JACLYN took our picture!

8 May, 2022 JACLYN took our picture!

Me, Turner and Yuki at the river this morning – picture by Jaclyn – thank you!

A kind person named Jaclyn took our picture this morning. And I don’t even know if I spelled her name correctly! But she was one of the few people who chose to show up at Pony Pasture this cold, wet May morning, and she was kind enough to take our picture. Thank you Jaclyn!

Now – and I apologize for dragging my feet – to all of the many mothers out there, including the billions I’ve never met – Happy Mother’s Day! I hope it’s been superb. And I hope tomorrow is even better! Happy Mother’s Day!

I have an image of what a “birdwatcher” looks like, and it doesn’t look like me. But I love looking at birds. I’m a dog walker – no denying that – and I carry my camera with me. I also have four bird feeders and two suet feeders outside my office window. And Spring in central Virginia is overwhelmingly birdy. 

Also – FYI – there is a picture of a snake near the bottom of this blog post. If you don’t like to look at snakes, bail out. It’ll be the eighth or ninth picture. So it won’t be a surprise. No fangs and it’s not venomous – it’s a harmless Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon). But it’s a snake.

Near the end of March I was at the river with those dogs in the top picture and saw a Yellow-throated warbler (Setophaga dominica) for the first time in my life. What a treat: 

Yellow-throated warbler on the edge of the James River at Pony Pasture, March 29, 2022 – my first one ever!

Everyone knows I love raptors. I was at Deep Run Park (western Henrico County) with a friend about two weeks ago when someone else started looking at this Red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus) – so I got a chance to photograph it!:

Red-shouldered hawk at Deep Run. I totally got lucky on this one. Saw somebody else looking at it.

Ironically – somewhat ironically – I was standing with the same friend in the driveway of his house (five miles from Deep Run as the hawk flies) a month earlier when I looked up in a Tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) and saw this one sitting on a branch: 

Red-shouldered hawk perched on a Tulip poplar branch. Foot under its feathers because it was cold.

I was at Pony Pasture twenty-four hours later and saw this handsome and easily identifiable raptor perched mid-river: 

Early March Bald Eagle perched mid-river at Pony Pasture

I was in the woods at Pony Pasture two weeks later when I saw this pair of Pileated woodpeckers (Dryocopus pileatus) picking through some rotten wood looking for a snack: 

A pair of Pileated woodpeckers in late March at Pony Pasture. Male is in the foreground.

I finished photographing those woodpeckers around 1:30. Less than half an hour later I watched this pretty girl watch Turner: 

Watching a deer watch Turner. Yuki was out of town that day.

Since I’ve shifted (for the moment) to unfeathered animals, I was looking into a creek at Deep Run and heard a loud “croak” and saw this pair in the mud: 

A pair of early season (April 4) bullfrogs at Deep Run:

And since I’m still on unfeathered animals, I was gratified to see a Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) at Three Lakes Park: 

Box turtle from Three Lakes Park:

And now – since I’m on the unfeathered animals theme – a Northern Water snake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon) from Three Lakes Park:

Northern Water snake at Three Lakes Park

More birds though. Cardinals are our state bird and we see them nearly every day. But I was fortunate to have a handsome male perch and sing in the bright sunshine at Pony Pasture a month ago: 

I always feel lucky when a bird poses like this:

I saw Rose-breasted Grosbeaks (Pheucticus ludovicianus) on my feeders today – always a treat in the Spring. Also, I’ll put a picture of the male first. Then I saw a female – and I thought it was some sort of sparrow or finch I’d not yet ID’d. But I used Merlin Bird ID and it told me it was a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak. First the male then the female:  

Boldly colored male Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Subtly patterned female Rose-breasted Grosbeak:

Yikes – hard to believe I almost left these off. I have multiple pairs of Bluebirds visiting my feeders, though I can’t tell one pair from another. But here are two that were on the feeder at around the same time Saturday: 

Handsome male bluebird surveys the chow


I suspect she’s looking across at her partner:

Also I’ve had a difficult time getting an image I love, but I was happy to see a Brown headed nuthatch (Sitta pusilla) show up at the feeders Saturday. They’re a bird I never knew existed until one landed on my feeders a year or two ago:

My first recent encounter with a Brown-headed nuthatch:

I think I’ve written too much already! Since I took too much of a break! Happy Mother’s Day!

Thank you again for the first picture Jaclyn! I apologize if I misspelled your name!

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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