Photographs by Frank

28 July 2022

Mid-week Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , , — Frank @ 10:00 PM

Yesterday afternoon I spent roughly four hours (2-6 PM) looking for odes (ode-ing?). The temperature was in the low 80s F and the skies mostly clear. I visited two sites, spending a bit less than two hours at each.

My first stop was the Harris Center property on Brimstone Corner Road in Antrim (a.k.a. part of the old boy/girl scout camp, depending on how long you have been around!). Here, I walked down the road to its low spot where the beaver pond outlet crosses the road.

I spotted my first odes when I got to the now rapidly regrowing log landing. There were several blue dashers, a few female common pondhawks and a couple of calico pennants present here. There was also a lone yellow dragonfly that cannot identify. (I know I have seen this species before, but it just isn’t coming to me know… a symptom of old age, I guess!)

In the stream just below where it crosses the road there were many (two or three dozen) ebony jewelwings of both sexes and a small number of variable dancers, including two pairs flying in tandem.

Across the road and along the shore of the large beaver pond, I observed a single male slatey skimmer and a couple of spreadwings.

My second stop was the Cilley Family Forest in Greenfield. (This land was once part of the Robertson farm. The Robertsons are Joan’s cousins.) Here, I walked down the road to the field by the river and then over to the railroad bridge across the Contoocook. In the field I observed a single blue dasher, couple of Halloween pennants and a couple of male widow skimmers. Over on the bank adjacent to the rail bridge, I saw a single female common pondhawk.

All-in-all, the total number of odes (except for the Ebony jewelwings) were low has seems to be generally true this summer. However, I did see a nice selection of different species while I was out.

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The first ten of these photos were made at the Harris Center property; the last four at the Cilley Family Forest.

13 July 2022

Wednesday’s Work

This morning dawned bright and clear. After breakfast, I took a stroll about the yard, with scissors in hand, hunting for objects with which to make anthotypes. While the anthotypes were exposing, I worked on hand-coloring another print.

All of these images are small, made on 5×7 inch or smaller paper. The anthotypes are each made on a different paper. #3 is on Strathmore Vision drawing paper (fairly bright white). #4 is on the warm-toned Strathmore Series 400 drawing paper. #5 is on Unica Ivory, also warm but somewhere between the other two papers in tone. I am definitely liking warm-toned paper for paprika anthotypes.

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After lunch, with the skies partly to mostly sunny and the temperature right around 80 deg. F (i.e perfect weather for photographing odes) I headed out to do just that! My goal was the Ashuelot River in Surrey. This is a fast moving, rocky-bottomed smallish river; different from the usual ode habitats I frequent.

I spent just under two hours along the river upstream of the bridge (at the farthest upstream Army Corps of Engineers access site) and was amazed at the paucity of odes. I saw exactly six ebony jewelwings. I did not observe a single dragonfly!

On the way home I made two additional stops along the river on the road between Surrey and Gilsum with similar results… one additional ebony jewelwing.

My luck was only slightly better when I got back to Antrim. I stopped at the field adjacent to the Stone Church on Clinton Road and saw a couple of female Eastern Forktails and, finally two dragonflies. The dragonflies were both out over the small pond in this field and I did not get a good enough view of either to identify them. One of these individuals was making rapid circuits around the circumference of the pond. The other individual was ovipositing; i.e. repeatedly dipping the end of her abdomen into the water.

The lack of odes was quite surprising. Early yesterday evening a line of thunderstorms crossed the region; an inch of rain fell in well less than an hour accompanied by high winds. My guess is that odes do not survive well under these conditions. However, I do not have (and with a quick Google search did not find mention of) any evidence to support this idea.

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28 June 2022

Monhegan Island – Flora and Fauna

Filed under: Birds,Mammals,wildflowers,Wildlife — Tags: , , — Frank @ 11:00 AM

Although our trip to Monhegan Island was mostly about the landscape, I did manage to make a few photographs of the non-human inhabitants of the island even though I did not have a long lens* with me.

There were plenty of birds on the island including, according to Merlin, many nesting warblers along with nesting gulls and cormorants. Common Eiders were also plentiful out past the surf.

The mallards on Ice Pond are clearly habituated to humans. As soon as I showed up on the small beach, every mallard on the pond made a beeline for me expecting a hand out.

There was also a well habituated Herring Gull present atop White Head both times we visited there. I assume that it was used to folks feeding it scraps of their snacks/lunch.

The photos of the seals and the cormorant colony were made when we took an afternoon boat ride around the island… it takes all of thirty minutes to circumnavigate Monhegan Island!

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Late June is also a good time for wildflowers on Monhegan. The beach roses were in full bloom as were many other flowers both large and small.

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* I had my 70-200 mm zoom and a 1.7x teleconverter.

17 June 2022

Chick Vigil (Thursday Edition)

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 9:13 PM

I know that today is Friday… but sometimes things get busy!!

Late Wednesday evening we had multiple reports of a long, loud territorial spat between two loons. Thus, we were a little apprehensive about what we would find when we headed out for a look early Thursday morning.

However, our fears were quickly put to rest as we observed all four loons (two adults and two chicks) on the main part of the lake to the east of the town beach. The birds were behaving normally… adults diving, chicks bobbing and fresh fish served up.

The loon family was too far away for decent photographs, so this post it text only. Sorry about that!

15 June 2022

Chick Vigil (Wednesday Edition)

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , , — Frank @ 6:00 PM

We have two chicks!!!

I arrived at the lake this morning at a few minutes after nine and watched the nest for three hours. It was immediately obvious that there was a chick on the nest. Every so often the adult would lift its right wing and I could see movement under the wing (see the video below, for an example).

