May 16, 2019
Last year I didn't get around to summarizing my travels in this blog until August 9, and I'm trying to do better this year. So here are a few quick items about short-distance travels that I have taken (mostly with Jacqueline) during spring. The photos below are the choicest ones of those posted on the Chronological (2019) page. On January 6 I went to Highland County and Bath County with a few others from the Augusta Bird Club, with scenic highlights at Lake Moomaw and the historic bath house in Warm Springs. On March 10 Jacqueline and I went to the Highland County Maple Festival, briefly entering West Virginia northeast of Blue Grass. (We missed that festival the year before.) As usual, we bought a quart of maple syrup and a few other souvenir and craft items.
On May 4 Jacqueline asked me to go with her to meet with her sister in Richmond, and I seized the opportunity to do some birding in the nearby Dutch Gap area along the James River. (See the separate blog post on birding.) Just like the last time I was there (June 2016), I saw many Zebra Swallowtails. I recently learned that the caterpillars of those butterflies feed on Paw Paw leaves, and indeed I saw many Paw Paw trees in the swampy area through which I hiked. The trail was very wet in places, and at one point it was flooded, so I had to give up and head back.
On our way home, we drove north along Route 1 through south Richmond, where evidence of poverty and strong racial feelings abounds. As we approached downtown Richmond, I asked Jacqueline to take photos of the city skyline as we crossed one of the James River bridges, and she did a good job. Then we drove past Virginia Commonwealth University, which gets bigger every time I see it, and I was struck my a sort of surrealistic mural showing four people with their eyeballs detached, apparently imagining the same dream. I should try to find out more about that mural. Next we entered historic Monument Avenue just a few blocks to the west of VCU. The afternoon lighting was not ideal as we headed west, or else I would have taken more photos.
Finally, on May 6 I led an Augusta Bird Club field trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and went back to the same area the very next day with some other birders. At one point I saw an azalea bush in full bloom, and it almost seemed to be begging me to take this lush, scenic picture, looking southeast toward the Big Levels area: