Photographs by Frank

15 April 2015

Searching for Spring

Filed under: Birds,Mammals,Spring,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 6:00 PM

A week ago on Tuesday, Joan and I headed south in search of Spring.

When we arrived at Assateague Island National Seashore on Wednesday the temperature was 45 degrees, the wind was blowing at about 45 mph and the sky was spitting (a combination of salt spray and intermittent rain)… not exactly the weather we were hoping for!

None-the-less, we dropped the camper off at a campsite, donned a few layers of fleece with a topping of Gore-tex and headed out in search of horses and birds. We had a wonderful time despite the weather.

On Thursday, we awoke to horses in our campsite, egrets in the marsh beside the campsite and no change in the weather. After breakfast, we headed south to the Virginia side of Assateague Island and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. We had another wonderful day.

The weather broke on Friday and we headed north and west to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. We arrived just before lunch and spent roughly six hours exploring this wonderful place.

As the light began to fade, we turned the car towards suburban Washington, DC.

Here are my photos of the horses:

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Assateague Horses #1
Assateague Horses #1
Assateague Horses #2
Assateague Horses #2
Assateague Horses #3
Assateague Horses #3
Assateague Horses #4
Assateague Horses #4
Assateague Horses #5
Assateague Horses #5
Assateague Horses #6
Assateague Horses #6
Assateague Horses #7
Assateague Horses #7

Here are the birds, the egrets are from Assateague and the remainder from Blackwater:

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Snowy Egret
Snowy Egret
Great Egret (male) #1
Great Egret (male) #1
Great Egret (male) #2
Great Egret (male) #2
Great Egret (female)
Great Egret (female)
Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle
American Coot
American Coot
Northern Shoveler (male)
Northern Shoveler (male)
Red-winged Blackbird (female)
Red-winged Blackbird (female)
Lesser Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
White Pelicans
White Pelicans

The weekend in suburban Washington, DC finally brought the lovely spring weather we had been hoping for.

We spent the weekend visiting with my parents, my sister and brother-in-law (who live nearby) and our daughter (who lives in Baltimore).

My parents live in a “soup-to-nuts” retirement “village” with lots of open space. There are many birds around and I was duly entertained on our daily walks around the grounds!

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Downy Woodpecker (male)
Downy Woodpecker (male)
Eastern Bluebird (male) #1
Eastern Bluebird (male) #1
Eastern Bluebird (male) #2
Eastern Bluebird (male) #2
Northern Flicker (male)
Northern Flicker (male)

We arrived home late Monday evening to find that spring had returned to New Hampshire in our absence. There is still ice on the lake and scattered pockets of snow in the woods, but we have great hope!


 


 

4 April 2015

The End of March

Filed under: Early Spring,Landscapes,Monadnock Region — Tags: , — Frank @ 12:00 PM

Spring is trying mightily to arrive.

The weather has been “changeable”. Some days are warm; some are distinctly chilly. The skies are brilliant blue one day and slate gray the next. The snow and ice are hanging on but also rapidly diminishing.

Spring will be here any day week.

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Sap Bucket #1
Sap Bucket #1
Sap Bucket #2
Sap Bucket #2
Sap Bucket #3
Sap Bucket #3
Bald Mountain from Willard Pond
Bald Mountain from Willard Pond
Early Spring Wetland
Early Spring Wetland
Rye Pond
Rye Pond
Gregg Lake
Gregg Lake

 

27 March 2015

Spring Thaw — Signs of the Times

Filed under: Early Spring,Landscapes,Monadnock Region — Tags: , — Frank @ 12:00 PM

Spring is trying its damnedest to sprung.

These days, the daytime highs are mostly above freezing and we are even getting a few nights with temperatures just above freezing… other nights the low temperatures are in the teens. This means that the sap is running and there are signs of activity around the local sugar shacks.

There is still much snow on the ground. However, it is rapidly receding, especially on the south facing surfaces. The lakes and ponds are still well iced over but puddles of water (or hard, clear ice depending on the temperature) have appeared on top of the old crusty snow.

Along the roads, there are also (literally) signs of spring.

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Eva's Marsh
Eva's Marsh
Birch Pond
Birch Pond
Sign of the Times #1
Sign of the Times #1
Sign of the Times #2
Sign of the Times #2
Sign of the Times #3
Sign of the Times #3
Sign of the Times #4
Sign of the Times #4

 

13 March 2015

Town Meeting Day

Filed under: Early Spring,Landscapes,Monadnock Region — Tags: — Frank @ 12:00 PM

Mid-March… A time of great change in southern NH.

