Photographs by Frank

2 August 2020

Early Saturday Morning

Yesterday morning, one of the photo groups I belong to met (in Brattleboro) for the first time since March. We met outdoors in a park, wearing masks, etc.

I got up early and left the house before seven hoping to catch some good light and make some photographs. My first stop, as I headed west on Route 9 was “the truck”. This derelict truck sitting in a roadside field in Stoddard has been a favorite subject since it appeared a few years ago.

The light was just perfect and I spent fifteen or twenty minutes photographing “the truck” and its neighbor. I just discovered “the neighbor”, a second derelict truck maybe fifty feet from “the truck” and hidden from the road by some trees. I have no idea how long “the neighbor” has been there. I’ll be going back as the light on “the neighbor” will be best late in the day.

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The Truck
The Truck
Truck Detail #1
Truck Detail #1
Truck Detail #2
Truck Detail #2
Truck Web
Truck Web
Truck Detail #3
Truck Detail #3
Truck Detail #4
Truck Detail #4
Truck Detail #5
Truck Detail #5
Truck Detail #6
Truck Detail #6
The Neighbor
The Neighbor
Truck Detail #7
Truck Detail #7
Truck Detail #8
Truck Detail #8

After breakfast at the diner in Keene (with outdoor seating) my next stop was the Stonewall Farm in western Keene. I took a short stroll around the farm and found lots to photograph.

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Stonewall Farm -- Tractor Detail #1
Stonewall Farm -- Tractor Detail #1
Stonewall Farm -- Tractor Detail #2
Stonewall Farm -- Tractor Detail #2
Stonewall Farm -- Tractor Detail #3
Stonewall Farm -- Tractor Detail #3
Stonewall Farm -- Latch Hook
Stonewall Farm -- Latch Hook
Stonewall Farm -- Safety
Stonewall Farm -- Safety
Stonewall Farm -- Blue Metal
Stonewall Farm -- Blue Metal
Stonewall Farm -- Tools
Stonewall Farm -- Tools
Stonewall Farm -- Red Maple
Stonewall Farm -- Red Maple
Stonewall Farm -- Green Maple
Stonewall Farm -- Green Maple
Stonewall Farm -- Silo Detail #1
Stonewall Farm --  Silo Detail #1
Stonewall Farm -- Silo Detail #2
Stonewall Farm --  Silo Detail #2
Stonewall Farm -- Silo Detail #3
Stonewall Farm --  Silo Detail #3
Stonewall Farm -- Silo Detail #4
Stonewall Farm --  Silo Detail #4

My original plan was to make a third stop at the Chesterfield Gorge. However, I looked at the time and decided I did not have time. This was the correct decision as I made it Brattleboro with about twenty minutes to spare before our 10 AM get together.

1 August 2020

Contoocook River Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 6:00 PM

Late yesterday afternoon, I made the short drive to the paper mill in Bennington (NH) to look for riverine odes. It was mostly sunny and the temperature was in the low 80s. Donning my wades, I spent about seventy five minutes in the river.

Immediately below the papemill dam there is a short rocky falls and then a section of fast moving water with a generally sandy bottom; a very different habitat than the lakes, ponds and beaver-made wetlands I usually frequent. As I expected, I saw some species that I don’t often see. Stream bluets and powdered dancers are species that prefer hard bottomed, fast moving water.

As seems to be the pattern for this year, there were small numbers of odes present. I observed less than a half dozen individuals of each species I photographed, including two dragonhunters perched within a foot of each other on the same dead branch overhanging the water.

Upon returning to the truck, I ordered a pizza from Rick and Diane’s. While waiting for pizza to bake, I walked around the edge of the pond at Memorial Park. There I saw maybe a half dozen eastern forktails (mostly males, but at least one female); the last photo is from this site.

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Stream Bluet (tandem pair)
Stream Bluet (tandem pair)
Dragonhuneter (male)
Dragonhuneter (male)
Stream Bluet (male)
Stream Bluet (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Stream Bluet (male)
Stream Bluet (male)
Powdered Dancer (male)
Powdered Dancer (male)
Powdered Dancer (female)
Powdered Dancer (female)
Eastern Forktail (male)
Eastern Forktail (male)

31 July 2020

Ode and Leps

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Other Insects,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 10:00 AM

Yesterday afternoon, I headed out to photograph. It was mostly sunny and the temperature was in the low 80’s.

