Photographs by Frank

8 August 2020

Gregg Lake Loons – An Update

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 7:15 PM

Joan had the first shift as Lake Host this morning. She got to the Gregg Lake boat launch by 7. An hour or so later the phone rang and although the call was dead when I answered (cell phone signal at the lake is poor), the caller ID said that it was Joan.

Surmising (properly as it turns out) that she was calling with a wildlife sighting. I packed the camera, long lens and tripod into the truck and headed down to the lake to see what was up.

Joan had spotted a sapsucker spending much time at the hole in a dead tree along the road. By the time I had set up, I was able to make one exposure (which is not worth showing) before the bird took flight and I did not see it again… maybe tomorrow!

About 9:30, the loon family made an appearance off the point at the beach. I headed over there and was able to make a few photos of the youngsters at a decently close range. My photo op did not last long because all of a sudden the two adults (who were quite a distance away from the chicks) sounded the alarm call and the family rapidly converged and headed off.

Initially, I thought that I had spooked them, but I was not really very close. (The photos below are significant crops of the full frame.) I packed up when they got too far away and headed back to the truck. It turns out that I was not the cause of the loon commotion. Joan said that an eagle had passed fairly low overhead causing the ado.

It was good to see that both youngsters are doing well and will probably learn to fly in the coming weeks.

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Loon Chicks (Gregg Lake, Aug 2020)
Loon Chicks (Gregg Lake, Aug 2020)
Gregg Lake Loon Chick (Aug 2020)
Gregg Lake Loon Chick (Aug 2020)
Loon Family (Gregg Lake, Aug 2020)
Loon Family (Gregg Lake, Aug 2020)

Odes “Down Back”

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,The Yard,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 7:00 PM

Yesterday afternoon I donned my waders and made the short walk to the beaver-made wetland complex at the back of our property. I arrived a few minutes past three and stayed for about 2 hours. The temperature was right around 80 and skies were partly to most cloudy turning to a high thin overcast while I explored.

This combination of beaver pond, wet meadow and floating bog is usually full of odes this time of year. However, as seems to be the pattern this year, the odes were sparse.

In a typical year there would be dozens of darners in flight over the area; this year there were two or three, max, in your field of view at any one time. The most common ode present were meadowhawks; a pretty even mix of red individuals (mature males) and yellow individuals (either females or immature males). Most of the yellow individuals I got close to were immature males. I saw about a dozen individuals total in the couple of hours I was out. In addition to the meadowhawks, I saw exactly two sprites (very small damselflies; most probably sedge sprites, based on previous years) and one immature male calico pennant).

I was able to make photographs of some of the meadowhawks and the calico pennant, but not the sprites.

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Meadowhawk (male) #1
Meadowhawk (male) #1
Meadowhawk (Imm. Male?) #1
Meadowhawk (Imm. Male?) #1
Meadowhawk (Imm. Male?) #2
Meadowhawk (Imm. Male?) #2
Meadowhawk (Imm. Male?) #3
Meadowhawk (Imm. Male?) #3
Teneral Maedowhawk (male)
Teneral Maedowhawk (male)
Calico Pennant
Calico Pennant
Meadowhawk (male) #2
Meadowhawk (male) #2

2 August 2020

Early Saturday Morning

Yesterday morning, one of the photo groups I belong to met (in Brattleboro) for the first time since March. We met outdoors in a park, wearing masks, etc.

I got up early and left the house before seven hoping to catch some good light and make some photographs. My first stop, as I headed west on Route 9 was “the truck”. This derelict truck sitting in a roadside field in Stoddard has been a favorite subject since it appeared a few years ago.

The light was just perfect and I spent fifteen or twenty minutes photographing “the truck” and its neighbor. I just discovered “the neighbor”, a second derelict truck maybe fifty feet from “the truck” and hidden from the road by some trees. I have no idea how long “the neighbor” has been there. I’ll be going back as the light on “the neighbor” will be best late in the day.

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The Truck
The Truck
Truck Detail #1
Truck Detail #1
Truck Detail #2
Truck Detail #2
Truck Web
Truck Web
Truck Detail #3
Truck Detail #3
Truck Detail #4
Truck Detail #4
Truck Detail #5
Truck Detail #5
Truck Detail #6
Truck Detail #6
The Neighbor
The Neighbor
Truck Detail #7
Truck Detail #7
Truck Detail #8
Truck Detail #8

After breakfast at the diner in Keene (with outdoor seating) my next stop was the Stonewall Farm in western Keene. I took a short stroll around the farm and found lots to photograph.

