Photographs by Frank

12 June 2022

Around the Yard on a Sunday Afternoon

This afternoon I took a short stroll around the yard just to see what was up.

There were a few odes about and a number of swallowtails nectaring on Joan’s garden flowers. Speaking of garden flowers, the poppies have really ‘popped’ in the last several days.

The frog is a resident of the small pool I built this spring*, hoping to attract wildlife (especially birds) to photograph without attracting the local bears (as would putting out seed for the birds). I have yet to find the time to ‘stake out’ the pool and see what, if any, birds come by but this frog moved in within a few days of my filling the pool with water.

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* The wooden handles on our wheelbarrow rotted out and were unrepairable. Of course the plastic tub was still in good shape so I disassembled the wheelbarrow and plugged the holes in the tub where the bolts pierced it. I then buried the tub in the ground and added some strategic rocks to cover the exposed plastic of the tub. Joan added some plants to further naturalize the setting and now we have a small ‘water feature’ out near the greenhouse.

21 October 2021

Our Magnificent Planet 2021

Filed under: Odontates,Other Insects,Wildlife — Frank @ 6:52 PM

Stalwart readers may remember that I had a photograph published in Our Magnificent Planet 2020, a book published by the folks who issue LensWork magazine (see this post).

A few months ago, I submitted three photographs to this year’s version, Our Magnificent Planet 2021.

A few weeks ago, I was notified that, again, one of my photographs has been selected for inclusion in this book. I am batting 1.000!*

Below, are the three photos I submitted.

I like a surprise so I have continued my ‘tradition’ from last year and I have not emailed the publisher to find out which photograph was selected.

We’ll just have to wait until December when the book is delivered!

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* My friend Joe Sack is also batting 1.000 in this game.

13 May 2021

Luna Moth

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Other Insects,Spring,Wildlife — Frank @ 9:15 PM

Joan spotted this female luna moth perched near the ground along side the road between our house and the Price Farm. I am pretty sure it is a female given the small size of its antennae and the large size of its body..

Luna moths are not rare, but they are rarely seen since they are nocturnal.

An interesting fact about the imago (winged, sexually mature) form seen here: they have no digestive system. The only function of the “adult” luna moth is reproduction. It will live for about a week and use the fat stored as a caterpillar as its sole source of energy.

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P.S. Quick loon update… there was a loon sitting on the nest when I drove by (twice, about an hour apart) late this afternoon,

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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8 July 2018

(Mostly) Wildflowers at Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center

Filed under: Other Insects,wildflowers — Tags: , — Frank @ 9:49 PM

In preparation for my workshop titled “Photography of Dragonflies and Damselflies“, I have (twice in the past couple of weeks) spent some time at the Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center (in West Brattleboro, VT). Alas, the odes have been sparse both visits, but there are numerous wildflowers (IDs by Joan) in their meadows. They also have numerous day lilies blooming around their buildings at the moment.

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8 June 2018

Small Critters

This morning, after an absence of almost two weeks*, I took a walk up the unmaintained section of Brimstone Corner Road just to see what was around.

Ode-wise, the most common species were still the “early birds”… Hudsonian whitefaces (yellow individuals only) and chalk-fronted corporals (of both sexes). The numbers were small about six whitefaces and a dozen corporals in the three miles I walked.

I also observed a single brown-grey damselfly (probably a female bluet of some sort) and a female racket-tailed emerald.

There were a number of other small critters about. That is, besides the black flies and the mosquitoes (although neither of these were present in numbers large enough to be bothersome). I saw two red efts and a small (about the length of the first joint of my thumb) wood frog. Small numbers of at least three species of butterflies and one moth were also out and about.

Plant-wise, the spring ephemerals (trillium, etc.) are gone but a number of small summer flowers are in bloom or just about to open up.

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* I spent ten days in Maryland visiting my mother who is in a rehab facility after breaking both a wrist and a hip.


19 May 2018

Ode Season Progression

The ode season progresses.

The hudsonian whitefaces are maturing. Both males and females emerge with yellow and black markings. As the males mature the yellow spots turn red. Yesterday, about one in ten of the hudsonian whitefaces I saw were red or reddish.

Hudsonian whitefaces were still, by far, the most common ode around. However, small numbers of chalk-fronted corporals and brownish-grey damselflies (most probably a bluet of some sort) have appeared in the past few days.

