Saturday, July 30, 2016


No, not really. It only seems like I've launched on a series of water pics. These boats and boaters have just been among the most interesting scenes on my early morning cycling workouts.

Thursday, July 28, 2016


Taken yesterday under slightly better conditions than the day before. I think the humidity level was down in the 70 percentile range as compared to yesterday's 82%. Early morning temps, however, were still in the 80s and heading again to afternoon highs in the mid-90s. Whew! But, hey! It's D.C. in July. It comes with the territory. Fortunately, we've also got the river to play in.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


I don't know whether you can tell or not, but this photo was taken through a lens that was about to be completely clouded over with condensation as a result of yesterday's unusually high dew point. I captured the image at 5:53 a.m. when the outside temperature was already 85F (29C) and the humidity was 82%. Unfortunately, my camera had spent the night where it was dry and relatively cool, so when I pulled it out of its bag to snap this pic, the result was--well, let's just say--predictable.

Still, I was able to finally photograph these young people training. I've seen them out on the Potomac River most mornings now.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


"Newborn spotted fawns remain hidden and solitary for about three weeks. The doe visits her young only two to three times per day in order to nurse and groom the offspring. When the fawn is strong enough to run with the doe, it will follow its mother and begin to sample foods eaten by the doe. Fawns can live independently of their mother at about two months old." ~ Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Sunday, July 24, 2016


Lots of people are looking for shade these days with temps in the mid to upper 90s (mid to upper 30s celsius).

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Nice Catch!

Happened upon this fellow as he was catching this nice looking bass. He released the fish back into the canal moments later. He caught it on an artificial lure.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Butterfly Bush

I always enjoy the look of these beautiful purple flowers as they begin to bloom. I photographed these at Swains Lock on the C&O Canal.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Happy Running

Hey! There sure were a lot of "happy" runners along the C&O a couple of days ago, thanks to this event. I wasn't running, but I was still happy. Even a bad day hiking the C&O is better than a good day doing anything else. . . well, with the possible exception of biking. :-)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


This still is a place of "honking geese".

"'Potomac' is a European spelling of Patowmeck, the Algonquian name of a Native American village, perhaps meaning 'something brought'. Native Americans had different names for different parts of the river, calling the river above Great Falls Cohongarooton, meaning 'honking geese' and 'Patawomke' below the fall, meaning "river of swans". The spelling of the name has taken many forms over the years from 'Patawomeke' (as on Captain John Smith's map) to 'Patawomeck', 'Patowmack, and numerous other spellings in the 18th century and now 'Potomac'. The river's name was officially decided upon as Potomac by the Board on Geographic Names in 1931." ~ Wikipedia

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Tulip Tree

Only pale by the evergreen,
hardly distinguished by leaf or color,
it used to slide a little pale from other trees
and – no great effect at our house –
it sustained what really belonged,
but would, if severely doubted,

Sunday, July 17, 2016

White Bergamot

Found this interesting piece of information:

"White bergamot--a plant species native to America--received its Latin botanical name in the 1500s. The entire genus--Monarda--was named after the Nicolas Bautista Monardes of Spain, a botanist and a physician. Interestingly, Monardes studied the white bergamot only on Spanish soil through its import to Spain from the United States." ~ Dave's Garden

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Friday, July 15, 2016

Thursday, July 14, 2016

No Granddaddy?

I was shocked to discover that what I've been calling Granddaddy Longlegs isn't. Not really. :-)

"English speakers colloquially refer to species of Opiliones as 'daddy longlegs' or 'granddaddy longlegs', but this name is also used for two other unrelated groups of arthropods: the crane flies of the family Tipulidae, and the cellar spiders of Pholcidae, most likely because of their similar appearance. They are also referred to as 'shepherd spiders' in reference to how their unusually long legs reminded observers of the ways that some European shepherds used stilts to better observe their wandering flocks from a distance." ~ Wikipedia

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Monday, July 11, 2016

Abbot Lake

Abbot Lake had a somewhat different look this year (above) than last (below). Some of you may remember I took the latter from the summit of Sharp Top Mountain during a brief break in a thunderstorm.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Morning Commute

Do any of you commute to work?

If so, then you might appreciate this guy's morning routine.

As I was getting in my car to leave, he also was heading to work.

The tree was deemed a threat to the house below and needed to be removed.

Saturday, July 9, 2016


If you remember the Paw Paw tree I photographed the other day--well, the Zebra Swallowtail is one of its exclusive customers. Talk about a picky eater!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

What Do You Think?

Totally out of focus, of course, but there's a story behind this pic that still makes it worth sharing. The story is that I was in the process of photographing the turtle below when I noticed something stir in the water to my right and just outside the picture frame. When I turned to look, I had only enough time to see the patterns formed by the snake's scales and to snap this pic.

Uh, oh! (Okay, so maybe another expletive came to mind.) In any case, I first thought it might have been a Copperhead. There are some around. But later, after I had time to think about where I spotted it, a Northern Watersnake seemed more likely. 

Ah, but who was willing to take a chance, right?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


Well, if you hadn't guessed by now, Great Blue Herons are one of my favorite subjects to photograph and it's not just because they're often so obliging. It's those eyes, that stare, those feathers, and that great croaking sound.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Five Scales?

According to Maryland's Department of Natural Resources there are four species of skinks endemic to the state, two of which are very closely related--too closely related for me to distinguish between them. They are the broad-headed skink and the five-lined skink. The one I showed you yesterday is almost certainly a common five-lined skink. The one above, though, has got me stumped. Here's how the DNR says you can tell them apart:

"Experienced herpers will differentiate between these species by counting the number of labial scales on the upper lip between the nostril and the corner of the eye of the animals. Broad-headed skinks have five scales; five-lined skinks have four. This should only be attempted by experienced handlers, as these animals have powerful jaws that can deliver a painful bite."

But, now, if you'll excuse me, there's no way I'm going to sit here and count the scales between this guy's eye and his nose--powerful jaws or not. So I'll leave it for the "experienced handlers" to decide. :-)

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Paw Paw

I forget who it was now who wanted me to photograph one of the Paw Paw trees growing along the edge of the C&O Canal's towpath. It's most easily identified by its fruit. As you can see here, these are still in their very early stages of development. They'll grow much larger, of course, about the size pears. My neighbor who grows them in his garden tells me they'll ripen by September and that they taste a little like a mango.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

More Bloody Skinks!

I can almost hear you saying now, "Oh, no! Not another bloody skink!"

But. . .  'fraid so. I think this has been an especially good year for skinks. I've been seeing them frequently sunning themselves on stumps and fallen trees all along the C&O Canal.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Eating Habits

"Gray squirrels have a very high metabolism, maintaining a body temperature of about 101 degrees F [38.33 degrees C]. To do this, they need to eat about their own weight in food every week. During the late summer and fall, they consume about a third more than required for sustenance to fatten up for the winter. They preferentially feed on the nuts, flowers and buds of oak, hickory, pecan, walnut and beech trees. However, squirrels move extensively around their home ranges according to the availability of food, generally consuming only one type of food at a time. Their diet extends to a wide variety of trees and flowers, including the seeds and catkins of gymnosperms such as cedar, hemlock and pine. They are omnivorous and they will eat insects, bones, bird eggs, fledglings, frogs, and fungi." ~