Photographs by Frank

6 September 2019

Late Season Odes (and Wild Flowers)

Filed under: Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 11:00 AM

Yesterday afternoon, I took a walk on the Harris Center Brimstone Corner Road property just down the road from our house. My goal was to see what odes were still out and about. I was expecting to find autumn meadowhawks and some darners.

As I expected the most common dragonfly I observed was the autumn meadowhawk. I saw more than a dozen; mostly in the old log yard. However, there were also a few, including a mating pair, by the outlet of the beaver pond. Here, I also observed a single variable dancer; the only damselfly I saw yesterday.

There were a few large darners flying out over the water of the beaver pond. However, the most common dragonfly here was the slaty skimmer. There were at least a dozen, mostly males, patrolling the edge of the pond defending territories.

In addition to the odes, my eye was attracted to all of the late season flowers.

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Autumn Meadowhawk (female)
Autumn Meadowhawk (female)
Autumn Meadowhawk Mating Wheel
Autumn Meadowhawk Mating Wheel
Slaty Skimmer
Slaty Skimmer
Autumn Meadowhawk (male)
Autumn Meadowhawk (male)
Seed Head
Seed Head
Wild Flower #1
Wild Flower #1
Wild Flower #2
Wild Flower #2
Wild Flower #3
Wild Flower #3
Wild Flower #4
Wild Flower #4

7 August 2019

Hattie Brown Road Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 9:33 PM

On Monday afternoon (from about 2 – 4) I took a walk up Hattie Brown Road to see what was up “ode-wise”. The temperature was in the high 70s F, the skies were mostly clear and there was a bit of breeze intermittently.

The walk along most of the road is heavily shaded and I did not expect to see many/any odes until I approached the beaver swamp. My expectations were met and I saw my first ode, a bright red male meadowhawk, just as I got to the swamp.

The swamp itself is amazingly dry, even for this time of year. The outlet stream is still flowing, but much of the swamp proper consists of large dry or drying patches separating discontinuous patches of surface water. (I imagine that there is still significant subsurface water.)

Usually, there would be good numbers of darners cruising out over the swamp, but not this trip. There were a few (two?) male meadowhawks along the road and a single female damselfly (most probably a variable dancer).

I continued along the road past the swamp and was rewarded with more numerous insects in the clearing just where the road turns up the hill.

Present in this clearing were small numbers (less than six) of both male and female common white-tails. The most common ode present were female spangled skimmers, roughly a dozen; I saw no males.

Individuals of both of these species seemed to be attacking me as they flew directly at my head numerous times, often close enough that I could hear there wings beating. A male common white-tail even briefly perched on the front of my thigh. Of course, what these insects were really doing was picking off prey from the cloud of small flying insects that I had attracted!

I also observed a single male twelve-spotted skimmer who was a very obliging model. During the course of the ten or fifteen minutes I watched him, he made repeated hunting forays and always returned to the same perch. In contrast to the other species, he ignored me and the cloud I attracted, as he flew off in seeming random directions each time.

One the way back to the truck, I passed a single meadowhawk along the road by the swamp and a single spreadwing along the road almost at its junction with Craig Road. I watched the spreadwing for a few minutes always staying low to the ground and in the shade. Just as I despaired of making its photo, it flew to a chest-high perch in a patch of sun. Even the background (the dark shaded woods at some distance away) was perfect. I made two exposures before it flew away!

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Meadowhawk (male) #1
Meadowhawk (male) #1
Dragonfly (ID needed)
Dragonfly (ID needed)
Common White-tail (female)
Common White-tail (female)
Common White-tail (female) with Prey
Common White-tail (female) with Prey
Spangled Skimmer (female) #1
Spangled Skimmer (female) #1
Spangled Skimmer (female) #2
Spangled Skimmer (female) #2
Twelve Spotted Skimmer with Prey
Twelve Spotted Skimmer with Prey
Twelve Spotted Skimmer #1
Twelve Spotted Skimmer #1
Twelve Spotted Skimmer #2
Twelve Spotted Skimmer #2
Twelve Spotted Skimmer #3
Twelve Spotted Skimmer #3
Meadowhawk (male) #2
Meadowhawk (male) #2
Spreadwing
Spreadwing

27 July 2019

Another Short Walk

This afternoon (about three) I took a walk up the unmaintained portion of Brimstone Corner Road. I wanted to see what was up with the logging operation that has been going on for the last several weeks. The good news is it looks like the loggers are essentially finished. Therefore, shortly, serenity will again reign in the neighborhood.