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While prowling the “neighborhood” with a camera set up to make close up photos of smallish insects, I often find other things to point my lens at… other insects (especially butterflies) and flowers (of both wild and garden ilk) are most common.

Yesterday, while I was kneeling near a stone wall stalking a chalk-fronted corporal, a chipmunk poked its head out from between two stones. He was a very curious “fellow”*. Every time I moved he would duck back into the crevice, but after a few seconds he would reappear. I was close enough to photograph him without taking the extension tube from between my camera and lens.

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* I say “fellow”, but I did not see enough of this individual to actually determine its sex.

13 August 2017

A Walk at Loveren’s Mill

Yesterday afternoon, Joan and I took a walk at the Nature Conservancy’s Loveren’s Mill property. This site, which lies along the North Branch river and is partly in Antrim, contains a rare white cedar swamp. I brought along the “ode rig” and thus concentrated on photographing small things close up.

There were a smallish number but a good variety of odes present… ebony jewelwings along the fast moving parts of the river and meadow hawks and some unidentified (and unphotographed) damselflies along the woods roads. Oddly, we saw no odes along the boardwalk in the swamp proper.

The most common, by far, insect present was a small (about an inch across), drab tan moth. There were spots along the road where each foot step stirred up a dozen or so individuals.

Botanically, there was an interesting mix of early season spring ephemerals (e.g. painted trillium, clintonia and bunchberry) in fruit and late season wildflowers (e.g. joe pye weed, asters and goldenrod) in bloom. Additionally, the damp summer has been very good for the fungi and I photographed a number of different mushrooms.

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Sorry for the lack of captions/titles.  The last upgrade to the blog software seems to have introduced a small incompatibility with the gallery software. I thought I had figured out a work around for the previous post, but now I can not remember what I did the other day!


6 April 2017

2017 Trip South

Filed under: Amphibians,Birds,Odontates,Other Insects — Tags: , — Frank @ 3:30 PM

If two years makes a tradition, we headed south after (a snow-delayed*) town meeting for our “traditional” trip south. Our destination this year was the Florida panhandle.

We spent a week camped at the Wright Lake campground in the Apalachicola National Forest. Each day we headed out to explore from this base. We ranged from the Saint Marks National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in the east to the St. Joseph Peninsula State Park in the west. In addition, we hit a number of Florida Birding Trail sites within the National Forest, the Saint George Island State Park and the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve  (their Unit 4 tract on St. George Island was particularly productive photographically).

Since we had such a good time last year at the Okefenokee NWR/ Foster State Park in SE Georgia, we stopped there for a day on the way back home. This time we were able to kayak some of the swamp on our own. It was quite an experience sitting low to the water with dozens of alligators all around.

Birds (many IDs needed but in the interest of a timely post, they will be added later)

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Other Subjects

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* Two feet of snow will do that… even in NH! We arrived back home on the evening of 3 April to find a knee high pile of snow at the end of the drive way (the result of another foot of snow dumped a few days previously). It took about 45 minutes of work with snow blower before we could get the car and camper into the driveway.


18 July 2016

Down Back, Again

Yesterday (18 July) afternoon I headed down back to the beaver-made wetland complex at the back of our property.

As I headed out, I got distracted by the butterflies on the flowers in the beds around the yard. I in the middle of photographing butterflies, I  spent some time stalking a small orangeish dragonfly but I was not able to make a photo. After this dragonfly vanished for good, and as I was about to stand up to move on, I noticed that a small robberfly had landed on the perch last used by ode. Of course, I had to photograph it!

Eventually, I did wander down the hill to the natural habitat of the beaver pond and wet meadow.

New, since my last trip down back, was the presence of darners. I am not sure of the exact species. They were patrolling over both the pond and the wet meadow. The numbers were not large; I saw maybe half a dozen.

By far, the most common ode present were frosted whitefaces. They were mostly patrolling over the pond. However, every once in a while one would perch near me and I was able to make a photograph. The numbers were way down compared to my last visit (on 2 July, see this post).

I also observed  two sprites (either sphagnum or sedge) deep down among the vegetation along the pond. Neither were able to be photographed.

Out over the meadow there were a small number of calico pennants. As with the frosted whitefaces, the number of pennants are way down from a couple of weeks ago. However the individuals present were all actively feeding. I watched  (and photographed) one individual for about fifteen minutes. During that time, I watched it make dozens of hunting forays always returning to the same perch. It was successful on about half of its hunts.

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