Photographs by Frank

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

 

Loveren’s Mill in the Late Afternoon

Late last Tuesday (12 July) afternoon I headed over to the Nature Conservancy’s Loveren’s Mill preserve. This property contains a rare Atlantic White Cedar swamp and is often good for finding rare odes that prefer this habitat.

Walking along the woods road near the entrance, I spotted a number of butterflies nectaring on the abundant wildflowers. However, there was a complete lack of odes.

This dearth of odes continued as I turned on to the trail and headed to the boardwalk that heads into the swamp proper. I saw two damselflies along the boardwalk and exactly zero dragonflies during the entire time I was out.

However, I did have some fun photographing the wildflowers.

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Butterfly (id needed)
Butterfly (id needed)
Great Spangled Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
Damselfly #1 (id needed)
Damselfly #1 (id needed)
Damselfly #2 (id needed)
Damselfly #2 (id needed)
Wildflower #1
Wildflower #1
Aster
Aster
Wildflower #2
Wildflower #2
Asters
Asters
Black-eyes Susans
Black-eyes Susans

 

22 July 2015

Yard Odes and Flowers

Yesterday (Tuesday, 21 July) dawned hot and sticky and stayed that way. Despite the weather I spent some time in the late afternoon haunting the yard in search of odes. The numbers of odes were small, but there was a nice variety. The most common insect was a butterfly; the great spangled fritillary.

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Spreadwing
Spreadwing
Great Spangled Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
Frosted Whiteface (female)? #1
Frosted Whiteface (female)? #1
Frosted Whiteface (female)? #2
Frosted Whiteface (female)? #2
Frosted Whiteface (female)? #3
Frosted Whiteface (female)? #3
Calico Pennant (male) Oblisking
Calico Pennant (male) Oblisking
Calico Pennant (male)
Calico Pennant (male)

At some point during my rounds, I turned my attention from odes to the flowers Joan has growing in the many beds and containers around the yard.

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Black-eyed Susan #1
Black-eyed Susan #1
Black-eyed Susan #2
Black-eyed Susan #2
Garden Flower #1
Garden Flower #1
Poppy
Poppy
Garden Flower #2
Garden Flower #2
Purple Coneflower
Purple Coneflower
Black-eyed Susan
Black-eyed Susan
Snapdragon
Snapdragon

 

29 July 2014

Wildflowers of the North Country

Filed under: Other Insects,Summer,wildflowers — Tags: , , — Frank @ 10:00 PM

Please note: Thanks to Allan, Al and Joan for getting the plants identified. 

The New England Wildflower Society (“NEWFS”) occasionally sponsors field trips for their “PCVs” (i.e. plant conservation volunteers).  This past weekend was was the occasion of the most recent of these.

Nine folks total… staff, PCVs and two husbands gathered in Pittsburg, NH for a weekend of botanizing. I (one of the husbands, obviously?) tagged along for the adventure in general and the hope of some “interesting” odes.

The far north of NH is interesting ecologically since it represents the southern limit of the range for some species found mainly in Canada (plants and odes included) so we were all hoping to see new “stuff”.

Joan and I left the house mid-morning on Friday with camper in tow. We meandered north up the center of NH (staying west of I-93 until Franconia) studiously avoiding the highways. We passed through Kinsman Notch (the second nicest of the notches*)  in the White Mountains and arrived at the Mountain View Cabins and Campground in Pittsburg by the late afternoon.

After a home-cooked dinner with much great food, we spent the evening observing the neighborhood moths as one of the participants had set up white sheets and  lights to attract these critters. I had heard about this activity before but this was my first time experiencing it. Very interesting!

On Saturday morning, after a breakfast of homemade blueberry pancakes, we headed out to the South Bay Bog (part of the Connecticut Lakes Natural Area) and spent the day slogging through the bog in search of rare plants (especially orchids) and odes. The search for plants was a rousing success. The search for odes was less successful as the weather was not ideal (temperature in the low 70’s and cloudy).  I did observed a couple of emeralds, a few sphagnum sprites and a couple of  unidentified dragonflies but did not make any photographs of them.

Rather, I figured “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” and concentrated on photographing the vegetation.

Wild Flowers in and around South Bay Bog

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Club-spur Orchid (Platanthera clavellata)
Club-spur Orchid (Platanthera clavellata)
Little Green Sedge (Carox viridula)
Little Green Sedge (Carox viridula)
Common Wood Sorrel (Oxalis montana)
Common Wood Sorrel (Oxalis montana)
White beaksedge (Rhynchospora alba)
White beaksedge (Rhynchospora alba)
Sparse-flowered Sedge (Carex tenuiflora?)
Sparse-flowered Sedge (Carex tenuiflora?)
Horned Bladderwort (Utricularia cornuta)
Horned Bladderwort (Utricularia cornuta)
Northern White-fringed Orchid (Platanthera blephariglottis)
Northern White-fringed Orchid (Platanthera blephariglottis)
Pitcher Plant Flower
Pitcher Plant Flower
Tawny Cottonsedge (Eriophorum virginicum)
Tawny Cottonsedge (Eriophorum virginicum)
Cottonsedge sp. (Eriophorum sp) ?
Cottonsedge sp. (Eriophorum sp) ?
Fireweed (Epilobium augustifolium)
Fireweed (Epilobium augustifolium)

On the way back to the campground, we stopped at a spot where there was a large concentration of butterflies nectaring on the roadside flowers. (Also included in this set  are other “miscellaneous” photos.)

