Photographs by Frank

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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Osprey with Fish
Osprey with Fish
Gull
Gull
ID Needed 1
ID Needed 1
Clapper Rail
Clapper Rail
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Crow
Crow
Eastern Towhee
Eastern Towhee
Semipalmated Sandpiper (?)
Semipalmated Sandpiper (?)
Tri-colored Heron with Prey
Tri-colored Heron with Prey
Tri-colored Heron
Tri-colored Heron
Little Blue Heron (immature) and Glossy Ibis
Little Blue Heron (immature) and Glossy Ibis
Pied-billed Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe
American Coot
American Coot
Sora
Sora
Common Moorhen
Common Moorhen
Glossy Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Brown Pelican (immature)
Brown Pelican (immature)
Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican
Sanderling (?)
Sanderling (?)
Willet (?)
Willet (?)
ID Needed 2
ID Needed 2
ID Needed 3
ID Needed 3
ID Needed 4
ID Needed 4
ID Needed 5
ID Needed 5
ID Needed 6
ID Needed 6
Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican
Mockingbird
Mockingbird
ID Needed 7
ID Needed 7
Double Crested Cormorant #1
Double Crested Cormorant #1
Anhinga
Anhinga
Double Crested Cormorant #2
Double Crested Cormorant #2
Laughing Gull #1
Laughing Gull #1
Willet (?)
Willet (?)
Laughing Gull #2
Laughing Gull #2
Laughing Gull #3
Laughing Gull #3
ID Needed 8
ID Needed 8
ID Needed 9
ID Needed 9
ID Needed 10
ID Needed 10
ID Needed 11
ID Needed 11
Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

Other Subjects

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Alligator #1
Alligator #1
Softshell Turtle
Softshell Turtle
Green Anole #1
Green Anole #1
Alligator #2
Alligator #2
Cypress Trees with Anhinga (Okefenokee)
Cypress Trees with Anhinga (Okefenokee)
Alligator #3
Alligator #3
Okefenokee Swamp
Okefenokee Swamp
Florida Slider
Florida Slider
Alligator #4
Alligator #4
Dragonfly (ID Needed) 1
Dragonfly (ID Needed) 1
Spider
Spider
Dragonfly (ID Needed) 2
Dragonfly (ID Needed) 2
Butterfly (ID Needed) 1
Butterfly (ID Needed) 1
Burnt Palmetto
Burnt Palmetto
Butterfly (ID Needed) 2
Butterfly (ID Needed) 2
Dragonfly (ID Needed) 3
Dragonfly (ID Needed) 3
Damselfly (ID Needed) 1
Damselfly (ID Needed) 1
Apalachicola Forest Landscape
Apalachicola Forest Landscape
Green Anole #2
Green Anole #2

* 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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Butterfly (id needed) on Garden Flower
Butterfly (id needed) on Garden Flower
Great Spangled Fritillary on Garden Flower
Great Spangled Fritillary on Garden Flower
Robberfly #1
Robberfly #1
Robberfly #2
Robberfly #2
Frosted Whiteface #1
Frosted Whiteface #1
Frosted Whiteface #2
Frosted Whiteface #2
Calico Pennant with Prey
Calico Pennant with Prey
Calico Pennant #1
Calico Pennant #1
Calico Pennant #2
Calico Pennant #2

 

1 June 2016

Memorial Day Odes

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!

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Springtime Darner (male) #1
Springtime Darner (male) #1
Springtime Darner (male) #2
Springtime Darner (male) #2
Stream Cruiser (male)
Stream Cruiser (male)
Lancet Clubtail
Lancet Clubtail
Bluet sp. (male) with Prey
Bluet sp. (male) with Prey
Chalk-fronted Corporal (female) #1
Chalk-fronted Corporal (female) #1
Chalk-fronted Corporal (female) #2
Chalk-fronted Corporal (female) #2
Bluet sp. (male)
Bluet sp. (male)
Aurora Damsel (female)
Aurora Damsel (female)
ID Needed
ID Needed
Hudsonian Whiteface (male) with prey
Hudsonian Whiteface (male) with prey
Grasshopper
Grasshopper

 

22 July 2015

Yard Odes and Flowers

Yesterday (Tuesday, 21 July) dawned hot and sticky and stayed that way. Despite the weather I spent some time in the late afternoon haunting the yard in search of odes. The numbers of odes were small, but there was a nice variety. The most common insect was a butterfly; the great spangled fritillary.

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Spreadwing
Spreadwing
Great Spangled Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
Frosted Whiteface (female)? #1
Frosted Whiteface (female)? #1
Frosted Whiteface (female)? #2
Frosted Whiteface (female)? #2
Frosted Whiteface (female)? #3
Frosted Whiteface (female)? #3
Calico Pennant (male) Oblisking
Calico Pennant (male) Oblisking
Calico Pennant (male)
Calico Pennant (male)

At some point during my rounds, I turned my attention from odes to the flowers Joan has growing in the many beds and containers around the yard.