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Stonewall Farm -- Tractor Detail #1
Stonewall Farm -- Tractor Detail #1
Stonewall Farm -- Tractor Detail #2
Stonewall Farm -- Tractor Detail #2
Stonewall Farm -- Tractor Detail #3
Stonewall Farm -- Tractor Detail #3
Stonewall Farm -- Latch Hook
Stonewall Farm -- Latch Hook
Stonewall Farm -- Safety
Stonewall Farm -- Safety
Stonewall Farm -- Blue Metal
Stonewall Farm -- Blue Metal
Stonewall Farm -- Tools
Stonewall Farm -- Tools
Stonewall Farm -- Red Maple
Stonewall Farm -- Red Maple
Stonewall Farm -- Green Maple
Stonewall Farm -- Green Maple
Stonewall Farm -- Silo Detail #1
Stonewall Farm --  Silo Detail #1
Stonewall Farm -- Silo Detail #2
Stonewall Farm --  Silo Detail #2
Stonewall Farm -- Silo Detail #3
Stonewall Farm --  Silo Detail #3
Stonewall Farm -- Silo Detail #4
Stonewall Farm --  Silo Detail #4

My original plan was to make a third stop at the Chesterfield Gorge. However, I looked at the time and decided I did not have time. This was the correct decision as I made it Brattleboro with about twenty minutes to spare before our 10 AM get together.

1 August 2020

Contoocook River Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 6:00 PM

Late yesterday afternoon, I made the short drive to the paper mill in Bennington (NH) to look for riverine odes. It was mostly sunny and the temperature was in the low 80s. Donning my wades, I spent about seventy five minutes in the river.

Immediately below the papemill dam there is a short rocky falls and then a section of fast moving water with a generally sandy bottom; a very different habitat than the lakes, ponds and beaver-made wetlands I usually frequent. As I expected, I saw some species that I don’t often see. Stream bluets and powdered dancers are species that prefer hard bottomed, fast moving water.

As seems to be the pattern for this year, there were small numbers of odes present. I observed less than a half dozen individuals of each species I photographed, including two dragonhunters perched within a foot of each other on the same dead branch overhanging the water.

Upon returning to the truck, I ordered a pizza from Rick and Diane’s. While waiting for pizza to bake, I walked around the edge of the pond at Memorial Park. There I saw maybe a half dozen eastern forktails (mostly males, but at least one female); the last photo is from this site.

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Stream Bluet (tandem pair)
Stream Bluet (tandem pair)
Dragonhuneter (male)
Dragonhuneter (male)
Stream Bluet (male)
Stream Bluet (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Stream Bluet (male)
Stream Bluet (male)
Powdered Dancer (male)
Powdered Dancer (male)
Powdered Dancer (female)
Powdered Dancer (female)
Eastern Forktail (male)
Eastern Forktail (male)

31 July 2020

Ode and Leps

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Other Insects,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 10:00 AM

Yesterday afternoon, I headed out to photograph. It was mostly sunny and the temperature was in the low 80’s.

I stopped at two sites along Powdermill Pond… Elmwood Junction, where I walked the railbed out to the bridge across the river, and the boat launch in Greenfield, where I concentrated on the “field”. I put field in quotes because the clearing is rapidly overgrowing; it is roughly half full with shoulder height or larger trees.

As seems to be the pattern this summer, there were only small numbers of odes at both sites. For all, but the widow skimmers, I saw only the single individuals that I photographed. I saw a total of maybe half a dozen widow skimmers (of both sexes) in the field at the boat launch. I also observed (but did not photograph) a lone female slatey skimmer along the rail bed.

In addition to the odes, I was able to make nice photos of some butterflies (in the order lepidoptera, thus “leps” for short). The first three individuals were all congregated in a small area of the old rail bed, attracted by the minerals in the ground. Sorry about the lack of IDs on the leps… that is not in my skill set!

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Meadowhawk (female)
Meadowhawk (female)
Butterfly #1
Butterfly #1
Butterfly #2
Butterfly #2
Butterfly #3
Butterfly #3
Widow Skimmer (male)
Widow Skimmer (male)
Meadowhawk (male)
Meadowhawk (male)
Spangled Skimmer (male)
Spangled Skimmer (male)
Butterfly #4
Butterfly #4
Widow Skimmer (female)
Widow Skimmer (female)

24 July 2020

Cilly Family Forest Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,wildflowers,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 10:45 PM

The Cilly Family Forest is a parcel of conserved land along the Contoocook River in Greenfield. It was once part of Joan’s cousin Stevie’s farm. The parcel is mostly wooded but there is a large field abutting the river that is kept open. There are often good numbers of dragonflies in the field.

I spent about ninety minutes there later this afternoon. The temperature was in the upper 70s and it was mostly sunny. There were relatively small numbers of odes present. The most numerous were female widow skimmers; I saw roughly ten individuals. In addition to the species I was able to photograph (i.e. slaty skimmer, widow skimmer and blue dasher) I also observed a single calico pennant and one other dragonfly that I was not able to get a good enough view of to identify, but it flashed green as it sped by.

I also saw (but did not photograph) roughly half a dozen damselflies total. Additionally, there were good numbers of a small (maybe an inch and a half across) orange butterfly.

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Widow Skimmer (female) #1
Widow Skimmer (female) #1
Slatey Skimmer (male)
Slatey Skimmer (male)
Closed Gentian
Closed Gentian
Widow Skimmer (female) #2
Widow Skimmer (female) #2
Orange Butterfly
Orange Butterfly
Blue Dasher (male)
Blue Dasher (male)

20 July 2020

Weekend Odes

Filed under: "Camp",Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 4:00 PM

The past few days have been has hot and hunid as it gets in this neck of the woods. Despite the weather, I have headed out to look for odes on three occasions over the weekend.

