Photographs by Frank

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)

 

30 July 2017

Vandal!

Filed under: Mammals,Summer,The Yard,Wildlife — Frank @ 12:00 PM

Thursday afternoon, shortly after lunch, I was wandering by the doors that open onto our deck. As is my habit, I looked out to see what birds were present at our feeders. To my great surprise, not only were there no birds present, but there were no feeders in view!

I headed out the doors to investigate. I found empty feeders strewn about and the steel pole upon which the feeders were once mounted bent over at a right angle at ground level.

I knew at once that we had been visited by a bear… in broad daylight no less!

This conclusion was confirmed, maybe an hour later, when Joan summoned me to the deck doors. The vandal had returned! She/he was looking to see if they had missed any seeds during their first visit. I took two quick photos through the kitchen window before heading outside to chase the miscreant away.

As soon as I opened the doors to the deck the critter looked up and as I put a foot out of the door she/he headed into the woods at top speed. A good response!

Joan was sitting out on the deck later that afternoon and thought that she heard the bear in the woods, but we have seen neither hide nor hair since.

Alas, in the interests of not habituating a wild creature to humans, our bird feeding is over at least until December when the bears begin their hibernation.

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12 June 2016

A Cool and Cloudy Afternoon

Filed under: Amphibians,Birds,Mammals,Summer,The Yard,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 1:58 PM

Yesterday was cool (it never reached 60 deg. F), cloudy and damp (there were sporadic showers in the morning)… in other words the odes were not flying. Thus, I turned my attention (and lens) to birds and I staked out the feeders for a few hours in the afternoon.

The damp weather brings out the red efts and yesterday was no exception. There were half a dozen in the small patch of lawn behind the house.  As usual there were chipmunks and squirrels scavenging what they could from the bird feeders.

The usual feeder birds were present, among them were a female rose-breasted grosbeak, a male goldfinch and a number of tufted titmice. None of which presented themselves well for photography.

Also present (and photographed) were what seem to be a pair of downy woodpeckers, a hairy woodpecker, at least one male ruby-throated hummingbird and a lone turkey.

The turkey has been a regular visitor to our yard for the past few weeks. I’m no expert, but I would hazard a guess that it is either a female that did not nest or a immature male looking for a territory.

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Red Eft
Red Eft
Eastern Chipmunck
Eastern Chipmunck
Downy Woodpecker (female)
Downy Woodpecker (female)
Wild Turkey
Wild Turkey
Downy Woodpecker (male)
Downy Woodpecker (male)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (male)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (male)

 

18 June 2015

Up North

Filed under: Amphibians,Mammals,Odontates,Other Insects,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , , , , — Frank @ 5:00 PM

Monday afternoon, we strapped the kayaks to the roof of the car, hitched up the camper, and headed north. We arrived at Lake Francis State Park (in Pittsburg, NH) at supper time.

Pittsburg is as far north as you can go in New Hampshire… it is so far north that Canada lies to the west as well to the north!

On Tuesday morning we put the kayaks in the water at the East Inlet (to the Second Connecticut Lake) and paddled as far up this watershed as we could go. We were finally stopped by the willow thicket overhanging the narrow and fast moving channel.

About a noon time the predicted rain showers began. We were soaked to the skin by the time we got back to the landing and the car. We had a good time anyway!

We saw a loon as we got out of the car and a second one while we were out in the boats. There were other birds about as well, along with lots of frogs and a lone moose.

The frogs were calling from the marshy areas but hard as I tried, I could not espy a single one. I was beginning to despair every getting a photo when I finally noticed the bright yellow throat sac of one sitting just at the edge of the open water. After finding the first specimen, I began to see yellow throat sacs from the proverbial mile a way… they were, in fact, rather numerous!

As for the moose… I was peacefully and slowing paddling along when, as I rounded a bend in the shore line, I heard a great splashing sound. I am not sure if the bull moose or I was more surprised. The moose quickly made for the shore and the first photograph I made of him contained mainly his posterior as he headed up into the marsh. Once out of the water, he did turn to look at me  and I was able to make an adequate (but not spectacular) portrait.

Joan missed the entire show as she was botanizing some distance behind.

The rain was just letting up as we got back to the East Inlet boat launch… figures! We changed into dry clothes and decided to drive up to Scott Bog; another kayaking/wildlife hot spot.

Along the way we scared another smallish moose off the road.  Scott Bog will be our target next time we are in the area with our boats!

After an early dinner, we took a drive up Indian Stream Road. We turned around at the parking area for the Indian Stream Gorge trail head. We’ve put this on our “to do” list as well.

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East Inlet
East Inlet
Frog #1
Frog #1
Frog #2
Frog #2
Moose
Moose
Scott Bog
Scott Bog

Wednesday morning we were on the road south by 7:30. Joan was meeting another NEWFS PCV* in Northumberland to do a rare plant survey. While they were botanizing, I headed to the nearby Eames Wayside.

