Photographs by Frank

22 June 2016

Weekend Odes at the Lake

Filed under: "Camp",Monadnock Region,Odontates,Spring — Tags: , — Frank @ 6:30 PM

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

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Bluet Pair in Tandem
Bluet Pair in Tandem
Teneral Damselfly (possibly a variable dancer)
Teneral Damselfly (possibly a variable dancer)
Damselfly Exuvia
Damselfly Exuvia
Clubtail sp.
Clubtail sp.
Dragonfly Exuvia
Dragonfly Exuvia
Lancet Clubtail (?) with Prey
Lancet Clubtail (?) with Prey
Teneral Damselfly
Teneral Damselfly
Lancet Clubtail
Lancet Clubtail

 

Photos from Sunday

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Bluet sp.
Bluet sp.
Dragonfly Exuvia #1
Dragonfly Exuvia #1
Damselfly Exuvia
Damselfly Exuvia
Teneral Damselfly #1
Teneral Damselfly #1
Teneral Damselfly #2
Teneral Damselfly #2
Dragonfly Exuvia #2
Dragonfly Exuvia #2

 

30 May 2016

Lakeshore Odes

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

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

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Exuvia #1
Exuvia #1
Dragonfly Entangled in Spiderweb #1
Dragonfly Entangled in Spiderweb #1
Dragonfly Entangled in Spiderweb #2
Dragonfly Entangled in Spiderweb #2
Exuvia #2
Exuvia #2
Dragonfly Entangled in Spiderweb #3
Dragonfly Entangled in Spiderweb #3
Exuvia #3
Exuvia #3
Dragonfly Entangled in Spiderweb #4
Dragonfly Entangled in Spiderweb #4
Dragonfly Entangled in Spiderweb #5
Dragonfly Entangled in Spiderweb #5

 

21 August 2015

Gregg Lake Clubtails

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

August at the lake is time for the big dragonflies… clubtails and darners.

The most common ode around the lake on Wednesday afternoon was the black-shouldered spinyleg, one of the clubtails. I also observed a number of dragonhunters (another clubtail) and a number of unidentified darners. The last of these only as they flew by at breakneck speed.

As for damselflies, there were a few male variable darners hanging around the vegetation along the shore; always low to the water. These are stragglers. The bulk of the population mated some weeks ago and are now gone.

The clubtails and darners are difficult to observe and especially photograph. Both groups are strong fliers and don’t spend much time perched.

Darners are the worst in this respect. They are really fast in flight, so you don’t get a good look at them. They also tend to perch high in the trees and thus are hard to see and harder to photograph.

The clubtails are a bit easier… they tend to perch lower down, often on rocks. Thus, getting a good photo is at least thinkable. On the lake they like to perch on the deep water side of the many rocks that emerge from the water.

My strategy is to watch them carefully and observe where one lands. I can usually observe them with the binos. Often, I can then get the kayak in position to make a good photo before they decide to take flight again.

Photographing at high magnification from a moving platform (i.e. a kayak) has its own challenges and my “keeper” rate is lower than is typical. However, the “hunt” is an entertaining way to spend a hot sunny afternoon.

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Black-shouldered Spinyleg (male) ? #1
Black-shouldered Spinyleg (male) ? #1
Dragonhunter (male)
Dragonhunter (male)
Black-shouldered Spinyleg (male) #2
Black-shouldered Spinyleg (male) #2
Black-shouldered Spinyleg (male) ? #3
Black-shouldered Spinyleg (male) ? #3
Variable Dancer (male)
Variable Dancer (male)

 

20 July 2015

Gregg Lake Odes

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

I spent a few hours yesterday (Sunday, 19 Jul) afternoon wading the shore of Gregg Lake near our camp. The weather was hot, sunny and breezy.

Although there were a few dragonflies in flight over the water, I saw only damselflies along the edge of the lake. The most common damsels were variable dancers. There were mostly males present; probably two or three dozen along the roughly hundred feet of lake shore I wandered.  However, I also observed four or five tandem pairs ovipositing.

I also saw two male eastern forktails and either one or two (it could have been the same individual twice) male swamp spreadwings. I do not remember seeing swamp spreadwings along the lake before.

The highlight of the day (for both the spider and myself; not so much for the damselfly) was watching a spider feasting on a variable dancer trapped in a web.

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Variable Dancers (tandem pair)
Variable Dancers (tandem pair)
Spider Eating a Variable Dancer
Spider Eating a Variable Dancer
Eastern Forktail (male)
Eastern Forktail (male)
Variable Dancer (male)
Variable Dancer (male)
Variable Dancer (male)
Variable Dancer (male)
Swamp Spreadwing (male)
Swamp Spreadwing (male)
Exuvia
Exuvia

 

6 July 2015

Little Bluets at Camp

Filed under: "Camp",Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 11:00 AM

Late on Friday (3 July) afternoon Joan and I headed for our camp on Gregg Lake. I spent about ninety minutes (beginning about 4 PM) photographing odes along the lake shore.

