Photographs by Frank

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!

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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.


16 June 2014

Food & Sex

How is that for an attention-getting post title!

It might be attention-getting, but it is a good description of the ode activity in our yard yesterday.  There were dozens of whitefaces, at altitudes ranging from one to twelve feet constantly on the move and feeding.  There were also smaller numbers of other species both hunting and mating.

In addition to the odes there were also decent numbers of butterflies around… small orange butterflies down low in the vegetation, many swallowtails nectaring (especially on the blackberries) and a single black butterfly on the edge of the road looking for salt. (The last two butterfly photos as of the same individual.)

There were often groups of three or four swallowtails doing their in flight dances… is this mating behavior or is it about territory? More stuff to learn!

Through it all, the chipmunks living in our stone walls would chatter at me. I guess that they want the yard to themselves.

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Meadowhawk Mating Wheel
Meadowhawk Mating Wheel
Aurora Damsel (female) with Prey
Aurora Damsel (female) with Prey
Chalk-fronted Corporal (female) with Prey
Chalk-fronted Corporal (female) with Prey
Four-spotted Skimmer (female)
Four-spotted Skimmer (female)
WHiteface sp (male)
WHiteface sp (male)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (female)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (female)
Common Whitetail (imm. male)
Common Whitetail (imm. male)
ID Needed
ID Needed
Swallowtail
Swallowtail
ID Needed
ID Needed
ID Needed
ID Needed
Eastern Chipmunck
Eastern Chipmunck

31 December 2013

An ‘Adams Dozen’ for 2013

Back at the end of 2011, I added an entry titled  “Twelve Images” based on  Ansel Adams idea that twelve good photographs in a year is a decent crop. I had intended this to be an annual event but I seem to have missed last year.

I actually chose, printed and matted the twelve photos for 2012; they are stored carefully in their own print box. However, I do not seem to have written a blog entry about them… oh well! It doesn’t seem right to post them at this late date, so I’ll just forge ahead!

Thus, without further ado, here is my ‘Adams Dozen’ for 2013:

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Beaver Swamp in Early Winter
Beaver Swamp in Early Winter
Dunes in Winter
Dunes in Winter
The Presidential Range from Cherry Pond
The Presidential Range from Cherry Pond
Cannon Mountain
Cannon Mountain
Snag with Nest in Winter
Snag with Nest in Winter
Grouse Tracks in the Snow
Grouse Tracks in the Snow
Wetland Margin in Autumn
Wetland Margin in Autumn
Big Dipper on a Moonlit Night
Big Dipper on a Moonlit Night
Blue Flag Iris
Blue Flag Iris
Lady Bug Leap
Lady Bug Leap
Blue Dasher (male)
Blue Dasher (male)
Recycled
Recycled

26 August 2013

Pitcher Mountain

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Other Insects — Tags: , , , — Frank @ 10:00 PM

Yesterday (Sunday) afternoon found us (myself, Joan, Katrina, Suzy and Lyle) atop Pitcher Mountain in Stoddard, NH.

Pitcher Mountain is the site of some world-class wild blueberry picking; there are acres and acres of terrain specially maintained to promote blueberry bush growth. The blueberry season is winding to a close, but the hike to the top of the mountain is usually rewarded with spectacular views in all directions. I did not bother with landscape photos this trip… harsh mid-day light, a cloudless sky and a bit of haze don’t do justice to the scene.

Rather, as one might expect, I concentrated on the insects! There were dozens of darners patrolling territories and hunting on the summit but rarely landing… the one frame of a darner I show here is the only one I made. Darn those darners!

I saw one other dragonfly on the summit… a female Eastern Amberwing. A new species for me. She was quite cooperative and hung around for maybe five minutes or so.

In between hunting darners, I was able to keep myself entertained with the grasshoppers. The butterfly was spotted at the trail head as we arrived back a the road.

We stopped for ice cream at the new place on Route 10 (in Marlow) before heading home. It was delicious and well worth the short drive in the “wrong” direction. Dinner was not needed last night!

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Darner sp.
Darner sp.
Eastern Amberwing (female)
Eastern Amberwing (female)
Grasshopper #1
Grasshopper #1
Grasshopper #2
Grasshopper #2
ID Needed
ID Needed

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)

19 August 2013

Another Trip “Down Back”

About 4 this afternoon, I donned my waders and spent about an hour and three quarters near the beaver pond “down back”.

I was surprised by the lack of meadowhawks… I saw only two or three along the margin of the beaver swamp. There were small numbers of darners out of the meadow… I saw maybe a dozen total while I was out. I also saw a single sedge sprite.  The most numerous ode present were the spreadwings (I don’t know what species). I saw roughly three dozen.

