Yes, you read that correctly… this post is about onions, well really photographs of onions!
A couple of days ago Joan harvested all of the onions from the garden. They are sitting on a tray in our breezeway drying.
Yesterday, I borrowed a couple of them to use as models. I spent an enjoyable few hours (split between yesterday afternoon and this morning) playing with the lighting and making photographs.
This afternoon, with the temperature around 80 F and partly sunny skies, I headed “down back” to our beaver-made wetland looking for autumn meadowhawks. I was not disappointed.
As a I passed by our brush pile, located in a sunny clearing in the woods near the house, I noted the presence of five or six autumn meadowhawks (mostly yellow ones; females or immature males). They were perched up high in the middle of the large pile so I did not try to photograph them.
When I arrived at the bottom of the hill and the juncture between woods and wetland, I observed another five or six bright red male meadowhawks in flight and a single yellow individual caught in a spiders web. The males spent most of the time I watched them in flight but occasionally one would perch and I got a chance to make a photo.
Moving out into the wet meadow, there were small numbers of darners (presumably males) patrolling territories along the waters edge. I also observed two presumptive females flying low in the vegetation clearly looking for a place to oviposit. None stopped moving long enough to be photographed.
Out in the meadow, I found a single immature male (i.e. orange) meadowhawk that was most cooperative in terms of photography. This individual made repeated hunting forays from the same perch and thus was easy to photograph.
Heading back towards home, I encountered a lone spreadwing at the edge of the woods. It sat still just long enough for me to make three or four photos.
Upon returning to the yard, I saw a feeding swarm consisting of two or three dozen darners. Hot, tired and thirsty*, I watched them for only a few minutes before heading into the house to fetch a large glass of ice water. When I look again, less than ten minutes later, the swarm was gone.
* Spending a couple of hours in the sun while wearing waders will make one hot tired and thirsty!
Yesterday (i.e Thursday, 25 August), I spent a few hours watching the birds in our backyard. Along with the usual suspects* for this time of year, a few rarer (at least in our yard) birds made their appearances.
At least one red-breasted nuthatch has been making regular visits to the feeders, usually to the sunflower seeds, but occasionally to the suet. Because of the frequency of the visits and the fact that it seems to fly off in the same direction after each brief visit, I suspect that there might actually be a pair of adults attending to young birds in a nest.
I also watched a black and white warbler hunting for insects in the trees near the feeders; it never approached the feeders. This is the third time in recent days that I have seen this species in our yard and this is the first summer that we have observed them here.
Additionally, a sparrow (of some sort other than a chipping sparrow) made a short appearance near the sunflower seed feeder but it did not approach it.
The hummingbirds have provided some great entertainment over the past week or so, there are four or five individuals (a family consisting of an adult pair and two or three juveniles, I think), they frequent both the feeder and a nearby butterfly bush. Their incredible speed and agility in flight as they chase each other around the yard, makes them great fun to watch. I only try to photograph them when they stop to perch nearby.
* Two types of woodpeckers (downy and hairy; we’ve seen only one red-bellied in the past few weeks), titmice, chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches, goldfinches, mourning doves, chipping sparrows and hummingbirds.
While on my walk in Peterborough the other day, I stopped at the set of “war memorials” adjacent to the Town House.
I always figuratively shake my head when folks use that term “war memorial”. For what is being memorialized is not war, but rather those people who did not survive the war. To my mind, the less frequently used term “soldiers and sailors memorial” is, perhaps, a much better moniker. But, I digress.
The World War I memorial has a good bit of text, in addition to the list of names. I began to explore this text though my viewfinder. I was looking for “interesting” juxtapositions of words which might, in isolation, have some meaning. I made only one (possibly) successful photo (the first in the set below) which might be titled “Hardships Enduring”. I say possibly because this frame contains a third whole word in addition to the two word “message”. My feeling is that it would be stronger without this.
I plan to keep looking for such photos but I suspect that they will be hard to come by given the amount of happenstance needed to get meaningful words in the same frame. Time will tell.
After studying (and photographing) the text for a while, I turned my attention to the list of names on the memorials. At first, I was trying to frame photographs that included rows of full (i.e. first and last) names. I dawned on me that this was not really meaningful as it was too specific, too personal.