It was a perfect mid-summer day. It was sunny and the temperature was right around 80 degrees F.

Most of the road is well shaded but I did find some dragonflies in the sunny patches and in clearings near the road.. I did not see any damselflies.

The most common ode were male calico pennants; I saw three individuals, all immature males) in one clearing. In addition, I saw single specimens of the following species: a female meadowhawk (exact species not know), a female Halloween pennant, a female blue dasher, a male common whitetail and a male spangled skimmer. I was unable to make photos of the last two of these.

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Meadowhawk (female)
Meadowhawk (female)
Halloween Pennant (female)
Halloween Pennant (female)
Calico Pennant (imm. male)
Calico Pennant (imm. male)
Calico Pennant (imm. male)
Calico Pennant (imm. male)
Calico Pennant (imm. male)
Calico Pennant (imm. male)
Blue Dasher (female)
Blue Dasher (female)

26 July 2019

A Slow Day “Down Back”

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,The "New" Yard & Environs,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 10:30 PM

This afternoon (at about four) I donned my waders and headed “down back”. It is a short (maybe a quarter of a mile) walk to the beaver made wetland complex at the back of our property.

The weather was mostly sunny and the temperature was right around 80 degrees. I spent about seventy five minutes watching the wildlife.

The beavers have been busy as the water level in the wet meadow is as high as I have ever seen it. Many of my usual spots: for hunkering down along the pond are now part of the pond!

As seems to be the case all over this season, the number of odes were small. There were darners flying over the vegetation in the wet meadow. They are impossible to enumerate, identify or photograph as they are in constant motion. I also observed a single male meadow hawk at the woodland/wetland interface. It did not stick around long enough for a photo.

The most common odes present were the sprites. I probably saw at least a couple of dozen. Both sedge sprites and sphagnum sprites were present. The latter were more common. Most of the individuals I saw were male but females were present. I saw (but did not photograph) a single pair of sprites flying in tandem. I did not see any damselflies other than sprites,

Sprites are very difficult to photograph. They are the smallest ode we have in the area; about one inch long and very slight of build. They also prefer to stay low in the emergent vegetation. I rarely see a sprite more than six inches off the water.

However, if one stakes out a small open spot and applies some patience a sprite or two are likely to show up. With a little luck you can then find a window in the grasses with a clear view and make a photograph before the critter moves on. The challenge is all part of the fun!

Lastly, as one would expect for the end of July the blue flag irises are done for the year. I did, however, see a number of their fruits (seed pods?). The equally showy but much smaller (the flowers are only about an inch long and their stalks rarely rise higher than six inches) rose pagonias were in full bloom. I saw five or six patches containing from a single flower to more than a dozen.

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Sphagnum Sprite (male)
Sphagnum Sprite (male)
Sedge Sprite (male)
Sedge Sprite (male)
Sprite
Sprite
Sphagnum Sprite (male)
Sphagnum Sprite (male)
Sphagnum Sprite (male)
Sphagnum Sprite (male)
Rose Pagonia
Rose Pagonia

24 July 2019

Odes on a Short Walk

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 11:33 PM

This afternoon, about two o’clock, I headed out for a short walk. My destination was the outlet of “our” wetland. This brook crosses the road across the Harris Center property on Brimstone Corner Rd (in Antrim) roughly a couple of dozen feet below the beaver dam. I spent about two hours total in the field.

The weather was mostly sunny and the temperature was in the upper seventies. A perfect summer afternoon in New Hampshire.

As I hoped there were odes in the sunny patches along the road, in the old log yard and around the brook. The numbers of individuals were small; only three or four individuals maximum of each species were observed This seems to be the rule this summer… small numbers of individuals but a good variety of species.