On Saturday morning, I headed down the road on the Harris Center property near our house. I went as far as the beaver dam. The odes were few and far between, but they were there.

On Sunday morning, I walked up the unmaintained section of Brimstone Corner Road. The odes were very sparse… I saw exactly two dragonflies, both patrolling an old log yard well above head hight.

Sunday afternoon, I headed across the lake to camp and waded the shoreline. Again, the odes were sparse, but present.

The first three photos below were made on Saturday morning; the remainder on Sunday afternoon.

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Slatey Skimmer (male)
Slatey Skimmer (male)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male)
Spreadwing
Spreadwing
Lancet Clubtail
Lancet Clubtail
Eastern Forktail (female)
Eastern Forktail (female)
Eastern Forktail (male)
Eastern Forktail (male)
Dragon Hunter
Dragon Hunter
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Lancet Clubtail with Prey
Lancet Clubtail with Prey

15 July 2020

Lake Hallowell Odes and Other Wildlife

Filed under: Birds,Mammals,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 10:15 PM

Lake Hallowell is a small, man-made body of water in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC near where my mother lives. It is an island of wildlife in a sea of suburbia.

We are just back from ten days of attending to my mother while my sister was occupied with work and the wedding of her eldest son. While we were there, I spent two hot and sticky late afternoons around the edges of Lake Hallowell photographing the odes and other wildlife.

I was not alone. There was a seemingly never ending parade of walkers, joggers, anglers, etc. on the paved path that girds the pond. Over the two afternoons, I also encountered three other photographers mainly stalking the birds.

I was set up to photograph odes (with my 300 mm lens and extension tube mounted on the camera). However, twice I was tempted to (and had time to) remove the extension tube and make photos of other critters… namely a green heron and a rabbit.

There were large numbers of dragonflies and very few damselflies out and about. (I saw two damselflies in the two days.)

The most common ode was a small rusty orange dragonfly with which I am not familiar*. There were thousands of individuals in more-or-less constant movement low over the water near the shore. Infrequently one would perch for a brief interval but I was having trouble making a successful photo of this species.

However, every once in awhile lady luck smiles upon you. The only successful photo of this species I made is the last one in this set; a mating wheel, the only one I saw!

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Blue Dasher (male)
Blue Dasher (male)
Blue Dasher Obelisking
Blue Dasher Obelisking
Exuvia
Exuvia
Common Pondhawk (female)
Common Pondhawk (female)
Common Pondhawk (male)
Common Pondhawk (male)
Green Heron
Green Heron
Rabbit
Rabbit
Teneral Damselfly
Teneral Damselfly
Mating Wheel (ID Needed)
Mating Wheel (ID Needed)

* They are reminiscent of eastern amberwings, but they seem somewhat larger than the minute eastern amberwing and the wings of the female in this photo are not those of the female eastern amberwing. {UPDATE: The collective wisdom of the Northeast Odes email list says that these are, indeed, eastern amberwings.}

22 June 2020

Odes at the Lake

Filed under: "Camp",Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 1:00 PM

Trying to beat the heat yesterday afternoon, I spent a few hours at our camp on Gregg Lake.

There were a moderate number of odes present. Most common were unidentified clubtails cruising the lake and moving so fast that I could not get a good view nor a photograph. There were also a fair number of bluets in the emergent vegetation along the lake edge.

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Common Whiletail (female)
Common Whiletail (female)
Lancet Clubtail (male)
Lancet Clubtail (male)
Little Bluet (male)
Little Bluet (male)

12 June 2020

Loon Chicks Again.

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 8:00 PM

This morning, shortly after nine, Joan and I headed down to watch the loons.

When we arrived one of the adults was with the two chicks and there was no sign of the other adult. All to be expected.

After a while, the second adult appeared with a small fish , fed one of the chicks and headed off to fish some more. This process was repeated twice more while I watched.

The fourth time the second adult appeared with a fish neither chick even wanted to get down into the water off the back of the other adult. After a bit of coaxing one of the chicks dropped into the water but it showed no interest in the offering, Eventually the adult ate the fish itself. I guess that everyone was well fed!

At this point the four birds settled down for some rest with both chick on the back of the adult that they spent the morning with. The chicks did not stay still for long intervals. They would hop down into the water and wander close to the adults. Eventually they would climb up under a wing and onto the back of the same adult each time.

After three and a half hours,I headed home for lunch. (Joan had stayed for only about ninety minutes before heading home for her guitar lesson.)

I made roughly seven hundred exposures. You should be thankful that I show only six below!

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Adult Loon with Two Chicks on Back
Adult Loon with Two Chicks on Back
Adult Loon with Chick in Water
Adult Loon with Chick in Water
Adult Loon with One Chick on Back #1
Adult Loon with One Chick on Back #1
Adult Loon with One Chick on Back #2
Adult Loon with One Chick on Back #2
Sibling Rivalry
Sibling Rivalry
Adult Loon with Two Chicks
Adult Loon with Two Chicks
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