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Black-eyed Susan #1
Black-eyed Susan #1
Black-eyed Susan #2
Black-eyed Susan #2
Garden Flower #1
Garden Flower #1
Poppy
Poppy
Garden Flower #2
Garden Flower #2
Purple Coneflower
Purple Coneflower
Black-eyed Susan
Black-eyed Susan
Snapdragon
Snapdragon

 

24 June 2015

You Can Observe A Lot By Watching

The title of this post is a quote attributed to Yogi Berra and how true it is!

When one is low to the ground with a camera set up to take photos of small things (such as odes) one finds oneself attuned to a world that is hidden in plain sight. There is a lot of “stuff” going on between the ground and six inches of elevation!

Much of the “stuff” one sees are insects, but I often observe other types of critters as well. The immature wood frog is one of those.

I had just stood up from photographing a damselfly and had taken a step or two when I heard a faint rustle in the old leaves underfoot. I quickly dropped to my knees to investigate and after searching for a few minutes, I finally found the source of said rustle… a wood frog the size of my thumbnail, unmoving and doing its best impression of a dried leaf!

I moved a bit trying to find a “window” in the detritus on the ground without scaring away the frog. I successfully found an angle with a clear view of the frog and was rewarded with a nice photo of this fairly common but seldom seen animal.

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Grasshopper
Grasshopper
Insecta Fantastica
Insecta Fantastica
Immature Woodfrog
Immature Woodfrog

Another good subject for a camera set up to photograph odes are small wildflowers. One can easily make nice photos of the flowers nicely isolated against out of focus backgrounds.

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Wildflower
Wildflower
Hawkweed
Hawkweed
Yarrow
Yarrow
Fern
Fern

 

18 June 2015

Up North

Filed under: Amphibians,Mammals,Odontates,Other Insects,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , , , , — Frank @ 5:00 PM

Monday afternoon, we strapped the kayaks to the roof of the car, hitched up the camper, and headed north. We arrived at Lake Francis State Park (in Pittsburg, NH) at supper time.

Pittsburg is as far north as you can go in New Hampshire… it is so far north that Canada lies to the west as well to the north!

On Tuesday morning we put the kayaks in the water at the East Inlet (to the Second Connecticut Lake) and paddled as far up this watershed as we could go. We were finally stopped by the willow thicket overhanging the narrow and fast moving channel.

About a noon time the predicted rain showers began. We were soaked to the skin by the time we got back to the landing and the car. We had a good time anyway!

We saw a loon as we got out of the car and a second one while we were out in the boats. There were other birds about as well, along with lots of frogs and a lone moose.

The frogs were calling from the marshy areas but hard as I tried, I could not espy a single one. I was beginning to despair every getting a photo when I finally noticed the bright yellow throat sac of one sitting just at the edge of the open water. After finding the first specimen, I began to see yellow throat sacs from the proverbial mile a way… they were, in fact, rather numerous!

As for the moose… I was peacefully and slowing paddling along when, as I rounded a bend in the shore line, I heard a great splashing sound. I am not sure if the bull moose or I was more surprised. The moose quickly made for the shore and the first photograph I made of him contained mainly his posterior as he headed up into the marsh. Once out of the water, he did turn to look at me  and I was able to make an adequate (but not spectacular) portrait.

Joan missed the entire show as she was botanizing some distance behind.

The rain was just letting up as we got back to the East Inlet boat launch… figures! We changed into dry clothes and decided to drive up to Scott Bog; another kayaking/wildlife hot spot.

Along the way we scared another smallish moose off the road.  Scott Bog will be our target next time we are in the area with our boats!

After an early dinner, we took a drive up Indian Stream Road. We turned around at the parking area for the Indian Stream Gorge trail head. We’ve put this on our “to do” list as well.

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East Inlet
East Inlet
Frog #1
Frog #1
Frog #2
Frog #2
Moose
Moose
Scott Bog
Scott Bog

Wednesday morning we were on the road south by 7:30. Joan was meeting another NEWFS PCV* in Northumberland to do a rare plant survey. While they were botanizing, I headed to the nearby Eames Wayside.

This piece of public land along the Connecticut River looked promising on the map, but I could not find much information about it. It turns out to be essentially undeveloped, there is small parking area on Route 3, but that is it. I tried to bushwhack down to the river but was turned back by the willow thickets.

As I headed back to the car somewhat dejected, I noticed a dragonfly in a sunny spot along the rail bed. Thus all was not lost!

I spent the next couple of hours photographing damselflies and other insects, along about fifty feet of rail bed near a small stream flowing under the rails in a culvert. I did not see another dragonfly the entire time I was there but the damsels were plentiful!

