Photographs by Frank

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)

15 June 2019

Flowers (in the Studio)

Filed under: Garden Flowers,wildflowers — Frank @ 7:14 PM

This afternoon Joan brought me a lady slipper that she had knocked off its stem while rummaging around behind the took shed. Of course, I headed to my basement studio to make a photograph.

While I was at it, I also snipped one of the irises in the garden that I had noticed earlier and made a photograph of it too.

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Lady Slipper in the Studio
Lady Slipper in the Studio
Iris from Joan's Garden
Iris from Joan's Garden

22 August 2018

A Jaunt in the “Neighborhood”

This afternoon, I headed out on a walk down Hattie Brown Road, just to see what was up. I had not been out that way in probably almost a month. Weather-wise there were broken clouds and the temperature in the mid-70’s. There was also a nice breeze blowing… nice because it kept the mosquitoes down.

As I left the house, I noticed a small (a couple of dozen individuals) feeding swarm of darners over the yard. Feeding swarms are large congregations (dozens to hundreds of individuals) of big dragonflies (usually a mix of darner species) that gather over open spaces to feed on small flying insects. Feeding swarms form most often in late summer and in the late afternoon. I paused only briefly to watch the swarm before driving down to the bridge.

As I walked out Hattie Brown Road, the sun kept peaking out of the clouds and I saw both female autumn meadowhawks and spreadwings in some of the patches of sunlight along the road. I also saw an occasional darner cruising the road well above head height.

When I reached the beaver pond, the birds took noticed. A crow perched high in a nearby tree, being a social bird, began to call loudly announcing my presence to its compatriots. A great blue heron, being a solitary sort, silently took flight from its fishing spot near the road and headed to the other side of the pond.

As I arrived at the pond, I noticed a large dark cloud come over the ridge to the west and within a minute or two it began to rain lightly. Unsurprisingly, there were no odes to be seen.  Since there was only gray sky to the west and the patches of blue to the east were rapidly receding.  I decided to head back towards the truck without dallying. It rained lightly the entire walk back.

Of course, just as I arrived back at the truck the sun began to reappear and after a short interval the rain stopped.

Since the weather was looking better, I stopped at the road into the Harris Center property along Brimstone Corner Road rather than heading directly home. Parking near the gate, I walked down this road as far as the beaver dam and observed small numbers of the same odes as I saw on Hattie Brown Road. There were a couple of darners patrolling the road, a few spreadwings in sunny spots along the road and a couple of female meadowhawks at the log landing. I saw no odes out over the beaver pond itself.

Eventually, I lost the nice light as the sun disappeared over the ridge to the west. Thus, I headed back up the hill to the truck and arrived back home at 6:30, a bit more than two hours after I departed. The feeding swarm in the yard was gone.

As you might expect, I took a few photos while I was out!

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Spreadwing #1
Spreadwing #1
Wildflower
Wildflower
Autumn Meadowhawk (female)
Autumn Meadowhawk (female)
Grass Seedhead
Grass Seedhead
Toadstool
Toadstool
Spreadwing #2
Spreadwing #2


 

8 July 2018

(Mostly) Wildflowers at Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center

Filed under: Other Insects,wildflowers — Tags: , — Frank @ 9:49 PM

In preparation for my workshop titled “Photography of Dragonflies and Damselflies“, I have (twice in the past couple of weeks) spent some time at the Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center (in West Brattleboro, VT). Alas, the odes have been sparse both visits, but there are numerous wildflowers (IDs by Joan) in their meadows. They also have numerous day lilies blooming around their buildings at the moment.

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Cinquefoil
Cinquefoil
Comfrey
Comfrey
Queen Anne's Lace #1
Queen Anne's Lace #1
Queen Anne's Lace #2
Queen Anne's Lace #2
Milkweed
Milkweed
Fleabane
Fleabane
Tiger Swallowtail
Tiger Swallowtail
Mallow
Mallow
Daylily
Daylily


 

22 June 2018

Slow Day at Loverens Mill

Yesterday I headed to the Nature Conservancy’s Loverens Mill preserve. Joan had been there earlier in the week and said that she had seen ebony jewelwings and “green-eyed dragonflies” (emeralds, perhaps?) there. The temperature was in the mid-70’s F, it was partly cloudy and essentially calm.