When I arrived at the edge of the beaver pond I found a convenient spot of open water and knelt down keeping the sun off my shoulder. I was happily watching and photographing spreadwings when I noticed a small (first joint of the thumb-sized) frog not more than I foot from my knee. I don’t know if he was there when I knelt down or if he appeared after I settled in. He was too close to photograph with the ode rig, so I backed up slowly. He was completely unconcerned and I was able to photograph him (see Green Frog #1).

A short while later I noticed two more similar sized frogs near by. One was too close to photograph and partly covered by some grass. The other made for a nice photograph (see Green Frog #2). I decided to try a different angle on the second frog and, as I went to move my position, I almost put my knee on a much larger (fist-sized) green frog. I was able to back off without disturbing him and made Green Frog #3. The big guy was more wary than the smaller fellows and fairly quickly jumped out of sight. I went back to photographing the second frog head on (see Green Frog #4; note the blood-sucking flies, one on each eye!).

The sedge sprite made a brief  appearance while I was photographing the frogs and I was able to get two frames before it disappeared again.

Eventually, I stood up and moved off a short distance. While I was moving I found the orange butterfly and was able to get a clear view for just a single frame.

I was entertaining myself with the spreadwings at the second spot when I heard the clatter of dragonfly wings. The sound of dragonfly wings hitting vegetation or each other is quite unmistakable.

I quickly located the source, a female darner down low in the grasses ovipositing. I was able to get two frames before she moved off to another spot without a clear line of sight. After short interval she moved again, this time to a spot about a foot in front of me but she only stayed for a second or two before flying off out of sight. I went back to photographing spreadwings.

After a few more minutes, I decided that it was time to make supper so I headed back up the hill to the house.

That’s my story for today and I am sticking to it!

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Green Frog #1
Green Frog #1
Green Frog #2
Green Frog #2
Green Frog #3
Green Frog #3
Green Frog #4
Green Frog #4
Sedge Sprite (male)
Sedge Sprite (male)
Butterfly (ID Needed)
Butterfly (ID Needed)
Spreadwing sp.
Spreadwing sp.
Spreadwing sp.
Spreadwing sp.
Green-striped Darner (female), ovipositing
Green-striped Darner (female), ovipositing
Spreadwing sp.
Spreadwing sp.

15 August 2013

A Week Off (from Photographing)


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Looking at the calendar, I realize that it has been a week since my last post; this after a string of daily posts the week before.

All I can say is that I have been busy. This photo explains much of that busyness:

The Woodpile - August 2013

We had six cords of fire wood delivered in the late afternoon last Saturday. I had it all stacked before lunchtime yesterday (i.e. Wednesday). The stack is roughly eighteen feet by eighteen feet by four and a half feet… about eight cords total.

Every time I went out to work on the stack, I had to ignore the many odes, mainly meadowhawks of both sexes, that were around the yard. After finishing yesterday, we ate lunch on the deck and as soon as we finished eating, I picked up the camera. I made all of these photos within about twenty five feet of the deck. The band-winded meadowhawk is another new species for me.

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Meadowhawk sp. (female)
Meadowhawk sp. (female)
Meadowhawk sp. (immature male)
Meadowhawk sp. (immature male)
Meadowhawk sp. (female)
Meadowhawk sp. (female)
Band-winged Meadowhawk (male)
Band-winged Meadowhawk (male)
Meadowhawk sp. (female)
Meadowhawk sp. (female)
Great Spangled Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
The Woodpile - August 2013
The Woodpile - August 2013

4 August 2013

The First Two Days of August

Filed under: Odontates,Other Insects,Summer,wildflowers — Tags: , , , — Frank @ 12:00 PM

These photos were made around the yard on Thursday. It was quite unusual to see large darners hanging around the yard.

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Butterflies (Moths?) Mating
Butterflies (Moths?) Mating
Great Spangled Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
Shadow Darner (female)
Shadow Darner (female)
Canada Darner (male)
Canada Darner (male)

On Friday evening we put the kayaks in Gregg Lake and explored the wetlands at the north end.

Joan dragged her boat over the beaver dam and explored a bit on the upper side. The water on the upper side is roughly two feet higher than the lower side. On the return trip Joan fell in while trying to get back into her boat! I found enough to photograph without getting out of my kayak.

It was rather late in the day for odes, so I did not take the “ode rig”. Rather I took the little V1 and looked for other subjects.

There were a lot of vesper bluets out and about, so I’ll have to head out again soon with the ode rig. I did not even try photographing them with the V1 as it simply does not have anywhere near the magnification needed.

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Spreadwing
Spreadwing
Pickerel Weed #1
Pickerel Weed #1
ID Needed
ID Needed
Pickerel Weed #2
Pickerel Weed #2
Untitled
Untitled
Untitled #2
Untitled #2
Untitled #3
Untitled #3
Untitled #4
Untitled #4
Cloudscape #1
Cloudscape #1
Cloudscape #2
Cloudscape #2
Cloudscape #3
Cloudscape #3
Cloudscape #4
Cloudscape #4

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