Photographs by Frank

20 May 2019

Star Island — Spring 2019 Birds

Filed under: Birds,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 9:30 PM

This past weekend Joan and I made another trip to Star Island to experience the vernal migration of birds. This is my third spring trip; previous trips were in May 2014 and May 2017, We also visited in the fall of 2015.

Star Island is one of the Isles of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine. As such, the island is a classic migrant trap that concentrates migrating birds in a small geographic area each day. That concentration, combined with the generally low vegetation (with sparse leaves in mid-May) makes for wonderful birding and bird photography.

The most charismatic of the migrating birds are the warblers in breeding plumage this time of year. However, there are other migrants present in addition to the warblers. There are also species that live and breed on the island. All are represented in the photos shown here.

The set of thirty photos* below begins with an image of a magnolia warbler in the chain-link fence with surrounds the island’s tennis court. I begin with this photo to show the size of the warblers… they are tiny birds! Their size, coupled with their near constant movement and their preference for thickets of vegetation make for challenging (and thus fun) photography.

I have sorted the set so that the warblers appear first followed by the other birds. I apologize for the large number of photos but there was an incredible variety of birds present on the island in the roughly forty-eight hours we were there. I tried not to show more than one photo of a species, but failed most egregiously in the case of both the yellow warbler (which breeds on the island and is thus one of the more common warblers) and the black and white warbler (which is one of the easier warblers to photograph as it tends to move a bit more slowly that most of the rest). Sometimes it is simply too difficult to choose a favorite “child”.

Lastly, there are still some photos titled “ID needed”. Hunting through bird books is not my idea of a fun time and in the interest of a timely post, they remain unidentified by me. If you care to help “fill in” those missing IDs, please leave a comment or send me an email. Corrections to the IDs I have made are also appreciated. I am hoping that Joan will do most of the “work” when she sees this post!

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Magnolia Warbler (in chain link fence)
Magnolia Warbler (in chain link fence)
Northern Parula #1
Northern Parula #1
Common Yellow-throat
Common Yellow-throat
Magnolia Warbler #1
Magnolia Warbler #1
Magnolia Warbler #2
Magnolia Warbler #2
ID Needed #1
ID Needed #1
ID Needed #2
ID Needed #2
ID Needed #3
ID Needed #3
Black and White Warbler #1
Black and White Warbler #1
American Redstart
American Redstart
Cape May Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Northern Parula #2
Northern Parula #2
Black and White Warbler #2
Black and White Warbler #2
ID Needed #4
ID Needed #4
Blackpoll Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Yellow Warbler #1
Yellow Warbler #1
Yellow Warbler Singing
Yellow Warbler Singing
ID Needed #5
ID Needed #5
Yellow Warbler #2
Yellow Warbler #2
Mallard
Mallard
Sparrow Singing #1
Sparrow Singing #1
Catbird
Catbird
Common Eider Pair
Common Eider Pair
Cedar Waxwing
Cedar Waxwing
American Robin with Worm
American Robin with Worm
Sparrow Singing #2
Sparrow Singing #2
Least Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
White-throated Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Common Grackle Calling
Common Grackle Calling
Red-winged Blackbird Calling
Red-winged Blackbird Calling

* For those that are interested in such things, I made roughly 800 exposures (most but not all, of birds) while we were on the island. I processed 125 (~15%) of those exposures and present 30 of them (~4%) here.

28 April 2019

Showing Off For The Girls

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Spring,Wildlife — Frank @ 7:17 PM

Shortly after lunch today, I noticed a tom turkey and five hens meandering around our “front forty”.

The females were quite drab and practical. They spent ninety percent of the time foraging and pretty much ignored the tom.

The male on the other hand was splendid in his spring finery and strutted his stuff ninety percent of the time.

Of course, I spent ninety percent of the time with the camera focused on the male!

All of these photos were made through the glass of our storm door. These birds are way too wary to do anything else.

After about a half hour, they wandered around the garden, down the hill and out of sight.

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Showing Off #1
Showing Off #1
Showing Off #2
Showing Off #2
Showing Off #3
Showing Off #3
Showing Off #4
Showing Off #4
Showing Off #5
Showing Off #5
Showing Off #6
Showing Off #6

3 April 2019

Common Mergansers

Filed under: Birds,Early Spring,Monadnock Region,Wildlife — Frank @ 10:30 PM


Despite the inch of snow we got last night, spring is coming slowly to our neck of the woods. The new snow was gone by 10 AM. One sign that spring is nigh. Additionally, the local lakes and ponds are starting to show some open water and the birds are beginning to return. In the past week or so, we have been hearing sparse bird songs in the woods and a few waterfowl have appeared.