I observed the following species of dragonflies: blue dashers (both male and female), calico pennants (both male and female), a female meadowhawk and a few male frosted whitefaces. I also saw a few damselflies: a single spreadwing, and few bluets and a lone ebony jewelwing.

I made photographs of all of these species except for the jewelwing.

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Blue Dasher (female)
Blue Dasher (female)
Calico Pennant (male)
Calico Pennant (male)
Spreadwing
Spreadwing
Bluet
Bluet
Calico Pennant (female)
Calico Pennant (female)
Meadowhawk (female)
Meadowhawk (female)
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Damselfly
Damselfly
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Blue Dasher (male)
Blue Dasher (male)

16 July 2019

Spangled Skimmers

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 7:00 PM

This coming Saturday (20 July 2019), I am co-teaching a workshop on wildlife photography at the Harris Center in Hancock. This afternoon I headed over there to place some perches near the bird feeders and to scout out the odes.

The weather was warm (about 80), muggy and it was overcast. It was not great weather for odes to be out and about. I was disappointed, but not surprised, that I saw not a single ode in a quick trip around the Harris Center field. The weather for Saturday is predicted to be hot (mid-90s’ hopefully not too hot for either workshop participants or odes) and sunny. The fears of every workshop leader… a large crowd of participants shows up but there is no wildlife to be found, or vice versa!

Ever the optimist, I headed to the boat launch on the Contoocook in Greenfield to see what might be flying in the field. There were many deer flies and mosquitoes around but only a few odes… maybe a half dozen female spangled skimmers.

The trip was worth it, I was able to make a photograph of two perched dragonflies in the same frame. Although closely perched damselflies are quite common, this is a very rare event with dragonflies.

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Spangled Skimmer (female)
Spangled Skimmer (female)
Spangled Skimmers (female)
Spangled Skimmers (female)
Spangled Skimmer (female)
Spangled Skimmer (female)

Powdermill Pond Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 5:30 PM

Yesterday afternoon (from roughly 4 to 6:30), with the weather mostly sunny and the temperature in the low 80s, I headed to Powermill Pond for some odeing.

I parked the truck at Elmwood Junction and after a quick look around the waters edge and the road there, I headed down the trail (old rail bed) towards the bridge across the river. My ultimate goal was the field at the Cilley Family Forest (formerly the Robertson farmstead) in Greenfield. Google maps indicates the walk is about nine tenths of a mile one way.

I found a single female whiteface near the water where I parked and nothing along the road (which is usually a good spot for odes). On the way out, odes were sparse along the rail bed until I got to the bridge. Here I observed a half dozen or so male common pondhawks and a similar number of slaty skimmers.

At the field , the most common odes were Halloween pennants; I saw somewhere between six and twelve individuals. All of those I got close enough to see well were yellow (i.e. either immature males or females). There, I also observed a single male calico pennant and two stream cruisers (the one I photographed was male).

On the way back to the truck, the odes were a bit more numerous along the rail bed. In addition to the common pondhawks by the bridge, I found a single clubtail, a male chalk-fronted corporal and a male blue dasher.

Nine species of dragonflies on a two mile walk… not bad. Interestingly, I saw no damselflies. However, I did photograph a butterfly!

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Whiteface (female)
Whiteface (female)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Butterfly
Butterfly
Halloween Pennant (immature male)
Halloween Pennant (immature male)
Calico Pennant (male)
Calico Pennant (male)
Stream Cruiser (male)
Stream Cruiser (male)
Clubtail
Clubtail
Common Pondhawk (male) with Prey
Common Pondhawk (male) with Prey
Blue Dasher (male)
Blue Dasher (male)

10 July 2019

Contoocook River Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 9:36 PM

Well, the winter’s firewood is finally stacked… all 10 plus cords. Now I have some time and energy to get out and photograph the odes.

This afternoon, I had lunch with my friend Victor at the Common Place in Bennington (NH). After we parted ways, I stopped at the canoe/kayak launch on the Contoocook River by the papermill.

I have never looked for odes here before but I will be stopping there more often going forward.