It was a slow ode day. I saw exactly four damselflies (and no dragonflies) in the first couple of hours I was there: two ebony jewelwings and two drab brown teneral damsels (probably bluets of some sort). The drab brown individuals were the only odes I saw during my three trips along the boardwalk in the swamp proper.

Things picked up a little bit when I walked the road. There were a few more brown damsels and, about three hours after I left the truck, I saw a single dragonfly, an immature male slaty skimmer.

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Damselfly #1
Damselfly #1
Atlantic White Cedar Bark (detail)
Atlantic White Cedar Bark (detail)
Wildflower (Indian Cucumber Root)
Wildflower (Indian Cucumber Root)
Slaty Skimmer (immature male)
Slaty Skimmer (immature male)
Ebony Jewelwing (female)
Ebony Jewelwing (female)
Damselfly #2
Damselfly #2


 

15 June 2018

Yesterday’s Photos

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,wildflowers — Tags: , — Frank @ 11:00 AM

Yesterday morning I headed out to run some errands — I needed a birthday present for the boss — of course, I took my camera.

On my way home I stopped to look for odes at the boat launch on the Contoocook in Greenfield. The weather was cool and blustery and the odes were few. I did make an interesting photo of a small moth trying to stay out of the wind.

I also took a walk up the rail bed from Elmwood Junction to the bridge across Powdermill Pond. Here there were small numbers of odes about, mainly chalk-fronted corporals. The find of the day was a teneral female black-shouldered spinylegs drying out on a fern about five or six feet from the water.

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Chevy Truck
Chevy Truck
Truck Detail #1
Truck Detail #1
Truck Detail #2
Truck Detail #2
Moth
Moth
Wildflower
Wildflower
Aurora Damsel (male)
Aurora Damsel (male)
Black-shouldered Spinylegs (female)
Black-shouldered Spinylegs (female)
The Nose Knows?!
The Nose Knows?!
Rosebud
Rosebud


 

12 June 2018

Lady Slippers

Filed under: Audubon Sanctuaries,Monadnock Region,Spring,wildflowers — Tags: — Frank @ 12:00 PM

Mid-June is peak season for lady slippers here in the Monadnock region.  These showy flowers are fairly rare and, at most sites where they grow, the number of individual plants is, in my experience, small. However, along the Mill Pond trail at New Hampshire Audubon’s Willard Pond Sanctuary there is a “grove” consisting of dozens of these plants in a relatively small area. Yesterday afternoon, I payed a visit to this wonderful spot to make a few photographs.

These flowers are growing under a relatively heavy canopy which creates dappled sunlight. I spent some time crawling around on my hands an knees looking for the right combination of light on a flower and relatively dark background. (All of these photos are in natural light.)

At one point during my crawl, I noticed how many of the leaves around are coated in pine pollen; as is my truck. (Mid-June is flowering time for our pine trees as well.) I took a short break from the flowers at one point when I noticed “nice light” on a pollen covered basswood leaf.

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Lady Slipper #1
Lady Slipper #1
Lady Slipper #2
Lady Slipper #2
Lady Slipper #3
Lady Slipper #3
Lady Slipper #4
Lady Slipper #4
Lady Slipper #5
Lady Slipper #5
Basswood Leaf with Pine Pollen
Basswood Leaf with Pine Pollen


 

10 June 2018

Four Species in Twelve Feet

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Spring,wildflowers — Tags: , — Frank @ 7:00 PM

During my walk this morning, I stopped at a sunny spot along a forest road to see what odes were present. Sunny spots in a wooded landscape are “hot spots” that concentrate odes.

The road is roughly eight feet wide and the sunny spot was roughly twelve feet long.