Late this morning Joan called me from Memorial Park (where she was doing some spring cleaning of the flower beds) . The news was that there was a pair of common mergansers on the Mill Pond. Of course, I dropped what I was doing, broke out Big Bertha for the first time in some months and headed downtown.

In addition to the mergansers there was a pair of geese present. The midday light was high and harsh. Terrible, especially, for photographing a black and white bird. I knew that “keepers” were unlikely but I spent an hour or so watching and photographing just for practice before heading home.

A few hours later, I returned to town to run some errands and stopped by the pond again to see if the birds were still around; both the geese and the mergansers were still there. Although the sun was still pretty high, the light was a bit better as there were some scattered clouds. I spent another hour or so photographing the mergansers.

Catching a merganser with prey on the surface was a rare treat. Generally, as with most diving birds, mergansers swallow their the prey while under water. One sees them with prey only when they are having difficulty in getting the prey down their gullet, as with the fairly large fish here.

Eventually, the wind kicked up and blew my hat into the pond. I got both feet wet retrieving the hat (just before it sank out of sight). and spooked the birds in doing so. I took this as sign to head home.

All of these photos are from the second session. They are more heavily cropped (one third to one half of the full frame) than I would like but mergansers are very wary birds.

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Common Merganser Pair #1
Common Merganser Pair #1
Common Merganser Pair #2
Common Merganser Pair #2
Common Merganser Pair Resting
Common Merganser Pair Resting
Female Common Merganser Hunting
Female Common Merganser Hunting
Female Common Merganser with Prey #1
Female Common Merganser with Prey #1
Female Common Merganser with Prey #2
Female Common Merganser with Prey #2
Common Merganser Pair Cruising
Common Merganser Pair Cruising

18 August 2018

Morning Visitor

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer,The Yard,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 9:59 AM

One the the large oak trees down by the road has a large dead branch that overlooks Joan’s vegetable garden. Semi-regularly we see birds of prey, usually hawks sitting in this branch.

This morning, while eating breakfast, Joan noticed a hawk perched in “the branch”. I made a few exposures from the driveway before it decided to head off.

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Hawk #1
Hawk #1
Hawk #2
Hawk #2


 

20 June 2018

Hattie Brown Road

Yesterday afternoon I took a walk up Hattie Brown Road. This old (and now gated) road leads to an old homestead but is used mainly for logging access these days. On its way up to the old foundation (which is roughly a mile from Craig Road) , the road passes a beaver pond and a fairly new (i.e. still grassy, not brushy) log yard. Both are good spots for odes.

The weather was ideal; the temperature was in the low 70s F, the skies were azure blue and there was a bit of a gusty breeze blowing.

At every sunny spot on the road there were chalk-fronted corporals, often a dozen or more in one patch of sunlight. I saw literately hundreds of individuals, in total.

In addition to the corporals, I saw a half dozen Hudsonian whitefaces, mostly maturing (i.e. turning from yellow to red) males, two or three teneral frosted whitefaces (along the edge of the beaver pond), a single four-spotted skimmer (in the woods near the old foundation) and a single spreadwing (in the beaver pond).

I also saw a single darner of some sort. It perched briefly on a stem of grass along the road by the beaver pond. However, the weight of the insect, its sail-like wings and the wind conspired against me making its photo. It was swaying back and forth so vigorously that I could not keep the critter in the viewfinder, much less focus on it!

It was also a good day for seeing non-ode animals. I saw a both tiger swallowtails and pipevine swallowtails; a few of each type. I also found a small (first joint of your thumb-sized) toad at the edge of the road in the woods and a painted turtle (a female wanting to lay eggs?) in the middle of the road a few dozen yards up hill from, and pointed away from, the beaver pond.

I also saw an indigo bunting at the edge of the log yard. It hung around long enough so that I could remove the extension tube from between camera and lens. Although with only 300 mm of magnification available, the resulting photos are merely record shots.

Lastly, I observed a young deer in a small sunny patch on a skid road leading off of the main road. If was maybe fifty feet from me, but it did not hang around long enough for me to even contemplate removing the extension tube this time.

All-in-all are very good few hours of wildlife observation!

