Late last Friday (24 Jun) afternoon, I tossed my waders and camera into my truck and took a short drive to the Contookook River near the paper mill in Bennington, NH. I spent a couple of hours wading the shallows on the east bank immediately adjacent to the paper mill’s lawn.
There were three species of damselflies present low in the emergent vegetation. Stream bluets, Eastern forktails and a second Bluet (which I can not positively identify). The stream bluets were, by far, the most abundant and it was clearly mating time for them. I observed two mating wheels and a third pair flying in tandem.
Flying (and occasionally perching) higher up on the back were small numbers of male twelve-spotted skimmers and a lone male common whitetail (which I did not get a photograph of).
Yesterday afternoon I made my first trip of the season “down back”* to see what was up ode-wise.
The weather was near perfect… sunny and warm (low 70’s F). There was a gusty breeze which made the photography a bit difficult at times.
The numbers of chalk-fronted corporals and calico pennants in the yard have started to drop… the corporals are nearly absent, although the pennants are still the most abundant ode in the yard. I now know why… both species are moving back to the water.
Chalk-fronted corporals were by far the most common dragonfly “down back” yesterday; there were dozens flying over the open water of the beaver pond. There were also many calico pennants flying over the marsh. Most were yellow (females or immature males) but there were a few red ones (mature males) and couple of orange ones mixed in. Third in abundance were frosted whitefaces, including the only mating wheel I saw in the two and a half hours I was out.
I also saw small number of damselflies (bluets and sedge sprites), a couple of four-spotter skimmers and a lone lancet clubtail. The last being quite uncommon “down back” but very common at the lake (about a half mile away).
* The back of our property contains a beaver-made wet land complex consisting of a small stream, a beaver pond and a marsh. It is a wonderful place to spend time observing and photographing.
The weather was hot (for NH) and humid last weekend (18 and 19 Jun). We headed down to the lake and our camp for both afternoons. I spent most of the time we were there odeing.
Both days there was lots of evidence of damselfly emergence… teneral bluets were the most common ode I encountered and I even found a few damselfly exuvia.
Interestingly, on Saturday, there were many lancet clubtails present. However, on Sunday, I saw very few despite the conditions and the time of day begin similar. I have no idea why.
Photos from Saturday
Photos from Sunday
Joan’s cousin Suzy arrived at her summer place to find an olive-sided flycatcher nest on the beams that support her deck.
I took the opportunity to make a few photos of the adults as they came and went from the nest.
I only spent ten minutes on this “stakeout” since the adults seemed to delay going to the nest even though I was twenty-five or thirty feet away from the nest and the adults.
The last few days has seen our yard inundated with calico pennants. They spend most of their time down low in the grassy parts of the yard. One can often see a dozen or more in one field of view.
They are all yellow right now…meaning that they are either immature males or females. Some will be changing to the orange-red of mature males over the next week or so. Then they will disappear… back to the water to mate and oviposit.
In addition to the calico pennants, in the past couple of days, I have seen (and photographed) chalk-fronted corporals (very common), American emeralds (a couple of individuals), a single delta-spotted spiketail and lancet clubtails (common). I have also seen (but have not photographed) small numbers of frosted whitefaces.
Damselflies are also present in small numbers but I have not been paying too much attention to them given all of the dragonflies… I guess that I should though!
Yesterday was cool (it never reached 60 deg. F), cloudy and damp (there were sporadic showers in the morning)… in other words the odes were not flying. Thus, I turned my attention (and lens) to birds and I staked out the feeders for a few hours in the afternoon.
The damp weather brings out the red efts and yesterday was no exception. There were half a dozen in the small patch of lawn behind the house. As usual there were chipmunks and squirrels scavenging what they could from the bird feeders.
The usual feeder birds were present, among them were a female rose-breasted grosbeak, a male goldfinch and a number of tufted titmice. None of which presented themselves well for photography.
Also present (and photographed) were what seem to be a pair of downy woodpeckers, a hairy woodpecker, at least one male ruby-throated hummingbird and a lone turkey.
The turkey has been a regular visitor to our yard for the past few weeks. I’m no expert, but I would hazard a guess that it is either a female that did not nest or a immature male looking for a territory.
Comments Off on A Cool and Cloudy Afternoon
Yesterday (4 June), while we were eating lunch, I noticed a ode (probably a Hudsonian Whiteface) hunting from a perch at the edge of the deck. After we finished eating, I picked up the camera and headed out to see if I could make a photograph of the “lunch-time ode”.
I did not find our lunch companion. However, two hours later I headed back to the house looking for a drink! I never left our yard.
In that interval, I saw (and photographed) six species of dragonflies: four-spotted skimmer, spangled skimmer, American emerald, lancet clubtail, chalk-fronted corporal, and Hudsonian whiteface. The first three of these were my first observation of those species for the season.
Oddly, I saw no damselflies while I was out.
Comments Off on Backyard Odes – 4 June 2016
In the afternoon, on Monday (30 May, Memorial Day), I spent about three hours (about 1:45 to 4:45) hunting odes. I never got beyond maybe three hundred feet from the yard and was able to photograph nine different species of dragonflies and damselflies… and one grasshopper!
Comments Off on Memorial Day Odes
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
Comments Off on Lakeshore Odes
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.
Comments Off on 2016 Ode Season Begins