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Eastern Forktail (male)
Eastern Forktail (male)
Fly
Fly
Moth
Moth
Tule Bluet (male) ?
Tule Bluet (male) ?
Tule Bluet (female) ?
Tule Bluet (female) ?
Insect
Insect
Familiar Bluet (female) ?
Familiar Bluet (female) ?

*NEWFS… New England Wildflower Society; PCV… Plant Conservation Volunteer


 

27 August 2014

Up North

Monday morning, we packed up the camper and headed north. Our goal was the Errol, NH area as Joan had some plant conservation volunteer business to attend to.

We arrived at  Mollidgewock State Park in the middle of the afternoon, dropped off the camper and spent the remaining daylight hours exploring and photographing. The highlight of the evening was watching (through the spotting scope and too far away to photograph) three otters eating and playing in the Androscoggin River.

Tuesday, we awoke to dense fog over the river but it burnt off quickly and  the day turned hot (low 80’s) and sunny as predicted.

After breakfast, Joan spent  four or five hours locating a population of rare plants (the only known population of this species in the US; there are about ten other isolated populations in Canada) and collecting seeds from them  for the New England Wildflower Society.

I spent the time photographing the local roadside flora and the odes and had fun despite the harsh light.

By midafternoon, we were back on the road meandering towards home.

Landscapes

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Androscoggin River at Cambridge, NH
Androscoggin River at Cambridge, NH
Lake Umbagog at Sunset #1
Lake Umbagog at Sunset #1
Lake Umbagog at Sunset #2
Lake Umbagog at Sunset #2
Dead Diamond River (Second College Grant, NH)
Dead Diamond River (Second College Grant, NH)

Odes (and a grasshopper!)

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ID Needed
ID Needed
Spreadwing (male)
Spreadwing (male)
Grasshopper
Grasshopper
Spotted Spreadwing (male)
Spotted Spreadwing (male)
Meadowhawk (male) #1
Meadowhawk (male) #1
Bluets (tandem pair)
Bluets (tandem pair)
Bluet (male)
Bluet (male)
Meadowhawk (male) #2
Meadowhawk (male) #2

Flora

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Common Arrowhead
Common Arrowhead
Meadow Sweet
Meadow Sweet
Pearly Everlasting
Pearly Everlasting
Ox Eye Daisy
Ox Eye Daisy
Common Yarrow
Common Yarrow
Canada Hawkweed
Canada Hawkweed
Birch Leaf
Birch Leaf
Seedhead #1
Seedhead #1
Seedhead #2
Seedhead #2
Seedhead #3
Seedhead #3
Seedhead #4
Seedhead #4

 

29 July 2014

Wildflowers of the North Country

Filed under: Other Insects,Summer,wildflowers — Tags: , , — Frank @ 10:00 PM

Please note: Thanks to Allan, Al and Joan for getting the plants identified. 

The New England Wildflower Society (“NEWFS”) occasionally sponsors field trips for their “PCVs” (i.e. plant conservation volunteers).  This past weekend was was the occasion of the most recent of these.

Nine folks total… staff, PCVs and two husbands gathered in Pittsburg, NH for a weekend of botanizing. I (one of the husbands, obviously?) tagged along for the adventure in general and the hope of some “interesting” odes.

The far north of NH is interesting ecologically since it represents the southern limit of the range for some species found mainly in Canada (plants and odes included) so we were all hoping to see new “stuff”.

Joan and I left the house mid-morning on Friday with camper in tow. We meandered north up the center of NH (staying west of I-93 until Franconia) studiously avoiding the highways. We passed through Kinsman Notch (the second nicest of the notches*)  in the White Mountains and arrived at the Mountain View Cabins and Campground in Pittsburg by the late afternoon.

After a home-cooked dinner with much great food, we spent the evening observing the neighborhood moths as one of the participants had set up white sheets and  lights to attract these critters. I had heard about this activity before but this was my first time experiencing it. Very interesting!

On Saturday morning, after a breakfast of homemade blueberry pancakes, we headed out to the South Bay Bog (part of the Connecticut Lakes Natural Area) and spent the day slogging through the bog in search of rare plants (especially orchids) and odes. The search for plants was a rousing success. The search for odes was less successful as the weather was not ideal (temperature in the low 70’s and cloudy).  I did observed a couple of emeralds, a few sphagnum sprites and a couple of  unidentified dragonflies but did not make any photographs of them.

Rather, I figured “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” and concentrated on photographing the vegetation.