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Chalk-fronted Corporal
Chalk-fronted Corporal
Hudsoniam Whiteface (maturing male)
Hudsoniam Whiteface (maturing male)
Very worn Swallowtail
Very worn Swallowtail
Toad
Toad
Frosted Whiteface (teneral)
Frosted Whiteface (teneral)
Painted Turtle
Painted Turtle
Four-spotted Skimmer
Four-spotted Skimmer
Spreadwing
Spreadwing


 

6 October 2017

2017 Road Trip — Cranes

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — Frank @ 9:45 PM

On our way home we spent time at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin; rather than repeat what is already written, you can read about the history of the ICF by  clicking here.

In addition to their ‘signature’ whooping cranes, the ICF displays all of the fifteen species of cranes found world-wide. I did not photograph all fifteen, but did get a nice selection of photos of these captive animals without too much man-made stuff interfering.

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Whattled Crane (captive animal)
Whattled Crane   (captive animal)
Brogla (captive animal)
Brogla  (captive animal)
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dsc5068
Crane Feathers (detail)
Crane Feathers (detail)
Black-necked Crane (captive animal)
Black-necked Crane   (captive animal)
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dsc5300
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dsc5286
Black Crowned Crane #1 (captive animal)
Black Crowned Crane #1  (captive animal)
Black Crowned Crane #2 (captive animal)
Black Crowned Crane #2  (captive animal)
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dsc5071
Whooping Crane #1 (captive animal)
Whooping Crane #1 (captive animal)
Whooping Crane #2 (captive animal)
Whooping Crane #2 (captive animal)
Whooping Crane #3 (captive animal)
Whooping Crane #3 (captive animal)
Whooping Crane #4 (captive animal)
Whooping Crane #4 (captive animal)
Whooping Crane #5 (captive animal)
Whooping Crane #5 (captive animal)
Whooping Crane #6 (captive animal)
Whooping Crane #6 (captive animal)

1 October 2017

2017 Road Trip — Wildlife

Filed under: Autumn,Birds,Mammals,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 10:30 PM

On Labor Day (4 Sept) we headed out on the road. Our immediate destination was western Montana and a nephews wedding on the 9th.

After the wedding festivities were over, we began the meat of the trip. Our first destination was Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), just to the west of Yellowstone National Park, our second destination. We spent five nights in Yellowstone and then wildlife refuge hopped back east.

We visited C.M Russell NWR, Bowdoin NWR, and Medicine Lake NWR all in Montana, Lostwood NWR, Des Lacs NWR and Upper Souris NWR in North Dakota and Agassiz NWR in Minnesota. We also visited the International Crane Foundation and the Aldo Leopold Foundation in  Baraboo, Wisconsin before heading home.

We arrived home yesterday (Saturday, 30 Sept) having driven just over 7,400 miles in total.

Of course, I made one or two photographs along the way! Here is the first installment… wildlife photographs.

More to follow over the next few days.

Birds

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White-crowned Sparrow, Male (Red Rock Lakes NWR)
White-crowned Sparrow, Male (Red Rock Lakes NWR)
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White-crowned Sparrows, Pair (Red Rock Lakes NWR)
White-crowned Sparrows, Pair (Red Rock Lakes NWR)
Mountain Bluebird ((Yellowstone NP))
Mountain Bluebird ((Yellowstone NP))
Mountain Bluebird #2 (Yellowstone NP)
Mountain Bluebird #2 (Yellowstone NP)
Greater Yellow Legs (Bowdoin NWR)
Greater Yellow Legs (Bowdoin NWR)
Plover (Bowdoin NWR)
Plover (Bowdoin NWR)
Killdeer (Bowdoin NWR)
Killdeer (Bowdoin NWR)
American Avocet #1 (Bowdoin NWR)
American Avocet #1 (Bowdoin NWR)
American Avocet #2 (Bowdoin NWR)
American Avocet #2 (Bowdoin NWR)
While Pelicans
While Pelicans
Perigrine Falcon
Perigrine Falcon
White Pelican Taking Flight
White Pelican Taking Flight