Although I observed a small number of dragonflies in flight over the lake, I only saw two species of damselflies along the shore. The most common damselfly was the male Little Bluet. I saw at least a dozen individuals in about a 100 feet of shore, all perched within a foot of the water; the large majority with in six inches. Additionally, I observed a single pair of variable dancers ovipositing.

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Little Bluet (male) #1
Little Bluet (male) #1
Damselfly in Spiderweb
Damselfly in Spiderweb
Little Bluet (male) #2
Little Bluet (male) #2
Little Bluet (male) #3
Little Bluet (male) #3

 

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

 

22 September 2013

A Windy Day in Early Autumn

Filed under: "Camp",Early Fall,Landscapes,Monadnock Region — Tags: , — Frank @ 9:00 PM

Late this afternoon, we took a quick “spin” on the lake in the kayaks. It was breezy and cool but the interesting clouds made for good photography.

September Skies #1 (Gregg Lake Near Our Camp)

September Skies #1

September Skies #2 (The Gregg Lake Shore)

September Skies #2

A Hint of Things to Come

A Hint of Things to Come

12 September 2013

Retirement, Taking Advantage of

Filed under: "Camp",Early Fall — Tags: — Frank @ 1:00 PM

Yesterday (Wednesday)  was a hot, sticky, summer day.

After lunch, we decided to take full advantage of retirement and headed down to camp. We had the lake to ourselves.

I took the “ode rig” along, but saw only seven or eight odes (all on the wing) over the few hours we were out. Ode season is coming to an end and there are signs of autumn everywhere.

I spent some time wandering the woods near camp and practiced my photographic “seeing”.

Here are the results:

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Decaying Bole #1
Decaying Bole #1
Decaying Bole #2
Decaying Bole #2
Fungi
Fungi
Early Autumn Leaf #1
Early Autumn Leaf #1
Bark
Bark
Early Autumn Leaf #2
Early Autumn Leaf #2

Yes… the colors in the first photo (Decaying Bole #1) are “true to life”.


26 August 2013

Saturday’s Crop (of Photos)

After I finished “Big Red” on Saturday morning, I spent some time poking around the yard with the camera. There were many darners about and they would infrequently perch in one of our apple trees, usually too high up for a good photograph. These darn darners are always an exercise in photographic frustration. They are, however, fun to watch! I did get one decent darner photo.

There have been small numbers of autumn meadowhawks (of both sexes) in the yard over the past few days. One  female allowed me to make exactly three frames of her  obelisking before she went on her way.

Another unusual sight in the yard was a mating pair of Eastern Forktails. This seems a little late in the season for mating behavior in this species. More unusual was to find them mating in our yard which is a quarter mile from water (the beaver swamp in one direction and the lake in the opposite direction).

In the afternoon on Saturday, I headed over to camp with Joan, Katrina and Joan’s cousins Suzy and Lyle. While they swam and chatted, I cruised, with camera in hand, the lake shore near camp.  The slatey skimmer was very cooperative and posed for me until I decided that I was done. I can not say the same for the clubtail (which allowed me only the one frame) and the orange bluet (two frames) before they flew off. I had never seen an orange bluet on Gregg Lake before.

I ended the day with the vesper bluets under close to ideal conditions (calm and in good light). This species prefers to alight on lily pads and other vegetation in water that is too deep to wade, thus one needs the kayak. They also, as the “vesper” in their name suggests, only come out at the end of the day; as the light starts to wane.

For most of the time I was out, there were no vesper bluets around. However, as the shadows grew longer more and more appeared, seemingly out of “thin air”.  There were mostly males about; I would estimate 10-20 males for every female.  The few females I observed were already paired up and either flying in tandem or in a mating wheel. I saw no ovipositing behavior while I was out… it was probably too early in the evening.

Single male vesper bluets very aggressively attack paired females trying to get them to un-pair from their chosen mate.  This behavior is difficult to photograph but great fun to watch live.

Here are the photographs (the first four from the morning and the second four from the afternoon):

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Darner sp.
Darner sp.
Autumn Meadowhawk (female)
Autumn Meadowhawk (female)
Eastern Forktail (mating wheel)
Eastern Forktail (mating wheel)
Grasshopper
Grasshopper
Slatey Skimmer (male)
Slatey Skimmer (male)
Clubtail sp.
Clubtail sp.
Orange Bluet ? (male)
Orange Bluet ? (male)
Vesper Bluet (mating wheel)
Vesper Bluet (mating wheel)

7 July 2013

Fourth of July Odes

Filed under: "Camp",Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer — Tags: , — Frank @ 10:00 AM

After a lunchtime barbeque with Joan’s cousins to celebrate the holiday, Joan and I spent the rest of afternoon and early evening at camp. Joan headed out for a sail and I headed out around the edge of the lake to see what odes were about.

Eventually we both settled in our chairs with the books we had brought; a nice way to relax on a hot and humid Independence Day.

The most abundant ode were male bluets (which I have not identified further), there were smaller numbers of variable dancers (including at least two pairs flying in tandem) and a few clubtails as well.

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Bluet sp.
Bluet sp.
Variable Dancers (tandem pair)
Variable Dancers (tandem pair)
Clubtail sp.
Clubtail sp.
Bluet sp.
Bluet sp.

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