This site is just downstream from the papermill’s last dam. Just below the dam there is a small falls/rapids and then, after the drop, there is a stretch of fast moving, rocky bottomed river. There are also a number of backwaters with essentially still water and muddy bottoms. A very different habitat than I usually visit.

The weather was mostly sunny and the temperature was in the mid-80s.

I spent about an hour, covered no more than 200 feet of river and observed eight different species of odes.

The damselflies I saw were: powdered dancers (one of each sex, I think; this is a new species for me), a couple of male ebony jewelwings and a single male stream bluet.

As for the dragonflies, the most abundant were male common whitetails; there were many dozens of them, but no females. Next most abundant were spangled skimmers, I saw roughly a dozen of them; all males again.

I also observed single individuals of the following species: dragonhunter, twelve-spotted skimmer and slaty skimmer. Again, these were all males.

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Powdered Dancer (male) ?
Powdered Dancer (male) ?
Powdered Dancer (female) ???
Powdered Dancer (female) ???
Dragonhunter (male)
Dragonhunter (male)
Ebony Jewelwing (male)
Ebony Jewelwing (male)
Stream Bluet (male)
Stream Bluet (male)
Spangled Skimmer (male)
Spangled Skimmer (male)
Common Whitetail (male)
Common Whitetail (male)
Spangled Skimmer (male)
Spangled Skimmer (male)
Twelve-spotted Skimmer (male)
Twelve-spotted Skimmer (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)

20 June 2019

A Walk and Backyard Birds

Can you tell it is a rainy day here in Antrim? Must be, it is a three blog post day!

Yesterday was a hot (for NH) and sticky day. The temperature was in the upper seventies and it was mostly cloudy. The rain held off until early evening.

I took a walk up Brimstone Corner Road with the camera rigged for odes. There was not much activity and the only species I saw were chalk-fronted corporals. I saw roughly two dozen individuals in the roughly three miles I walked.

In one old log yard, I found three different wildflowers all within about a six foot radius. I barely had to move between photographs!

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Chalk-fronted Corporal (male)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (female)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (female)
Wildflower #1
Wildflower #1
Wildflower #2
Wildflower #2
Wildflower #3
Wildflower #3

When I got home from the walk, I decided to set up the camera rigged for birds on the deck. It was pointed towards the feeders. All the usual suspects were present. Finches both gold and purple as well as downy woodpeckers have been most abundant recently.

Rose-breasted grosbeaks are also common. On other days I have seen as many as three individuals on the feeders simultaneously. They were present yesterday, but I did not get any photos as they have the annoying habit of flying directly to the feeders with out stopping at one of the abundant perches available. And, as I am wont to say one should not make photos of birds on bird feeders unless one is trying to sell bird feeders!

Every once in a while, a we get other woodpeckers. Hairy woodpeckers being next most common and very occasionally a red-bellied. We hear pileated woodpeckers in the woods regularly but have never seen one on or even near the feeders.

Red-winged blackbirds are also infrequent visitors to our feeders. They are common in the wetland “down back” (about a quarter mile away) but are rare in our yard tucked away in the woods.

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Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Red-winged Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird
Purple Finch #1
Purple Finch #1
Purple Finch #2
Purple Finch #2
Goldfinch (male)
Goldfinch (male)
Downy Woodpecker (female)
Downy Woodpecker (female)
Downy Woodpecker (male)
Downy Woodpecker (male)

One Hour, Two Hundred Feet — Five Species

Monday (17 May) afternoon, I spent about an hour roaming the neighborhood with the camera rigged for odes (300 mm lens and an extension tube). I never went farther than about 200 feet from the house.

Odes were abundant on this warm sunny afternoon. I found five species… four dragonflies and a single damselfly.

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Hudsonian Whiteface (male)
Hudsonian Whiteface (male)
Clubtail
Clubtail
ID Needed
ID Needed
Chalk-fronted Corporal (maturing male)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (maturing male)
ID Needed
ID Needed
ID Needed
ID Needed
Hudsonian Whiteface (male)
Hudsonian Whiteface (male)
Damselfly
Damselfly
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