Mammals

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Pronghorn Antelope (Red Rock Lake NWR)
Pronghorn Antelope (Red Rock Lake NWR)
Bison Herd (Yellowstone NP)
Bison Herd (Yellowstone NP)
Bison Rut ((Yellowstone NP))
Bison Rut ((Yellowstone NP))
Grazing Bison #1 (Yellowstone NP)
Grazing Bison #1 (Yellowstone NP)
Grazing Bison #2 (Yellowstone NP)
Grazing Bison #2 (Yellowstone NP)
Grazing Bison #3 (Yellowstone NP)
Grazing Bison #3 (Yellowstone NP)
Bison (Yellowstone NP)
Bison (Yellowstone NP)
Rutting Bison #2 (Yellowstone NP)
Rutting Bison #2 (Yellowstone NP)
Rutting Bison #3 (Yellowstone NP)
Rutting Bison #3 (Yellowstone NP)
Elk Doe (Yellowstone NP)
Elk Doe (Yellowstone NP)
Elk Doe #2(Yellowstone NP)
Elk Doe #2(Yellowstone NP)
Bugeling Elk Bull (Yellowstone NP)
Bugeling Elk Bull (Yellowstone NP)
Elk Bull (Yellowstone NP)
Elk Bull (Yellowstone NP)
Elk Bull #1 (CM Russell NWR)
Elk Bull #1 (CM Russell NWR)
Elk Bull #2 (CM Russell NWR)
Elk Bull #2 (CM Russell NWR)
Party Animal Elk (CM Russell NWR)
Party Animal Elk (CM Russell NWR)
Bugeling Elk Bull with Harem (CM Russell NWR)
Bugeling Elk Bull with Harem (CM Russell NWR)


 

15 July 2017

Juvenile Green Herons

Filed under: Birds,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 5:05 PM

I’m back!*

Yesterday afternoon, just before four, I received a call from Diane (one of my vast network** of wildlife informants). She said that there were four small herons on the mill pond behind Town Hall.

Big Bertha and I arrived as quick as we could and we spent roughly two hours making photographs of a quartet of juvenile green herons. I was unable to get all four in the frame at once; three was the best I could manage.

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Juvenile Green Heron #1
Juvenile Green Heron #1
Juvenile Green Herons #1
Juvenile Green Herons #1
Juvenile Green Heron #2
Juvenile Green Heron #2
Juvenile Green Herons #2
Juvenile Green Herons #2
Juvenile Green Heron #3
Juvenile Green Heron #3
Juvenile Green Herons #3
Juvenile Green Herons #3

* After an unplanned, health-related hiatus.

** OK, so there are only two: Joan and Diane!


 

14 May 2017

Star Island – May 2017

Filed under: Birds,Landscapes,Spring,Wildlife — Tags: , , — Frank @ 11:30 PM

I spent this past Friday and Saturday on Star Island, one of the Isles of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine. The trip (which is organized by Eric Masterson) was timed to coincide with the spring migration of birds.

Joan and I went on this trip back in 2014 (see this post for birds and this one for landscapes); this year I went by myself as Joan was occupied with editing the June issue of the Antrim Limrik.

The birding was not as spectacular this year as it was in 2014 but I had a good time anyway. One can always find something to photograph if you spend time looking carefully.

Birds

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Grackle in the Grass
Grackle in the Grass
Herring Gull
Herring Gull
Swainson's Thrush
Swainson's Thrush
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Northern Parula #1
Northern Parula #1
Northern Parula #2
Northern Parula #2
American Robin
American Robin
Mallard
Mallard
Song Sparrow #1
Song Sparrow #1
Authorized Personnel? (Tree Swallows)
Authorized Personnel? (Tree Swallows)
Gulls Standing Gaurd
Gulls Standing Gaurd
Chickadee
Chickadee
Song Sparrow #2
Song Sparrow #2
Song Sparrow #3
Song Sparrow #3
Tree Swallow #1
Tree Swallow #1
Catbird
Catbird
Red-breasted Nuthatch #1
Red-breasted Nuthatch #1
Red-breasted Nuthatch #2
Red-breasted Nuthatch #2
Black and White Warbler
Black and White Warbler
Tree Swallow #2
Tree Swallow #2

Other Work – Color

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Surf
Surf
Sunrise, Smuttynose Island
Sunrise, Smuttynose Island
Gulls Mob Lobstermen
Gulls Mob Lobstermen
Caswell Cemetery
Caswell Cemetery
Sunset, Star Island
Sunset, Star Island
Sunrise, Star Island
Sunrise, Star Island
Sunrise Shadow
Sunrise Shadow
Star Island, Early Morning
Star Island, Early Morning
Untitled
Untitled
Authorized Personnel, No Respect
Authorized Personnel, No Respect

Other Work – Black and White

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White Island Light
White Island Light
Untitled #1
Untitled #1
Reflection
Reflection
Song Sparrow Silhouette
Song Sparrow Silhouette
Grackle Silhouette
Grackle Silhouette
Gosport Chapel #1
Gosport Chapel #1
Gosport Chapel #2
Gosport Chapel #2
Art Barn Reflection #1
Art Barn Reflection #1
Art Barn Reflection #2
Art Barn Reflection #2
Untitled #2
Untitled #2

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.


 

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