Photographs by Frank

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

22 April 2014

Spring Progress

Filed under: Birds,Early Spring,Mammals,Monadnock Region,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 11:00 PM

After getting off to a late start, spring is progressing nicely.

The last of the ice on Gregg Lake  finally disappeared over the weekend, the daytime temperatures have been in the fifties and sixties and even though it has been getting down around freezing at night we have not been lighting the stove every evening.

The chipmunks have become active over the past few days and “new” birds are appearing regularly.

I spent a couple of hours down by the lake yesterday morning watching a trio of wood ducks wend their way around the lake north of the bridge. The female spent most of her time feeding. The males spent most of their time jockeying for position and posturing.

Yesterday evening, I watched a pair of loons fishing near the public beach. They were too far away for good photos.

Lastly,  chipping sparrows and juncos have appeared in small numbers around the feeders by the house. They are mixed with all of the “year rounders”.


28 October 2012

An Afternoon Visitor

Filed under: Autumn,Mammals,The Yard,Wildlife — Frank @ 9:00 PM

This afternoon we were doing some chores around the yard when my CWS* motioned me to be quiet and pointed out towards the large oak tree in the middle of the yard. There, about three feet off the ground on the oak trunk, was a juvenile porcupine.

I backed slowly away and went for the camera.

By the time I got back the little “fellow” was on the ground rooting around in the leaves and grass (Photo #1) . He wandered around the yard allowing me to get as close as I needed… so I could fill the frame with my 300 mm lens. At one point he climbed into the bush in the middle of the yard but did not stay long (Photo #2). Eventually he climbed up the apple tree next to the garden (Photo #3) and settled in for a snack and a nap (Photo#4). Last I knew he was still there.

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An Afternoon Visitor #1
An Afternoon Visitor #2
An Afternoon Visitor #3
An Afternoon Visitor #4

 

*Chief Wildlife Spotter (a.k.a. Joan!)


22 April 2012

A Few From the Past Week

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

I haven’t had much time for making photographs in the past few weeks…I know, where are my priorities!

However, we are back to owning only one house and there is only one more week (plus a week of finals) in the semester… so things are looking good for the near future!

On Thursday afternoon, I headed out at about 5 PM to make some photographs; I had to be in Jaffrey for the Monadnock Camera Club meeting at 7 PM so I took a meandering route from Antrim to Jaffrey.  There were nice skies, good reflections on the water and I was only ten minutes late to the meeting!  Two hours… two nice photographs; a pretty successful outing if you ask me!

The photo of the squirrel is a grab shot through the glass looking out on our deck. This fellow spent some time watching us eat breakfast one morning. I guess that he was hoping for a hand out!


1 October 2011

A Stroll Up The Road

Yesterday afternoon, I took a stroll up Brimstone Corner Rd. and Knight’s Road just to see what was out. I planned to stop at some of the logged out areas since I expected to find some darners out and about taking advantage of the sunny afternoon.

The clouds began to gather shortly after I headed out and I only saw a handful of odes (a couple of darners and a couple of Autumn Meadowhawks in the first clearing I investigated; after that, nothing.

There were plenty of other things to keep me occupied… chipmunks abounded in the stone walls on both sides of the road. Turning leaves and other vegetation also made for interesting subjects as did the old skidder near the fork in Knight’s Road.

At said fork in road, I encountered a hawk of some kind. It came around the bend in the road only ten or twelve feet off the ground. When it saw me it made a very sharp turn into the woods and was gone; way too fast to get a photo. I could not decide if it was just cruising the road or if I had scared it up off the ground. A quick search of the area revealed no remnants of prey on the ground.

On the way back down Knight’s Road, I stopped to inspect the a tent platform in the woods. I sat down on the edge of the platform, laid the camera down and doffed my backpack. I had been sitting in quiet contemplation for no more than five minutes when I sensed a presence nearby.

Looking up, I saw a black bear with its front paws atop a stone wall maybe a hundred feet away. I am not sure who was more surprised! We sat looking at each other for some seconds, each of us contemplating our next move! As I reached for my camera, she/he turned around and headed off into the woods making a huffing sound as she/he went. At one point she/he turned around to see what I was doing but she/he kept going.

At this point I realized that there would be no more quiet contemplation given my level of serum adrenaline, so I packed up and headed on my way!

14 August 2011

One More Turn in the Swamp / Close Encounters of the Ursine Kind

Yesterday afternoon, I headed back down to the beaver swamp at the back of our property just to see what was around.

Meadowhawks, including one mating pair, were present but in lower numbers than previously seen. The darners were ever present patrolling their territories and there were many spreadwings (all the same species) present.

At one point, while I was stalking a spreadwing, I heard the loud flapping of  wings (the sign of a nearby darner) and was quite surprised when a female landed nearby intent on laying eggs (see the third photo). She was only present a short time (about a minute) as another darner (male maybe?) appeared and harassed the first. Much to my surprise they both fell into the water but then both we gone in a matter of a few seconds.

The male whitetail was the only one (of either sex) that I saw, twice while I had it in my viewfinder it flew off only to land on my shirt!

The highlight of the afternoon was a “writing spider” (Argiope aurantia) eating a damselfly. I did not see the initial capture of the damselfly but I did spend twenty minutes (according to the exif data) watching and photographing the meal.

On my way back up the hill to the house I heard the noise of a large animal off to my right, I stopped and turned to locate the source and was quite surprised to see a good sized (four or five feet long) black bear coming toward me less than a hundred feet away! She/he stopped maybe 75 feet away when they spotted me.

My first thought was to get the extension tube off the lens so I could get a photograph! Instead, I acted on my second thought… I headed off at an angle away from the bear and towards the house leaving the bear standing its ground.


20 April 2011

Mid-April Backyard Wildlife

Filed under: Birds,Mammals,Spring,The "New" Yard & Environs,Wildlife — Tags: , , — Frank @ 4:58 AM

Well, spring has finally really arrived in our neck of the NH woods. There is no snow left in the yard, although there are still small patches here-and-there in the woods.

On Saturday morning, I filled a bird-feeder with black sunflower seed and hung it by the deck in the back of the house just to see what we could attract. I was amazed at how quickly the “word” spread. Within a couple of hours there were chickadees and nuthatches present as well as the perennial feeder nemesis, the gray squirrel! Within a day, the juncos and sparrows had found the feeder as well as the red squirrels and the chipmunks.

I, as you might have expected, spent some quality time with the camera set up near the feeder!

Here are the resulting “keepers”:

On Sunday, we watched a female turkey amble though the yard as she picked over the remnants of last year’s acorn crop which were newly emerged from under the snow. In the afternoon on Sunday, Joan and I took a spontaneous break from the yard work  and walked down to the beaver swamp at the back of our property. Eagle-eyed Joan spotted a porcupine sitting way up in a tree right at the edge of the woods. No photos though, too high and too well hidden… maybe next time!

As I knew from the beginning, the environs of the new house were going to be great for wildlife (and photography). Our short time here has certainly proved that true and odonate season has not yet begun… although Joan did attract a few early blackflies as she worked turning over the vegetable garden on Monday!


 

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