This piece of public land along the Connecticut River looked promising on the map, but I could not find much information about it. It turns out to be essentially undeveloped, there is small parking area on Route 3, but that is it. I tried to bushwhack down to the river but was turned back by the willow thickets.

As I headed back to the car somewhat dejected, I noticed a dragonfly in a sunny spot along the rail bed. Thus all was not lost!

I spent the next couple of hours photographing damselflies and other insects, along about fifty feet of rail bed near a small stream flowing under the rails in a culvert. I did not see another dragonfly the entire time I was there but the damsels were plentiful!

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Eastern Forktail (male)
Eastern Forktail (male)
Fly
Fly
Moth
Moth
Tule Bluet (male) ?
Tule Bluet (male) ?
Tule Bluet (female) ?
Tule Bluet (female) ?
Insect
Insect
Familiar Bluet (female) ?
Familiar Bluet (female) ?

*NEWFS… New England Wildflower Society; PCV… Plant Conservation Volunteer


 

16 May 2015

Seed Thieves!

Filed under: Mammals,Monadnock Region,Spring — Tags: — Frank @ 1:00 PM

We keep a few bird feeders out by the greenhouse, just off the deck in back of the house. Watching (and occasionally photographing) the birds the feeders attract is a source of great pleasure in our lives.

However, the feeders are also the cause of great consternation… the neighborhood chipmunks seed thieves have decided that the sunflower seeds in the main feeder have been put there for them.

I keep telling them that the devices are called bird feeders for a reason but they do not seem to listen at all!

The best I have been able to manage is to train the critters who live under our shed to run for their lives when I open the doors leading out to the deck.

The individuals who live in the woods (judging from the direction they run when I chase them off) are still very brave… I have to walk up to the feeder and give it a whack to get them to jump off!

The “fellow” in the photo below sat atop the big rock by the deck and vocalized for some minutes last evening. I am not sure what it was saying (my ability to communicate in chipmunk-ese  is poor; see above), but I imagine that s/he was warning all of the other chipmunks to stay away from the feeder.

Eastern Chipmunck

 

28 April 2015

Suppertime Visitor

Filed under: Early Spring,Mammals,Monadnock Region — Frank @ 11:00 AM

I arose from the dinner table last evening, took a look out the front door and noticed that we had a suppertime visitor.

This “fellow” was rooting around for supper in the leaves on the inside of the stone wall down by the road; I am unsure as to what it is eating.

Of course, I took the camera and headed out the door. Porcupines are pretty easy to photograph. Their sight is not particularly keen so if one moves slowly on can get pretty close. I stopped and set up the camera/tripod about twenty or thirty feet away.

I made eleven exposures before I was noticed. At this point the critter ambled down across the road and into the woods.

I do not believe that concept of “hurry” exists in the porcupine universe!

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Porcupine #1
Porcupine #1
Porcupine #2
Porcupine #2
Porcupine #3
Porcupine #3


15 April 2015

Searching for Spring

Filed under: Birds,Mammals,Spring,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 6:00 PM

A week ago on Tuesday, Joan and I headed south in search of Spring.

When we arrived at Assateague Island National Seashore on Wednesday the temperature was 45 degrees, the wind was blowing at about 45 mph and the sky was spitting (a combination of salt spray and intermittent rain)… not exactly the weather we were hoping for!

None-the-less, we dropped the camper off at a campsite, donned a few layers of fleece with a topping of Gore-tex and headed out in search of horses and birds. We had a wonderful time despite the weather.

On Thursday, we awoke to horses in our campsite, egrets in the marsh beside the campsite and no change in the weather. After breakfast, we headed south to the Virginia side of Assateague Island and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. We had another wonderful day.

The weather broke on Friday and we headed north and west to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. We arrived just before lunch and spent roughly six hours exploring this wonderful place.

As the light began to fade, we turned the car towards suburban Washington, DC.

Here are my photos of the horses:

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Assateague Horses #1
Assateague Horses #1
Assateague Horses #2
Assateague Horses #2
Assateague Horses #3
Assateague Horses #3
Assateague Horses #4
Assateague Horses #4
Assateague Horses #5
Assateague Horses #5
Assateague Horses #6
Assateague Horses #6
Assateague Horses #7
Assateague Horses #7

Here are the birds, the egrets are from Assateague and the remainder from Blackwater:

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Snowy Egret
Snowy Egret
Great Egret (male) #1
Great Egret (male) #1
Great Egret (male) #2
Great Egret (male) #2
Great Egret (female)
Great Egret (female)
Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle
American Coot
American Coot
Northern Shoveler (male)
Northern Shoveler (male)
Red-winged Blackbird (female)
Red-winged Blackbird (female)
Lesser Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
White Pelicans
White Pelicans

The weekend in suburban Washington, DC finally brought the lovely spring weather we had been hoping for.