At one point the chick moved around in front of the adult and headed into the water. It spent a few minutes in the water (hidden from my view by the emergent vegetation) before climbing back up on the nest and the protection of the adults wing. The adult never left the nest during the three hour I watched.

Two pairs of walkers happened by while I was loon sitting and both mentioned that there was a loon with a chick on the main part of the lake over by the road. The loon, I could believe*, but I was skeptical about the chick. After all, I was watching a chick and an adult sitting on the nest which surely still had the second (unhatched) egg… right?


Shortly after noon, I decided that I had enough excitement for the day and headed for the truck. However, before packing things away, I decided to go see what was up with the second loon. (I had heard it call twice while watching the nest.) Much to my surprise there it was, over by the road, accompanied by a chick!

My guess is that one adult headed out with the firstborn chick while the second adult waits for the newly hatched chick to strengthen a bit at the nest.

I ran back to the truck for the camera to document the pair in the harsh, directly overhead, noontime sun.

I am anxious to see what tomorrow brings.

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Video of loon on nest with chick under wing

* Although one has to be careful, a few years ago (during the summer we had our first loon nest on Gregg Lake in living memory) I had a fellow tell me that there had been nesting loons on the lake for a number of years and he had seen them out on the lake with five or six babies! I am pretty sure he had mistaken Canada geese for Loons.

14 June 2022

Chick Vigil (Tuesday Edition)

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 12:34 PM

We have a chick!!!!

This morning (Tuesday, 14 June 2022) Joan and I arrived at the lake shortly after nine. An adult loon was sitting on the nest, but we immediately knew that something was up. The adult was very fidgety with their right wing moving about. Sure enough, as soon as we got our optics (Joan’s spotting scope and my camera) set up we could see a small brown lump under the partial upraised wing of the adult (see the first photo below, look very carefully)… a chick!

Shortly after we arrived both the adult and the chick left the nest and spent most of the next hour in the water. They never strayed more than a few feet from the nest. Joan, with a better angle and more magnification was able to see the second egg still in the nest unhatched. (It is not unusual for two nest mates to hatch a day or two apart).

The chick spent the majority of its time in the water during the hour we observed them. However, the chick climbed up under the adults wing and onto its back twice. The adult (with chick aboard) did mount the nest and settle in for a brief interval before entering the water again.

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13 June 2022

Chick Vigil

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer — Tags: — Frank @ 1:00 PM

By our calculus, there should be loon chicks arriving this week. In order not to miss this crucial event, we are planning to head down to the lake each morning to see what is happening.

This morning we arrived at the lake’s edge just after ten and spent an hour observing. When we got out of the truck we were excited to see a loon in the water near the nest, suggesting that maybe eggs had hatched. False alarm… by the time we walked the couple of hundred feet to our usual observation spot, the loon was back sitting on the nest.

Twice in the next hour, the loon stood up, examined (rolled?) the eggs and sat back down. Other than that the only action was the usual wary loon-on-a-nest carefully watching its surroundings.

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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.

8 June 2022

Loon Sitting

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 8:01 PM

Late yesterday afternoon, I headed down to the lake to observe the loon nest. There was not a lot of action.

I watched for an hour and three-quarters. In that time the individual on the nest shifted position quickly twice. I am not sure they even turned the eggs.

At about ninety minutes, I got up to stretched my legs and saw a second loon off the end of the point on the main part of the lake. This gave me hope that they might do a switch so I sat back down and waited another fifteen minutes before I decided that dinner was in order.

All told, I made about sixty exposures, mostly to keep myself entertained, not because there was great action!*

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I also experimented with video, something I rarely do. Here is a three minute clip that really gives you a feel for the ‘excitement’ of loon watching!

Try to stay awake… I did for more than an hour and a half!!!!

* WARNING – photographer talk ahead! The first few exposures yesterday afternoon were made using with a 2x teleconverter (a different one from the one I used several days ago). There is certainly some degradation in the images made with the converter, although I am not sure that it is evident in the small files I post here. I am pretty convinced that I will get better results with deeper crops (to get similar fields of view) of the files made without the converter than I will using the converter. As you would expect, since it is a 2x converter, the file sizes differ by a factor of two as well.

I’ll need to make a few prints before making a final decision.

6 June 2022

Dragonflies, No Damsels

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 4:15 PM

Early yesterday afternoon I took a walk up the unmaintained section of Brimstone Corner Road with the ode rig in hand. Well, maybe “walk” is the wrong term… “crawl” or “stroll” is probably a better term. It took me roughly two hours to cover maybe two-thirds of a mile. I stopped at every sunny spot along the road looking for odes. I got my aerobic exercise on the return trip as I only took about ten minutes to get back home when I decided to turn around. In the late afternoon, I again succumbed to the siren call of the myriad of odes that were about and roamed the yard for an additional hour.

The temperature was in the upper 60s F and it was breezy. The skies were partly cloudy with lots of fast moving, puffy summer-time clouds.

The most common species present, by far, were chalk-fronted corporals. Every sunny spot on the road had six or more individuals sunning themselves. Next most common were the whitefaces, probably Hudsonian whitefaces, but telling the various whiteface species apart (especially the females) without netting them is beyond my capability. All of the rest of the species I saw (and photographed) were represented by much smaller numbers, in most cases I saw only one or two individuals.

I observed (but did not photograph) only two damselflies the entire time I was out. A female aurora damsel in the early afternoon and a female bluet in the yard. My guess is that it was too windy for the relatively weak flying damsels and that they were all hunkered down as odes do in unsuitable (to them) weather.

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