I then had the thought to concentrate on sections that contained only the first names of those being memorialized. Each first name in these photographs stands for the many “Roberts” or “Johns”* who died rather than the specific one on this specific memorial.
* As one might expect the large majority of names were male. However, I was struck by the presence of two female name on the Korean War Memorial.
Wednesday dawned partly sunny and windy. I had errands to run so I headed out towards Peterborough before breakfast. After a breakfast sandwich at the local bagel emporium, I spent a bit of time, with camera in hand, wandering downtown.
Here are the “keepers”.
Although I spent the majority of my time today with the camera pointed at the humming bird feeder, I did, occasionally, point it elsewhere.
Goldfinches and tufted titmice are the most common birds around the feeders these days. Woodpeckers (both downy and hairy) were also common; I did not see a red-bellied woodpecker today. A variety of other birds appeared in small numbers. In addition to the phoebe and the mourning dove I made photographs of, I also observed a couple of blue jays and a number of chickadees.
I think that the chickadees are a sign that autumn is coming. We have lots of chickadees at the feeder all winter and early spring. However, at some point in the spring, they disappear. I am guessing that they must not breed nearby the house. Over the past few weeks small numbers of chickadees are reappearing at the feeder. Maybe because their breeding season is over?
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I spent a good chunk of the middle of the day today watching and photographing the birds around our feeders.
The sky was overcast, the temperature and the humidity were both in the high seventies. All around the conditions were better for photography than for stacking firewood!
The hummingbirds were quite active. A mature male spent most of his time perched near the feeder. There were two juvenile birds who appeared seeming out of nowhere regularly. When the juveniles appeared they would be harassed by the male as they tried to feed. Once the juveniles had had enough (food or harassment, I am not sure) they would take off for the woods. The male would feed and then head back to his guard station. This behavior was repeated often at irregular intervals for couple of hours I watched them.
I was able to make some nice photos of the male hovering near the feeder but the juveniles were impossible, the males harassment made their movement too erratic.
Likewise, I was able to make photos of the male perching near the feeder but the juveniles rarely perched near the feeder and if they tried the male drove them off. I did manage a single frame of a perched juvenile.
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I spent most of the past week visiting my parents in Maryland. The weather was very hot and sticky… not to to my liking at all. I braved the weather early one morning and took a walk, with camera in hand, around the “neighborhood”.
Yesterday (18 July) afternoon I headed down back to the beaver-made wetland complex at the back of our property.
As I headed out, I got distracted by the butterflies on the flowers in the beds around the yard. I in the middle of photographing butterflies, I spent some time stalking a small orangeish dragonfly but I was not able to make a photo. After this dragonfly vanished for good, and as I was about to stand up to move on, I noticed that a small robberfly had landed on the perch last used by ode. Of course, I had to photograph it!
Eventually, I did wander down the hill to the natural habitat of the beaver pond and wet meadow.
New, since my last trip down back, was the presence of darners. I am not sure of the exact species. They were patrolling over both the pond and the wet meadow. The numbers were not large; I saw maybe half a dozen.
By far, the most common ode present were frosted whitefaces. They were mostly patrolling over the pond. However, every once in a while one would perch near me and I was able to make a photograph. The numbers were way down compared to my last visit (on 2 July, see this post).
I also observed two sprites (either sphagnum or sedge) deep down among the vegetation along the pond. Neither were able to be photographed.
Out over the meadow there were a small number of calico pennants. As with the frosted whitefaces, the number of pennants are way down from a couple of weeks ago. However the individuals present were all actively feeding. I watched (and photographed) one individual for about fifteen minutes. During that time, I watched it make dozens of hunting forays always returning to the same perch. It was successful on about half of its hunts.
Late last Tuesday (12 July) afternoon I headed over to the Nature Conservancy’s Loveren’s Mill preserve. This property contains a rare Atlantic White Cedar swamp and is often good for finding rare odes that prefer this habitat.
Walking along the woods road near the entrance, I spotted a number of butterflies nectaring on the abundant wildflowers. However, there was a complete lack of odes.
This dearth of odes continued as I turned on to the trail and headed to the boardwalk that heads into the swamp proper. I saw two damselflies along the boardwalk and exactly zero dragonflies during the entire time I was out.
However, I did have some fun photographing the wildflowers.
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