Red-shoulder over my shoulder – thank you Ray!

22 November, 2021 Red-shoulder over my shoulder – thank you Ray! 

My friend Ray and I were hiking at Bryan Park one lovely morning this week. We sat down at a picnic table to catch our breath – and a Red-shouldered hawk was perched almost over my shoulder! I’d never been so close to one before! Ray took this picture: 

Red-shoulder over my shoulder – thank you Ray!

Amazing! Then he handed the camera to me and I turned around and got this image: 

The most accommodating Red-tailed hawk I’ve ever encountered

The trees are not entirely bare yet, but there’s a lot of light getting through. I saw this Mockingbird Monday while I was riding my bicycle at West Creek: 

I got close and the light was nice – the two elements that make pleasing images

The dogs and I missed our Sunday hike last week (11/15/2020) because the river was still flooded. It had gone down a lot and dried out some by Tuesday so Mackey and Turner and I took a quick jaunt Tuesday morning. We saw and photographed an owl (that was why I went) but I got a better one today. I was surprised to see a butterfly still fluttering around in mid-November, but this beauty stopped long enough for me to grab a quick shot: 

Butterfly (I think) but I’m not certain what type. May be a moth.

Barred owls are much too wild to take for granted. But I see them often in the same spot, and I am filled with the same rush of delight each time I look up and see one. I saw one at 9:15 this morning, then hiked for half an hour and came back – still there. 100% delightful 100% of the time: 

There is never a bad day to see an owl

Mackey and Turner and Yuki and I had a pleasant hike this morning – especially since we saw the owl twice! I was hoping to see Buffleheads but I haven’t gotten a good image yet. We were headed back up the riverbank around 10:00 when we came across a group of middle-school aged boys racing up and down and over the logs and through the underbrush. One looked a little more confident and outgoing than the others. I stood with the dogs around me and held out my phone and said “Would you mind taking our picture?” And he replied confidently “You know I can!” as he reached out for the phone. These dogs are like magnets. I regret I did not ask his first name so I could credit him here. But thank you whoever you were! 

“You know I can” said the confident photographer when I asked him to take our picture. He sure could!

Yuki found a turtle creeping through the wintercreeper just before we got back to the parking lot: 

I would have walked right past this turtle if Yuki hadn’t seen it. It stuck its head out of the shell to check us out.

We also still have pretty roses in our yard, though they’re beginning to look dry. But November 22! I took this picture a little bit after 2:00 this afternoon: 

Mid-November backyard rose

Bluebirds are not bright blue in autumn, but this one was cute sitting on one of my feeders at 2:00 this afternoon. I like it with the reds and greens in the background. Colors will continue to fade as the daylight shortens, but bluebirds are always a treat. And I’m looking forward to next week’s blog post! I hope you are too! Have a great week, all best, 


Bluebird, Red Maple, evergreens, November

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.
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4 Responses to Red-shoulder over my shoulder – thank you Ray!

  1. Sheila says:

    I always think about cool show names for horses. I think my next horse is going to be called You Know I Can!

    • Hi Sheila! I’m sorry I didn’t respond earlier! Yes, “You Know I Can” would be an excellent name for a horse. Not so much for a dog though; Turner already thinks he knows everything. Have a great day!

  2. Jackie says:

    Looks and sounds like a perfect
    day with the boys! It’s amazing
    the owls are so abundant, they
    Seem to be everywhere, NYC
    Christmas tree included 😊

    • Hi Jackie! I agree it’s amazing how abundant the owls are. And as you said, even one in the NYC Christmas tree – who would have imagined? It’ll bring us all good luck in 2021!

      Thanks for the note and have a great day,


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