The local birds, as they begin the mating season, are much more vocal than they were only a week or two ago. A few early robins have appeared.

And, the landscape is beginning to thaw… very slowly!

With the thaw, glacial erratics and stone walls begin to throw off their winter blankets of snow*. The thaw also brings with it maple and mud seasons as well as town meeting.

Yesterday was Town Meeting day in Antrim. I took a walk along Brimstone Corner Road yesterday afternoon. I went a little earlier than I might of if I had not needed to get to town meeting. Thus, the light was not perfect.

Signs of the early spring were every where… especially under foot!

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On the Road...Literally
On the Road...Literally
Untitled
Untitled
Mailbox #1
Mailbox #1
Mailbox #2
Mailbox #2
Emergence #1
Emergence #1
Emergence #2
Emergence #2
Maple Abstract #1
Maple Abstract #1
Maple Abstract #3
Maple Abstract #3

* There is no sign of ground yet… except where Joan shoveled the snow off the patch of the garden where the peas will be planted in a week or two. The peas don’t get started inside. However, there has been much recent activity (and mud) in our mudroom as many other seeds have been sown in small plastic chambers. Another sure sign of early spring around here!!!


 

1 March 2015

Snowshoe Treks

Filed under: Landscapes,Monadnock Region,Winter — Tags: , — Frank @ 10:00 PM

Joan and I try to get out on our snow shoes as often as possible. We don’t make it out every day, but I would guess we make it out three of every five days. Sometimes we go together, other times we head out independently.

Last Thursday, we headed out independently but more-or-less in the same direction… down to the lake. The skies were heavily overcast and thus the lighting was pretty flat.

It had been three or four days since the last significant snow. Thus, the tracks of the local fauna were beginning to accumulate again. It is always fascinating to see evidence of passing of various animals.

One knows that animals are traveling through the landscape all year long but the snow cover allows one to see this in great detail.

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Tracks #1
Tracks #1
Lake Shore in Winter
Lake Shore in Winter
Barn Roof with Snow
Barn Roof with Snow
Tracks #2
Tracks #2
Birches
Birches
Tracks #3
Tracks #3
Hoary Maple
Hoary Maple

On Sunday, we headed out together. We drove the mile down to the bridge, buckled on the snow shoes and headed up Hattie Brown Road.

The show shoeing was easy as a snowmobile had packed down a nice trail the entire way; there was also ski tracks in the trail. However, we did not encounter anyone else in the three hours we were out.

The sky was a cloudless azure and thus, as the afternoon progressed, conditions were perfect for adding to my “Shadow Play” series.

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Shadow Play #7
Shadow Play #7
Shadow Play #8
Shadow Play #8
Shadow Play #9
Shadow Play #9
Shadow Play #10
Shadow Play #10
Shadow Play #11
Shadow Play #11
Shadow Play #12
Shadow Play #12
Coyote Tracks in Snow
Coyote Tracks in Snow
Shadow Play #13
Shadow Play #13

 

24 February 2015

Two More Photos From Sunday

Filed under: Landscapes,Monadnock Region,Winter — Tags: , — Frank @ 12:00 PM

As usual, I also photographed the “landscape” while we were out on the lake on Sunday. I was hoping for some nice wind sculpted snow on the lake but there was not much to see in that regard.

However, I did make two “non-porcupine” photos that I thought blog-worthy.

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Winter Lakeshore
Winter Lakeshore
Boathouse in Winter
Boathouse in Winter

 

23 February 2015

Porcupine!

Filed under: "Camp",Mammals,Monadnock Region,Wildlife,Winter — Tags: — Frank @ 9:30 PM

Yesterday was the first day with above freezing temperatures since early January… the high was 33 degrees! The warm spell did not last long. It was 11 when I got up this morning and it is -1  (-15 with the wind chill) as I write this at about 8:30 PM. The low tonight will be around -10 without the wind chill.

We are down to about a cord and a third of wood… I suspect that we’ll be switching to oil in a couple of weeks!!!

Joan and I took advantage of yesterday’s warm spell by heading across the lake on snow shoes. Our main goal was to rake the three feet of accumulated snow from the roof of our camp. Eventually it will warm up and rain on the snow and that sort of weight is not kind to old structures. Thus the need for snow removal.