We spent the weekend visiting with my parents, my sister and brother-in-law (who live nearby) and our daughter (who lives in Baltimore).

My parents live in a “soup-to-nuts” retirement “village” with lots of open space. There are many birds around and I was duly entertained on our daily walks around the grounds!

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Downy Woodpecker (male)
Downy Woodpecker (male)
Eastern Bluebird (male) #1
Eastern Bluebird (male) #1
Eastern Bluebird (male) #2
Eastern Bluebird (male) #2
Northern Flicker (male)
Northern Flicker (male)

We arrived home late Monday evening to find that spring had returned to New Hampshire in our absence. There is still ice on the lake and scattered pockets of snow in the woods, but we have great hope!


 


 

23 February 2015

Porcupine!

Filed under: "Camp",Mammals,Monadnock Region,Wildlife,Winter — Tags: — Frank @ 9:30 PM

Yesterday was the first day with above freezing temperatures since early January… the high was 33 degrees! The warm spell did not last long. It was 11 when I got up this morning and it is -1  (-15 with the wind chill) as I write this at about 8:30 PM. The low tonight will be around -10 without the wind chill.

We are down to about a cord and a third of wood… I suspect that we’ll be switching to oil in a couple of weeks!!!

Joan and I took advantage of yesterday’s warm spell by heading across the lake on snow shoes. Our main goal was to rake the three feet of accumulated snow from the roof of our camp. Eventually it will warm up and rain on the snow and that sort of weight is not kind to old structures. Thus the need for snow removal.

While I started the raking, Joan explored the various animal tracks in the snow on the lake. A coyote had walked along the shore of the cove and stopped to dig out and explore an animal carcass buried in the snow.

Another set of tracks ended at a small hemlock a few feet off the lake. Sitting about eight feet up in said tree was a porcupine doing what porcupines usually do while sitting in hemlocks… eating!

It is very common this time of year to find the snow under hemlocks littered with small bits of hemlock branches; a sure sign of a porcupine had a meal aloft. Hemlock seems to be their preferred winter food and they are messy eaters!

I was easily persuaded to exchange the roof rake for my camera and was able to move to within a dozen feet of the porcupine without any evidence of concern upon its part… it just kept on munching hemlock boughs.

Eventually, it descended the tree and headed towards me along the edge of the lake. It shuffled around for a short while and then climbed another, small hemlock a few feet from the first. It settled in to eat again about eight or ten feet off the ground. After some time it headed further up the tree and I decided that it was time to get back to the roof rake.

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Porcupine Lunchtime #1
Porcupine Lunchtime #1
Porcupine Lunchtime #2
Porcupine Lunchtime #2
Porcupine Lunchtime #3
Porcupine Lunchtime #3
Scrounging Around #1
Scrounging Around #1
Scrounging Around #2
Scrounging Around #2
Second Course
Second Course
Moving Up
Moving Up

 

20 September 2014

Early September

Filed under: Birds,Early Fall,Landscapes,Mammals,Monadnock Region — Tags: , , — Frank @ 2:00 PM

The beginning of September brings three harbingers of the autumn that is just around the corner…

The hawks and other raptors begin their migration. We, in the Monadnock region, are lucky to have a wonderful spot from which to observe this world-class spectacle. New Hampshire Audubon organizes and staff an observatory on the summit of Pack Monadnock in Miller State Park during September and October each year. Visits are always interesting; I tend to go on weekdays when it is not quite as busy.

The swamp maples begin to turn red. For some reason, the swamp maples at the north end of Gregg Lake seemed to turn especially early this year; there were signs of red in late August. Currently, these trees are about at their peak and there it little change most of the other trees.

The chipmunks become manic. Living more-or-less in the woods, with a property bounded by stone walls, we are well acquainted with chipmunks. However, in early September as the acorns start to drop, the chipmunk activity really picks up. One does not even have to go outside as their squeaking vocalizations are clearly heard when the windows are open.

Late yesterday afternoon, I noticed “nice light” on the chipmunk highway (i.e. the stone wall) down by the road. I headed down, with camera in hand, hoping to get some photos of “flying” chipmunks as they jumped from stone to stone, often with an acorn in their jaws. I failed miserably… they are just too fast for me! I did manage a couple of frames of individuals who stopped to eat along the highway!

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Hawk in Flight #1
Hawk in Flight #1
Hawk in Flight #2
Hawk in Flight #2
Swamp Maples #1
Swamp Maples #1
Swamp Maples #2
Swamp Maples #2
Chipmunk #1
Chipmunk #1
Chipmunk #2
Chipmunk #2

 

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

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