Birds – unfeathered and feathered, and more

29 November, 2020 Birds – unfeathered and feathered, and more 

The subject of “birds” comes up during Thanksgiving week. I saw this “bird” (unfeathered) when my instructor Joel and I flew to Delaware Coastal Airport (KGED):  

Me with “Panchito”, a WWII era B-25 Mitchell medium bomber

That’s a B-25J Mitchell medium bomber. B-25’s were made famous when sixteen launched from an aircraft carrier in early 1942 to bomb Tokyo – only four months after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. I asked Joel how a plane that big could take off from something as small as an aircraft carrier. He basically said the aircraft carrier goes “20 knots into a 10 knot headwind, you have a thirty knot wind going over the wings before you even start the engine.” It’s just remarkable – it doesn’t even look real. 

As soon as I got home I began reading Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo by Ted Lawson, a pilot from the mission. Not to spoil it, but he watched one of his crewmates saw off his femur after he crash landed. And he wrote about that experience. And when you come home with one of your legs amputated at the femur, it’s hard to dispute his story. This is a remarkable, remarkable story – I am still flabbergasted. He was twenty-five years old when that happened. Twenty-five. He lived until he was seventy-five. Only about the first quarter of the book has any flying in it. The rest is their survival after crashing on a beach in China. 

We flew this Tecnam P92 Eaglet from Hanover to Maryland (first) then Delaware then back to Maryland then back to Hanover. I took this picture just before I preflighted it: 

Tecnam P92 Eaglet Joel and I flew to MD and DE Tuesday afternoon

For a moment’s perspective – that Tecnam has a four cylinder, 100 hp engine. The B-25 at the top of this post – it landed right behind us – has two engines and they each have fourteen cylinders and 1,700 horsepower. Each engine! What a treat it was to see that plane. 

This was the sunset we saw near Virginia’s Eastern Shore when we were flying back on Tuesday: 

Sunset near the Eastern Shore while we flew back. Probably ~4,500′.

Of course I saw owls this week. Evelyn and Mackey and Turner and I hiked at Pony Pasture on Thanksgiving – and we saw our first pair of owls for the season! I took this picture around 11:00 Thanksgiving morning: 

First owl pair I saw this season. I hope to see more! Check out the talons on the right hand owl.

A few minutes earlier, Ev and Mackey and Turner and I were on the edge of the river. I decided I’d see how far I could stretch my arms to get a selfie of the four of us. Note the dog hair on my arm – Turner likes to leave little reminders he’s been around: 

Thanksgiving river selfie with Evelyn and Mackey and Turner

The white squirrel returned – or returned to visibility – at Deep Run this week. I took this picture one day – I can’t recall when: 

Deep Run white squirrel

I also saw this Great Blue Heron at Pony Pasture on Thanksgiving when Ev and I were there with Mackey and Turner: 

Pony Pasture Great Blue Heron Thanksgiving morning

My brother Kevin and his wife Jenny and their family hosted a pandemic sized (small number of people, big distance apart) socially distant Thanksgiving in their barn Thursday. One of my many talented nieces (Wren?) took this group picture: 

In 2021 we’ll take of our masks and show our true selves

I’m running out of gas (energy, anyway). I’ll close with a robin I saw this morning. Wait – I’ll close with Mackey and Turner and Yuki from this river this morning, after a robin picture. Robin from this morning: 

Caught a robin at Pony Pasture in the sun for a moment:
Mackey, Yuki and Turner gleaming in the sun on the riverbank this morning

Have a great week! 

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.
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