We had a sneak preview of summer on Saturday. The temperature hit 90 deg. F, the sun was unrelenting and the humidity around 70%. Ugh!
Mid-afternoon, found us in the kayaks and headed to camp. There were two species of dragonflies (a clubtail, probably the lancet clubtail, and a darner) on the wing and patrolling the lake shore. Not once did I observe any of these individuals perched… thus I have not photos!
Exploring the vegetation along the shore was more productive. In a span of roughly 300 feet of shoreline, I found six dragonflies entangled in spider webs and three exuvia (all looking to my un-expert eye) like the same species).
The exuvia are not unexpected this time of year. However, the density of entangled dragonflies is exceptional. Odes entangled in spider webs are not rare, but the usual density (during the peak of the summer) is closer to one in five hundred feet
Small numbers (one or two at a time) of odes have been appearing in the yard for the past couple of week. In the last three or four days the numbers have jumped.
Yesterday afternoon (with the weather overcast and the temperature not reaching 70 deg F) found about a dozen dragonflies (a mix of Hudsonian Whitefaces and Chalk-fronted Corporals) perched on our deck while trying to stay warm.
All of these photos were made within a hundred yards of the house and in the past five days.
On Tuesday, as I was taking in the bird feeders*, I noticed the almost full moon peaking through the just leafing out oak tree in the front yard. Of course, I went a got my camera.
The moon was only visible for short intervals as it was quite cloudy. Thus, after photographing the moon though the branches, I turned my attention (and lens) to the clouds themselves.
All of these photos were taken about twenty minutes after the sun had set.
* The bird feeders are stowed away in the garage every night in order to not attract the neighborhood bears.
Spring birds continue to arrive.
Along with the year-round residents (chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, etc.) and the early arrivals (goldfinches and purple finches), we have had rose-breasted grosbeaks at the feeders for roughly ten days. The males seemed to appear about four or five days before the females.
On Saturday (14 May) we observed our first hummingbird of the season (a male; we’ve seen no females yet).
We also saw a single Baltimore oriole on each day of the weekend. We’ve not had orioles around the house before. Hopefully the feeder I bought and hung out this morning will entice them to stay.
Other folks in the “neighborhood” (the closest about a mile and a half away) have said that they have had indigo buntings at their feeders. Alas, we have not seen any in our yard.
Comments Off on Mid-May Bird Report
And the black flies, the little black flies
Always the black fly no matter where you go
I’ll die with the black fly a-pickin’ my bones
— The Black Fly Song, by Wade Hemsworth
Those of us who live in the northern woods are “blessed” with black fly season. In this neck of the woods, black fly season is mercifully short, lasting roughly from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day. The farther north one goes, the longer the season lasts.
Black flies hang out in the duff on the ground in the woods. From there, they ascend to attack any warm-blooded creature who dares enter their domain. This behavior makes the wild flower photographer who must lay on the ground in said woods a prime target for these blood-thirsty creatures.
However, properly equipped with a full blown bug jacket, photographs can be made*.
* Even though looking into the viewfinder through the no-see-um mesh of a bug jacket is less than desirable.
Continuing with my Saturday afternoon procrastination*, I pointed the truck towards Hillsborough Center. This is another place that I have driven through many times but never stopped to photograph.
The church there was in nice light and there were nice clouds. I will have to go back at some point to photograph the schoolhouse. It is on the opposite side of the road from the church and in shadow during the late afternoon.
Next I, headed to Washington and its very picturesque trio of buildings** on the town common. I have photographed there many times but, on this occasion, I was thinking “pinhole” as I made the drive from Hillsborough Center.
*I was headed, eventually, to the grocery store!
** From left to right in these views, are the church, schoolhouse (which is now the police station) and meeting house.
Comments Off on Hillsborough Center and Washington
Pine Haven is a disused group of tourist cabins sitting at the junction of routes 9 and 31 in the north part of Antrim.
I know nothing about the history of Pine Haven. I can only surmise that the story of Pine Haven is much the same as tourist cabins throughout the country.
I do know that Pine Haven has been slowly decaying for longer than the almost forty years that I have been driving by these cabins.
Yesterday, I stopped to photograph them for the first time.
Comments Off on Pine Haven
Roughly a mile from Pine Haven sits another disused institution… Hawthorne College.
My father-in-law owned this property in the years around 1960 and ran the Monadnock Research Institute (MRI) in the barns of this old farm. Joan and her family lived on the grounds.
In the early 60’s, the MRI closed and the property was sold to the folks who founded the now defunct Nathaniel Hawthorne College.
Since the College’s closing in 1988, the campus has been owned by at least two groups that intended to open private secondary schools. Neither group has brought their plans to fruition and the campus facilities remain unused.
After I left Pine Haven yesterday, I spent a short time photographing (from the road) the North Branch Chapel and the barns.
Comments Off on Hawthorne College Grounds
Yesterday was Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day (WPPD).
The Vermont Center for Photography held its annual celebration of WPPD with a small (about a dozen) but enthusiastic group of participants.
Here are a few of the photos I made in and around the VCP yesterday afternoon.
Comments Off on WPPD at the VCP
Monday (18 Apr) afternoon was warm and sunny. I spent a few hours watching (and photographing) the backyard birds.
In addition to the year-rounders (nuthatches, chickadees, titmice and woodpeckers) a number of returning migrants have appeared. There were good numbers of American goldfinches, sometimes as many as a dozen or so at one time. I am always amazed at the brilliance of the yellow coloring of the males at this time of year. Smaller numbers of purple finches were also present.
Small flocks of juncos (eight or ten) came and went all afternoon. I am unable to get a sense of what stimulates the entire flock to make an exodus. When they leave en mass they seem to startle everyone else (including me!) and often cause all of the finches to flee as well.
Lastly, I saw two singletons… a red-breasted nuthatch (which I did not photograph) and a chipping sparrow.