I stopped at two sites along Powdermill Pond… Elmwood Junction, where I walked the railbed out to the bridge across the river, and the boat launch in Greenfield, where I concentrated on the “field”. I put field in quotes because the clearing is rapidly overgrowing; it is roughly half full with shoulder height or larger trees.

As seems to be the pattern this summer, there were only small numbers of odes at both sites. For all, but the widow skimmers, I saw only the single individuals that I photographed. I saw a total of maybe half a dozen widow skimmers (of both sexes) in the field at the boat launch. I also observed (but did not photograph) a lone female slatey skimmer along the rail bed.

In addition to the odes, I was able to make nice photos of some butterflies (in the order lepidoptera, thus “leps” for short). The first three individuals were all congregated in a small area of the old rail bed, attracted by the minerals in the ground. Sorry about the lack of IDs on the leps… that is not in my skill set!

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Meadowhawk (female)
Meadowhawk (female)
Butterfly #1
Butterfly #1
Butterfly #2
Butterfly #2
Butterfly #3
Butterfly #3
Widow Skimmer (male)
Widow Skimmer (male)
Meadowhawk (male)
Meadowhawk (male)
Spangled Skimmer (male)
Spangled Skimmer (male)
Butterfly #4
Butterfly #4
Widow Skimmer (female)
Widow Skimmer (female)

24 July 2020

Cilly Family Forest Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,wildflowers,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 10:45 PM

The Cilly Family Forest is a parcel of conserved land along the Contoocook River in Greenfield. It was once part of Joan’s cousin Stevie’s farm. The parcel is mostly wooded but there is a large field abutting the river that is kept open. There are often good numbers of dragonflies in the field.

I spent about ninety minutes there later this afternoon. The temperature was in the upper 70s and it was mostly sunny. There were relatively small numbers of odes present. The most numerous were female widow skimmers; I saw roughly ten individuals. In addition to the species I was able to photograph (i.e. slaty skimmer, widow skimmer and blue dasher) I also observed a single calico pennant and one other dragonfly that I was not able to get a good enough view of to identify, but it flashed green as it sped by.

I also saw (but did not photograph) roughly half a dozen damselflies total. Additionally, there were good numbers of a small (maybe an inch and a half across) orange butterfly.

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Widow Skimmer (female) #1
Widow Skimmer (female) #1
Slatey Skimmer (male)
Slatey Skimmer (male)
Closed Gentian
Closed Gentian
Widow Skimmer (female) #2
Widow Skimmer (female) #2
Orange Butterfly
Orange Butterfly
Blue Dasher (male)
Blue Dasher (male)

20 July 2020

Weekend Odes

Filed under: "Camp",Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 4:00 PM

The past few days have been has hot and hunid as it gets in this neck of the woods. Despite the weather, I have headed out to look for odes on three occasions over the weekend.

On Saturday morning, I headed down the road on the Harris Center property near our house. I went as far as the beaver dam. The odes were few and far between, but they were there.

On Sunday morning, I walked up the unmaintained section of Brimstone Corner Road. The odes were very sparse… I saw exactly two dragonflies, both patrolling an old log yard well above head hight.

Sunday afternoon, I headed across the lake to camp and waded the shoreline. Again, the odes were sparse, but present.

The first three photos below were made on Saturday morning; the remainder on Sunday afternoon.

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Slatey Skimmer (male)
Slatey Skimmer (male)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male)
Spreadwing
Spreadwing
Lancet Clubtail
Lancet Clubtail
Eastern Forktail (female)
Eastern Forktail (female)
Eastern Forktail (male)
Eastern Forktail (male)
Dragon Hunter
Dragon Hunter
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Lancet Clubtail with Prey
Lancet Clubtail with Prey

15 July 2020

Lake Hallowell Odes and Other Wildlife

Filed under: Birds,Mammals,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 10:15 PM

Lake Hallowell is a small, man-made body of water in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC near where my mother lives. It is an island of wildlife in a sea of suburbia.

We are just back from ten days of attending to my mother while my sister was occupied with work and the wedding of her eldest son. While we were there, I spent two hot and sticky late afternoons around the edges of Lake Hallowell photographing the odes and other wildlife.

I was not alone. There was a seemingly never ending parade of walkers, joggers, anglers, etc. on the paved path that girds the pond. Over the two afternoons, I also encountered three other photographers mainly stalking the birds.

I was set up to photograph odes (with my 300 mm lens and extension tube mounted on the camera). However, twice I was tempted to (and had time to) remove the extension tube and make photos of other critters… namely a green heron and a rabbit.

