The ode season is off to its usual slow start in the Monadnock region.
Ten days ago (on Sunday, 10 May) I noticed a single yellow (i.e. an immature male or female) Hudsonian Whiteface. The next day, I saw another single individual.
By the end of the week, there were dozens of individuals sunning themselves on the driveway and the road and a few of the males were beginning to turn red. Small numbers of female Chalk-fronted Corporals had also appeared.
This past weekend (15 – 16 May) , I observed a couple of Hudsonian Whiteface mating wheels on the wing. Thus, the season progresses.
This morning (Wed., 20 May) dawned chilly (temperature in the 50’s) and breezy. I had thoughts of heading down to the lake to look for emerging odes, but decided against it based on the weather.
Mid-morning, Joan had some business to attend to down at the public beach. When she arrived there she called me to say that there was an eclosing nymph on the beach shed.
I arrived at the beach shortly thereafter and we discovered a number (all of the same species, probably a skimmer or an emerald; but don’t quote me!) of shed exuvia on the tree trunks as well as a couple of nymphs still scaling their chosen tree.
Shows you how much I know!
When she got back to the house, Joan headed down to the garden. A short time later, I was summoned down to the garden because she had discovered a dragonfly, probably an immature male American Emerald, perched on the ground.
Last evening I took a drive and picked up Big Bertha* from the repairman. Don’t ask how she ended up in the shop… I’m trying to forget!
This afternoon, just to make sure that all is working properly, I set up by the feeders and gave Bertha a thorough workout. All is looking good, as you can see in the photos below.
The male red-winged blackbird made an appearance again… just to observe. Very strange… the feeders are set up at the edge of the woods (i.e. it is not typical red-winged blackbird habitat) and we are at least a quarter mile from the nearest marsh where these birds usually hangout.
The other interesting visitor was a great crested flycatcher. I do not think that I have ever seen one before.
At least the feeders are in the right habitat for this species… mature deciduous forest, according to Sibley. This individual just perched for a minute or two near the feeders before it flew off.
* My 600 mm f/4 lens.
Yesterday morning, I set about to re-engineer the support for the main bird feeder in hopes of keeping the chipmunks at bay.
After lunch, I sat down with my camera to watch the birds and to see the results of my efforts regarding the chipmunks. I am happy to report great success… only one chipmunk on the feeder in a day and a half and none since I made a minor adjustment early this morning.
As for the birds, the most common birds at the seed these days are finches. Gold finches are the most common but we’ve had good numbers of purple finches as well. Downy woodpeckers are the most common suet eaters present but an occasional nuthatch and a red-bellied woodpecker also appear.
One oddity that has appeared at the feeders over the past few days is a male red-winged blackbird. It just seems to perch and watch for a while before flying off. I have never seen it take either seed or suet.
The turkey is also an oddity in that I was actually able to get a good photograph. Turkeys are very common in our neck of the woods. (I am usually awakened at about 5:30 these mornings by their calls.) However, they are usually very skittish and thus difficult to photograph.
This male appeared by the greenhouse about six last evening and stuck around long enough for me to get a few nice photographs.
Joan and I took a walk yesterday to assess the state of the neighborhood wildflowers, especially the lady slippers.
We were a bit early for the annual lady slipper spectacular, but there was much else to keep us entertained.
Mention “New England foliage” to most folks and they think of our autumn spectacle.
The spring-time “foliage show” is much more subtle.. mainly shades of green and yellow with a few muted reds of the swamp maples thrown in.
In my view, the vernal show is as pretty as the autumnal version.
We keep a few bird feeders out by the greenhouse, just off the deck in back of the house. Watching (and occasionally photographing) the birds the feeders attract is a source of great pleasure in our lives.
However, the feeders are also the cause of great consternation… the neighborhood
chipmunks seed thieves have decided that the sunflower seeds in the main feeder have been put there for them.
I keep telling them that the devices are called bird feeders for a reason but they do not seem to listen at all!
The best I have been able to manage is to train the critters who live under our shed to run for their lives when I open the doors leading out to the deck.
The individuals who live in the woods (judging from the direction they run when I chase them off) are still very brave… I have to walk up to the feeder and give it a whack to get them to jump off!
The “fellow” in the photo below sat atop the big rock by the deck and vocalized for some minutes last evening. I am not sure what it was saying (my ability to communicate in chipmunk-ese is poor; see above), but I imagine that s/he was warning all of the other chipmunks to stay away from the feeder.
While the table top “studio” (white seamless background and lights) was all set up to make the “New Hampshire Firewood” photo, I looked for other things to put in front of my lens.
Joan had two daffodils from the yard sitting in a vase on the kitchen counter. They were my next victim. Subsequently, a number of the other plants from around the house succumbed!
This afternoon was middle-of-summer hot and sticky. I headed to the cool of the basement to make a photograph that has been rattling around my skull since about February.
The subject of this photo is the only piece of nine cords of firewood that we did not burn this winter. When I came across this piece of wood, I placed it on the mantel instead of in the stove.
Truly a fine piece of New Hampshire firewood!
Yesterday afternoon I took a walk “down back” intending to make some photos of the upper beaver meadow.
It turned out that the light was lousy and the skies boring. so I turned my attention to the details of the new springtime growth.
Eventually the blackflies won out and I hie-tailed it back to the house,
I arose from the dinner table last evening, took a look out the front door and noticed that we had a suppertime visitor.
This “fellow” was rooting around for supper in the leaves on the inside of the stone wall down by the road; I am unsure as to what it is eating.
Of course, I took the camera and headed out the door. Porcupines are pretty easy to photograph. Their sight is not particularly keen so if one moves slowly on can get pretty close. I stopped and set up the camera/tripod about twenty or thirty feet away.
I made eleven exposures before I was noticed. At this point the critter ambled down across the road and into the woods.
I do not believe that concept of “hurry” exists in the porcupine universe!