Photographs by Frank

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 June 2019

More Experiments

Filed under: Garden Flowers,Summer,The "New" Yard & Environs — Tags: — Frank @ 11:00 PM

I have a shoe box full of random lenses mostly salvaged from various devices over the years. This afternoon, I took the usual lens out of the camera obscura and tested each lens from my box by holding it up to the opening in the box. Most of the lenses resulted in horribly out of focus images and will require more work — making lens tubes to fit them, etc. — to see if they can be focused on the ground glass.

However one lens, a single convex lens (flat on one side and convex on the other), in a convenient aluminum frame threw a decent image when held against the opening. I taped this lens in place and headed out to the yard to experiment. I did not stay out too long as the mosquitoes were fierce.

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Poppies
Poppies
Peonies #1
Peonies #1
Peonies #2
Peonies #2
Flocked
Flocked
Untitled
Untitled
Our House
Our House
The Front Door
The Front Door

23 June 2019

Experiments with Slits

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Summer,The "New" Yard & Environs — Tags: — Frank @ 7:30 PM

We had nine cords of wood delivered on Thursday. Thus, these days, I spend my mornings stacking firewood. I am trying to do about a cord each day.

Afternoons, however, are for experiments.

These photos were made by replacing the lens in my camera obscura with a slit made by placing two razor blades very close together. The slit acts similarly to a pinhole in forming an image, except that the image is stretched out along the length of the slit. I have placed the slit on the camera (with tape, nothing fancy!) at a roughly forty-five degree angle.

I took my experiment for a walk around the yard just to “get a feel” of what it might do,

The viewfinder of the digital camera is very dim; I can often see only a couple of the brightest spots in the scene. Thus framing is imprecise.

By cranking up the ISO as high as it goes (3200 on my little Nikon 1 V1), I can get a reasonable shutter speed; 1/4th to 1/20 of a second. I deal with the horrible noise this causes in the computer, but since nothing is really sharp to begin with heavy noise reduction seems to work fine.

I will be as interested as anyone else to see where this experiment leads!

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Flocked
Flocked
Peonies #1
Peonies #1
Peonies #2
Peonies #2
On the Road
On the Road
Our House
Our House
Garden Flowers
Garden Flowers

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

18 June 2018

First Time “Down Back” This Season

Sunday afternoon I donned my waders and headed down to the beaver-made pond and wet meadow at the back of our property. I spent three hours (from about 3 PM to 6 PM) there photographing odes. The temperature was in the mid 80’s F, it was mostly sunny and calm.

The most abundant odes, by far, were frosted whitefaces of both sexes; there were dozens of individuals present. They were flying over both the open water of the pond and over the meadow, I also observed two mating wheels of this species.

There were also small numbers of hudsonian whitefaces (males only) and four-spotted skimmers. I watched (and photographed) a skimmer make a dozen or more hunting forays over about 10 minutes. It always returned to the same perch between flights and it was quite successful, catching prey about two-thirds of the time.

The most abundant damselfly was the sedge sprite (mostly males). I observed roughly a dozen individuals, a few down low in the wet meadow, but most in the tall grass where the meadow meets the woods. I also saw a couple of bluets (at different times and locations); one male and one female.

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Frosted Whiteface Entangled in Spider Web
Frosted Whiteface Entangled in Spider Web
Frosted Whiteface
Frosted Whiteface
Four-spotted Skimmer with Prey
Four-spotted Skimmer with Prey
Frosted Whiteface Mating Wheel
Frosted Whiteface Mating Wheel
Sedge Sprite (male)
Sedge Sprite (male)
Hudsonian Whileface (male)
Hudsonian Whileface (male)


 

11 March 2017

A Short Walk

Filed under: Landscapes,Monadnock Region,The "New" Yard & Environs — Tags: , — Frank @ 2:03 PM

Woke up this morning to 4 deg. F and a stiff wind blowing. The temperature finally made it to double digest by noon.

I’ll have to head outside eventually… we need a resupply of wood

Yesterday was not so extreme weather wise. We had flurries most of the day but it was in the high 20s F.

By mid afternoon cabin fever kicked in and the dusting of new snow looked tempting.

I headed out, camera in hand, for a short walk around the neighborhood.

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New Snow #1
New Snow #1
New Snow #2
New Snow #2
New Snow #3
New Snow #3
New Snow #4
New Snow #4
New Snow #5
New Snow #5
Pine and Snow
Pine and Snow


 

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


 

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