There were large numbers of dragonflies and very few damselflies out and about. (I saw two damselflies in the two days.)

The most common ode was a small rusty orange dragonfly with which I am not familiar*. There were thousands of individuals in more-or-less constant movement low over the water near the shore. Infrequently one would perch for a brief interval but I was having trouble making a successful photo of this species.

However, every once in awhile lady luck smiles upon you. The only successful photo of this species I made is the last one in this set; a mating wheel, the only one I saw!

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Blue Dasher (male)
Blue Dasher (male)
Blue Dasher Obelisking
Blue Dasher Obelisking
Exuvia
Exuvia
Common Pondhawk (female)
Common Pondhawk (female)
Common Pondhawk (male)
Common Pondhawk (male)
Green Heron
Green Heron
Rabbit
Rabbit
Teneral Damselfly
Teneral Damselfly
Mating Wheel (ID Needed)
Mating Wheel (ID Needed)

* They are reminiscent of eastern amberwings, but they seem somewhat larger than the minute eastern amberwing and the wings of the female in this photo are not those of the female eastern amberwing. {UPDATE: The collective wisdom of the Northeast Odes email list says that these are, indeed, eastern amberwings.}

22 June 2020

Odes at the Lake

Filed under: "Camp",Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 1:00 PM

Trying to beat the heat yesterday afternoon, I spent a few hours at our camp on Gregg Lake.

There were a moderate number of odes present. Most common were unidentified clubtails cruising the lake and moving so fast that I could not get a good view nor a photograph. There were also a fair number of bluets in the emergent vegetation along the lake edge.

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Common Whiletail (female)
Common Whiletail (female)
Lancet Clubtail (male)
Lancet Clubtail (male)
Little Bluet (male)
Little Bluet (male)

12 June 2020

Loon Chicks Again.

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 8:00 PM

This morning, shortly after nine, Joan and I headed down to watch the loons.

When we arrived one of the adults was with the two chicks and there was no sign of the other adult. All to be expected.

After a while, the second adult appeared with a small fish , fed one of the chicks and headed off to fish some more. This process was repeated twice more while I watched.

The fourth time the second adult appeared with a fish neither chick even wanted to get down into the water off the back of the other adult. After a bit of coaxing one of the chicks dropped into the water but it showed no interest in the offering, Eventually the adult ate the fish itself. I guess that everyone was well fed!

At this point the four birds settled down for some rest with both chick on the back of the adult that they spent the morning with. The chicks did not stay still for long intervals. They would hop down into the water and wander close to the adults. Eventually they would climb up under a wing and onto the back of the same adult each time.

After three and a half hours,I headed home for lunch. (Joan had stayed for only about ninety minutes before heading home for her guitar lesson.)

I made roughly seven hundred exposures. You should be thankful that I show only six below!

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Adult Loon with Two Chicks on Back
Adult Loon with Two Chicks on Back
Adult Loon with Chick in Water
Adult Loon with Chick in Water
Adult Loon with One Chick on Back #1
Adult Loon with One Chick on Back #1
Adult Loon with One Chick on Back #2
Adult Loon with One Chick on Back #2
Sibling Rivalry
Sibling Rivalry
Adult Loon with Two Chicks
Adult Loon with Two Chicks

11 June 2020

Loon Chicks on Gregg Lake!!!

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 8:27 PM

For the first time in living memory, we have loon chicks on Gregg Lake!

After lunch today (Thursday, 11 June 2020) Joan headed down to the lake to check out what was happening with the loons. Only ten or fifteen minutes after she left, I heard sound of gravel flying as Joan roared back up the drive way. I knew immediately that something was up.

There were two fellows fishing at the bridge who told Joan that they had seen two loon chicks leave the nest at about 2 PM. We were back at the lake as quickly as we could move and I made my first photograph at 2:35 PM.

When we arrived we observed the two adult loons over near the Craig Road bridge and no chicks, Not more than a minute or two later, a chick peaked out from under the wing of one of the adults.

For the next ninety minutes we watched the family just hanging out in the area between the nest and the Craig Road bridge. The chicks kept moving from riding on the back on the adults (one chick per adult) to bobbing like corks in the water to sheltering under the wing of an adult. While the chicks were in the water they were rarely more than a couple of feet from one of the adults.

For most of the time we watched the chicks moved freely between and around the two adults, although there was never more than one chick riding on an adult at a time.