While I started the raking, Joan explored the various animal tracks in the snow on the lake. A coyote had walked along the shore of the cove and stopped to dig out and explore an animal carcass buried in the snow.

Another set of tracks ended at a small hemlock a few feet off the lake. Sitting about eight feet up in said tree was a porcupine doing what porcupines usually do while sitting in hemlocks… eating!

It is very common this time of year to find the snow under hemlocks littered with small bits of hemlock branches; a sure sign of a porcupine had a meal aloft. Hemlock seems to be their preferred winter food and they are messy eaters!

I was easily persuaded to exchange the roof rake for my camera and was able to move to within a dozen feet of the porcupine without any evidence of concern upon its part… it just kept on munching hemlock boughs.

Eventually, it descended the tree and headed towards me along the edge of the lake. It shuffled around for a short while and then climbed another, small hemlock a few feet from the first. It settled in to eat again about eight or ten feet off the ground. After some time it headed further up the tree and I decided that it was time to get back to the roof rake.

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Porcupine Lunchtime #1
Porcupine Lunchtime #1
Porcupine Lunchtime #2
Porcupine Lunchtime #2
Porcupine Lunchtime #3
Porcupine Lunchtime #3
Scrounging Around #1
Scrounging Around #1
Scrounging Around #2
Scrounging Around #2
Second Course
Second Course
Moving Up
Moving Up

 

20 February 2015

Shadow Play

Filed under: Landscapes,Monadnock Region,The "New" Yard & Environs,Winter — Tags: , — Frank @ 4:00 PM

About a week ago, I headed “down back”. I was expecting fairly harsh light as the skies were mostly clear and light from a low angle in the mid-afternoon, just before the sun dipped below the ridge to the west.

My expectations were met and I was able to make a series of photos of the vegetation sticking up out of the snow casting shadows on the nicely textured snow. Every once in a while nature cooperates with the photographer and his visions!

A couple of days later we got another 10-12 inches of snow and although I have not been down back since, I am sure that there is not much emergent vegetation now!

My next vision involves shadows and wind-blown snow out on the lake. But not today (I think) as the mid-afternoon temperature is hovering right around 10 degrees (and some where around -5 with the wind chill).

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Shadow Play #1
Shadow Play #1
Shadow Play #2
Shadow Play #2
Shadow Play #3
Shadow Play #3
Shadow Play #4
Shadow Play #4
Shadow Play #5
Shadow Play #5
Shadow Play #6
Shadow Play #6

 

26 January 2015

Practice

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,The "New" Yard & Environs,Winter — Tags: — Frank @ 8:00 PM

Like so many things in life, photographing small birds takes practice.

Thus, yesterday afternoon I set up the chair blind, tripod, etc. near the feeders in our yard intent on getting some practice.

In addition to the usual birds we see all winter (chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and downy woodpeckers*) we have been seeing small flocks (8-12 individuals) of goldfinches at the feeder in the past week or so. I photographed them all yesterday.

I have decided that the titmice are the hardest of these birds to photograph.

Many individuals fly directly to the feeder from fairly far afield. Those that do stop at one of my “photo perches” near the feeder rarely stay for more than two or three second; a much shorter interval than any of the other species**.

Photographing titmice requires rapid reflexes… and much practice!

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White-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Downy Woodpecker (male)
Downy Woodpecker (male)
Goldfinch
Goldfinch
Tufted Titmouse #1
Tufted Titmouse #1
Downy Woodpecker (female)
Downy Woodpecker (female)
Tufted Titmouse #2
Tufted Titmouse #2

* We also seem to have a pair of red-bellied woodpeckers that visit the suet feeder regularly, most often fairly early in the morning. I did not see them yesterday afternoon.

** The red-bellies are hard to photograph as well for similar reasons. They spend a much shorter time at the feeder than the other woodpeckers. They stay only long enough to dislodge a large chunk of suet which they then carry off into the woods. I suspect that they cache much of this food for later use.


 

19 January 2015

Snow and Light

Filed under: Monadnock Region,The "New" Yard & Environs,Winter — Tags: — Frank @ 7:00 PM

Snow is not simple.

Once it falls to the ground, it begins to change. It is sculpted by the wind, pitted by rain, trod upon by animals, etc.

The late afternoon sunlight playing upon a snowy landscape makes life interesting for photographers.

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Untitled #1
Untitled #1
Untitled #2
Untitled #2
Untitled #3
Untitled #3
Untitled #4
Untitled #4
Untitled #5
Untitled #5

 

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