Wild Flowers in and around South Bay Bog

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Club-spur Orchid (Platanthera clavellata)
Club-spur Orchid (Platanthera clavellata)
Little Green Sedge (Carox viridula)
Little Green Sedge (Carox viridula)
Common Wood Sorrel (Oxalis montana)
Common Wood Sorrel (Oxalis montana)
White beaksedge (Rhynchospora alba)
White beaksedge (Rhynchospora alba)
Sparse-flowered Sedge (Carex tenuiflora?)
Sparse-flowered Sedge (Carex tenuiflora?)
Horned Bladderwort (Utricularia cornuta)
Horned Bladderwort (Utricularia cornuta)
Northern White-fringed Orchid (Platanthera blephariglottis)
Northern White-fringed Orchid (Platanthera blephariglottis)
Pitcher Plant Flower
Pitcher Plant Flower
Tawny Cottonsedge (Eriophorum virginicum)
Tawny Cottonsedge (Eriophorum virginicum)
Cottonsedge sp. (Eriophorum sp) ?
Cottonsedge sp. (Eriophorum sp) ?
Fireweed (Epilobium augustifolium)
Fireweed (Epilobium augustifolium)

On the way back to the campground, we stopped at a spot where there was a large concentration of butterflies nectaring on the roadside flowers. (Also included in this set  are other “miscellaneous” photos.)

Mostly Insects

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ID Needed #19
ID Needed #19
Amanita Mushroom
Amanita Mushroom
ID Needed #20
ID Needed #20
LIchen
LIchen
Moth Nectaring on Milkweed
Moth Nectaring on Milkweed
ID Needed #22
ID Needed #22
ID Needed #23
ID Needed #23
ID Needed #24
ID Needed #24

Sunday morning we awoke to scattered rain showers, but we headed out again for a second morning of botanizing in the East Inlet area**. The group was successful in finding a number of the rare plants they were looking for. I saw a single ode (a female meadowhawk) during one of the lulls in the rain and, again, entertained myself photographing the flora.

Wild Flowers Near East Inlet

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Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea)
Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea)
Fireweed (Epilobium augustifolium)
Fireweed (Epilobium augustifolium)
Fleabane (Erigeron sp.) #1
Fleabane (Erigeron sp.) #1
Fleabane (Erigeron sp.) #2
Fleabane (Erigeron sp.) #2
Fleabane (Erigeron sp.) #3
Fleabane (Erigeron sp.) #3
Spotted Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium maculatum)
Spotted Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium maculatum)
Tall Meadow Rice (Thalidrum pubescens)
Tall Meadow Rice (Thalidrum pubescens)
Thistle
Thistle
Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)
Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)
Closed Gentian (Gentiana clausa)
Closed Gentian (Gentiana clausa)

As the weather continued to be iffy, the group broke up around lunch time. After a quick sandwich at the Lake Francis boat launch with a few of the others, Joan and I pointed the car and camper south. We took an western route home, hugging the Connecticut River as much as possible until we hit the Hanover area where we followed NH 10 (which veers east there) to NH 31. We arrived home about 7 PM.

A good time was had by all!


* The nicest notch… that would be Jefferson… the one driven by hardly anyone!

** We’ will definitely be headed back to East Inlet as it looks like spectacular canoeing/kayaking territory.

 

30 June 2014

Coastal Maine Trip, Part IV (Hog Island Olio)

Filed under: Other Insects,Wildlife — Tags: , , , , — Frank @ 8:00 PM

Part III  is here.

It rained prodigiously overnight but things were beginning to dry up by the time we arose on Thursday. After breakfast, I took a hike around the island with another one of the campers rather than participating in the sessions with the instructors. After lunch there was, again, free time to work on personal projects. I spent some more time staking out the merlins again in hopes of catching another prey transfer. No prey was transferred during my watch, but I did get to watch a very wet female merlin preen for about 10 minutes.

The evening program was a very entertaining celebration of 2014 International Guillemot Appreciation Day (iGAD). There were songs, skits, poems, and much glee all around all in honor of under-appreciated guillemot. Joan wrote a song (to the tune of “Those Were the Days”) in honor of the guillemont. She performed the song accompanied by the ukulele and, with the help of another camper, the concertina. A good time was had by all!

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Audubon Dory
Audubon Dory
Periwinkle Acrobats (Harbor Island)
Periwinkle Acrobats (Harbor Island)
Lobsterman off Hog Island, ME
Lobsterman off Hog Island, ME
Blue Flag Iris (iris versicolor)
Blue Flag Iris (iris versicolor)
Beach Rose
Beach Rose
Periwinkle
Periwinkle
Small Crab
Small Crab
Yellow LIchen (Xanthoria parietina)
Yellow LIchen (Xanthoria parietina)
Barnacles and Periwinkles on Harbor Island, ME
Barnacles and Periwinkles on Harbor Island, ME
Periwinkle Pair
Periwinkle Pair
Rock Layers (detail)
Rock Layers (detail)
Luna Moth
Luna Moth

Part V is here.


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