Eventually, there was a clear change in behavior. One of the adults began to distance itself from the rest of the family and seemed to actively drive the chick that approached it back towards the other adult. At this point the adult with the two chicks, one on their back and one following in the water headed back towards the nest. (The chicks were surprisingly strong swimmers.)

The other adult clearly headed off to fish. After an interval the second adult showed up at the nest and fed a small fish to one of the chicks. I’m quite sure that that was the chicks first meal. At this point the second chick hopped into the water and pretty clearing began pestering the adult for a meal. After another short interval, the non-hunting adult climbed up onto the nest with the chicks and the other adult head out presumably to look for a meal for the second chick,

It was roughly half past four at this point and we decided to head home.

I made about seven hundred exposures this afternoon. With four individual animals in the frame the best strategy is to fire away and look for the best combination of poses when you get back to the computer. Making a quick run through the photos, I tagged about sixty frames on the first pass. Going back though those sixty or so exposures, I processed the ten shown here.

The two “first meal” photos are quite severe crops and would not make good prints. I present them here because the adrenaline was flowing as I watched in the viewfinder!

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Our First Look At A Loon Chick
Our First Look At A Loon Chick
Loon Family (Two Chicks & Two Adults) $1
Loon Family (Two Chicks & Two Adults) $1
Loon Family (One Chick & Two Adults) #1
Loon Family (One Chick & Two Adults) #1
Loon Family (Two Chicks & Two Adults) $2
Loon Family (Two Chicks & Two Adults) $2
Loon Family (One Chick & Two Adults) #2
Loon Family (One Chick & Two Adults) #2
Loon Family (One Chick & Two Adults) #3
Loon Family (One Chick & Two Adults) #3
Find The Second Chick!
Find The Second Chick!
Loon Family (Two Chicks & Two Adults) $3
Loon Family (Two Chicks & Two Adults) $3
First Meal #1
First Meal #1
First Meal #2
First Meal #2

9 June 2020

Loons At The Nest

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 10:45 PM

It has been about 24 days since we first saw eggs in the loons nest on Gregg Lake. Gestation in loons is about 28 days so we are expecting (hoping) to have loon chicks over the weekend. Fingers crossed!

This afternoon, right at lunch time, Joan answered the phone and received a report that there was a loon acting strangely on the main part of the lake. We put lunch on hold, gathered up binos, spotting scope, camera, etc. and headed down to the lake.

In talking with the fellow who had seen the loon acting oddly, we decided that what he had seen was really grooming behavior and our concern abated. None-the-less, we were glad that Jeremy cared enough to make a report.

As we were chatting we got a glimpse of the loon headed in the direction of the bridge and the nest on the far side of said bridge.

We hie-tailed it over to the road where we could see the nest. Shortly after we arrived loon #2 appeared at the nest where loon #1 was sitting (The numbers are arbitrary.) The incoming loon (#1) hung around the nest for a few minutes before #2 slid into the water. #1 quickly climbed up on the nest, examined the eggs and sat down. A short while later #1 stood up, turned the eggs and resettled on the nest in the opposite direction from how it had settled the first time.

Meanwhile, #2 spent a few minutes near the nest halfheartedly tossing nest building material towards the nest. Eventually #2 motored away, dove and headed under the bridge.

As #1 settled in for the long wait, we headed home for our lunch, roughly half an hour after we arrived.

I ran some errands after lunch and arrived back at the lake about 5 PM. I spent an hour and a quarter watching the nest but there was little action, just a single loon sitting on the nest.

Every time the sun came out, the loon would open its mouth and “pant”. Birds don’t sweat. Thus to cool their bodies they evaporate water from the membranes in their mouth… More-or-less as a dog does on at hot day, but without the drool!

The first eight photos shown here are from lunchtime today; the last two from the late afternoon.

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Loon Pair at Nest #1
Loon Pair at Nest #1
"Couples" (Loons and Red-winged Blackbirds)
The Switch
The Switch
Nest Keeping
Nest Keeping
Loon Pair at Nest #2
Loon Pair at Nest #2
Turning the Eggs
Turning the Eggs
Loon Pair at Nest #3
Loon Pair at Nest #3
Heading Out
Heading Out
Loon on Nest
Loon on Nest
Loon on Nest with Red-winged Blackbird
Loon on Nest with Red-winged Blackbird
Loon on Nest Panting #1
Loon on Nest Panting #1
Loon on Nest Panting #2
Loon on Nest Panting #2
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