

This just in (in a manner of speaking). Ev and I went out a couple of hours ago and when we returned home it had stopped raining and was light enough for me to photograph the front flowers. So in addition to the spectacular and un-shy hibiscus at the top of this post, we also have these asclepius – the ones that bring monarch butterflies and monarch butterfly caterpillars and hummingbirds and more. Though I believe those insects and birds are gone for 2019. But the flowers are still here!: 

Asclepius in our front yard (outside my office window) this afternoon at 4:30:

And what would a blog post be without dogs at the river! Our pal Yuki is on an extended road trip; I’m not sure when he’ll join us next. But he’ll show up on this blog! Have a great week, 

Jay (and Mackey and Turner!) 

Mackey and Turner rock-hopping at Pony Pasture yesterday at 12:30

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, Dogs, Flowers, Fun, James River, love, moon, People, Pony Pasture, raptors, red-shouldered hawks, Red-tailed hawks, Rivers, simplify, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!) and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Blown out/casting about 

  1. Gilpin Brown says:

    The red tail in the pine tree is an exceptional photo, Jay. Catch in his eye, perfect light and the sky! Nice catch!

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