I was able to photograph four species of dragonflies in the small area: hudsonian whiteface, chalk-fronted corporal, racket-tailed emerald and one that I have not identified yet*. There were small numbers (3-6) individuals of the first two species and single individuals of the last two species in this small patch of sunlight.

As it was yesterday, chalk-fronted corporals were abundant along the road with small numbers of hudsonian whitefaces also present.

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Hudsonian Whiteface
Hudsonian Whiteface
Racket-tailed Emerald
Racket-tailed Emerald
Hudsomian Whiteface (maturing male)
Hudsomian Whiteface (maturing male)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male) #1
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male) #1
Immature Male Frosted Whiteface #1
Immature Male Frosted Whiteface #1
Immature Male Frosted Whiteface #2
Immature Male Frosted Whiteface #2
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male) #2
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male) #2
Clover
Clover

* An immature male frosted whiteface. Thanks to Nick et al. from the NEOdes mailing list for the ID.


 

8 June 2018

Small Critters

This morning, after an absence of almost two weeks*, I took a walk up the unmaintained section of Brimstone Corner Road just to see what was around.

Ode-wise, the most common species were still the “early birds”… Hudsonian whitefaces (yellow individuals only) and chalk-fronted corporals (of both sexes). The numbers were small about six whitefaces and a dozen corporals in the three miles I walked.

I also observed a single brown-grey damselfly (probably a female bluet of some sort) and a female racket-tailed emerald.

There were a number of other small critters about. That is, besides the black flies and the mosquitoes (although neither of these were present in numbers large enough to be bothersome). I saw two red efts and a small (about the length of the first joint of my thumb) wood frog. Small numbers of at least three species of butterflies and one moth were also out and about.

Plant-wise, the spring ephemerals (trillium, etc.) are gone but a number of small summer flowers are in bloom or just about to open up.

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Hudsonian Whiteface
Hudsonian Whiteface
Red Eft
Red Eft
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male)
Wood Frog
Wood Frog
Chalk-fronted Corporal #2
Chalk-fronted Corporal #2
Chalk-fronted Corporal #3
Chalk-fronted Corporal #3
Butterfly #1
Butterfly #1
Wildflower
Wildflower
Moth
Moth
Butterfly #2
Butterfly #2
Racket-tailed Emerald
Racket-tailed Emerald

* I spent ten days in Maryland visiting my mother who is in a rehab facility after breaking both a wrist and a hip.


 

19 May 2018

Ode Season Progression

The ode season progresses.

The hudsonian whitefaces are maturing. Both males and females emerge with yellow and black markings. As the males mature the yellow spots turn red. Yesterday, about one in ten of the hudsonian whitefaces I saw were red or reddish.

Hudsonian whitefaces were still, by far, the most common ode around. However, small numbers of chalk-fronted corporals and brownish-grey damselflies (most probably a bluet of some sort) have appeared in the past few days.

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Hudsonian Whiteface (male)
Hudsonian Whiteface (male)
Bluet (female)
Bluet (female)
Female Bluet with Prey
Female Bluet with Prey
Chalk-fronted Corporal
Chalk-fronted Corporal

While prowling the “neighborhood” with a camera set up to make close up photos of smallish insects, I often find other things to point my lens at… other insects (especially butterflies) and flowers (of both wild and garden ilk) are most common.

Yesterday, while I was kneeling near a stone wall stalking a chalk-fronted corporal, a chipmunk poked its head out from between two stones. He was a very curious “fellow”*. Every time I moved he would duck back into the crevice, but after a few seconds he would reappear. I was close enough to photograph him without taking the extension tube from between my camera and lens.

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Wild Strawberry Flowers
Wild Strawberry Flowers
Butterfly
Butterfly
Tulip with Visitor
Tulip with Visitor
Fancy Daffodils #1
Fancy Daffodils #1
Fancy Daffodils #2
Fancy Daffodils #2
Tulip
Tulip
Curious Chipmunk
Curious Chipmunk


* I say “fellow”, but I did not see enough of this individual to actually determine its sex.

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