Mostly Insects

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ID Needed #19
ID Needed #19
Amanita Mushroom
Amanita Mushroom
ID Needed #20
ID Needed #20
LIchen
LIchen
Moth Nectaring on Milkweed
Moth Nectaring on Milkweed
ID Needed #22
ID Needed #22
ID Needed #23
ID Needed #23
ID Needed #24
ID Needed #24

Sunday morning we awoke to scattered rain showers, but we headed out again for a second morning of botanizing in the East Inlet area**. The group was successful in finding a number of the rare plants they were looking for. I saw a single ode (a female meadowhawk) during one of the lulls in the rain and, again, entertained myself photographing the flora.

Wild Flowers Near East Inlet

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Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea)
Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea)
Fireweed (Epilobium augustifolium)
Fireweed (Epilobium augustifolium)
Fleabane (Erigeron sp.) #1
Fleabane (Erigeron sp.) #1
Fleabane (Erigeron sp.) #2
Fleabane (Erigeron sp.) #2
Fleabane (Erigeron sp.) #3
Fleabane (Erigeron sp.) #3
Spotted Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium maculatum)
Spotted Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium maculatum)
Tall Meadow Rice (Thalidrum pubescens)
Tall Meadow Rice (Thalidrum pubescens)
Thistle
Thistle
Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)
Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)
Closed Gentian (Gentiana clausa)
Closed Gentian (Gentiana clausa)

As the weather continued to be iffy, the group broke up around lunch time. After a quick sandwich at the Lake Francis boat launch with a few of the others, Joan and I pointed the car and camper south. We took an western route home, hugging the Connecticut River as much as possible until we hit the Hanover area where we followed NH 10 (which veers east there) to NH 31. We arrived home about 7 PM.

A good time was had by all!


* The nicest notch… that would be Jefferson… the one driven by hardly anyone!

** We’ will definitely be headed back to East Inlet as it looks like spectacular canoeing/kayaking territory.

 

20 July 2014

Garden Flowers

Since there were so few odes around on Friday, I took to making photographs of the flowers that Joan has growing around the vegetable garden.

At one point, I was aggressively investigated by a female ruby-throated hummingbird.  I guess that she decided that I was not going to eat too much nectar because, after the initial close encounter, she proceeded to visit a few flowers while I fumbled to take the extension tube off my camera. I was too slow and she headed off before I could make a photo of her.

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Purple Cone Flower & Visitor
Purple Cone Flower & Visitor
Black-eyed Susan with Visiting Committee
Black-eyed Susan with Visiting Committee
Garden Flower #1
Garden Flower #1
Garden Flower #2
Garden Flower #2
Garden Flower #3
Garden Flower #3
Garden Flower #4
Garden Flower #4
Garden Flower #5
Garden Flower #5

 

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

26 August 2013

Pitcher Mountain

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Other Insects — Tags: , , , — Frank @ 10:00 PM

Yesterday (Sunday) afternoon found us (myself, Joan, Katrina, Suzy and Lyle) atop Pitcher Mountain in Stoddard, NH.

Pitcher Mountain is the site of some world-class wild blueberry picking; there are acres and acres of terrain specially maintained to promote blueberry bush growth. The blueberry season is winding to a close, but the hike to the top of the mountain is usually rewarded with spectacular views in all directions. I did not bother with landscape photos this trip… harsh mid-day light, a cloudless sky and a bit of haze don’t do justice to the scene.

Rather, as one might expect, I concentrated on the insects! There were dozens of darners patrolling territories and hunting on the summit but rarely landing… the one frame of a darner I show here is the only one I made. Darn those darners!

I saw one other dragonfly on the summit… a female Eastern Amberwing. A new species for me. She was quite cooperative and hung around for maybe five minutes or so.

In between hunting darners, I was able to keep myself entertained with the grasshoppers. The butterfly was spotted at the trail head as we arrived back a the road.

We stopped for ice cream at the new place on Route 10 (in Marlow) before heading home. It was delicious and well worth the short drive in the “wrong” direction. Dinner was not needed last night!

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Darner sp.
Darner sp.
Eastern Amberwing (female)
Eastern Amberwing (female)
Grasshopper #1
Grasshopper #1
Grasshopper #2
Grasshopper #2
ID Needed
ID Needed

19 August 2013

Another Trip “Down Back”

About 4 this afternoon, I donned my waders and spent about an hour and three quarters near the beaver pond “down back”.

I was surprised by the lack of meadowhawks… I saw only two or three along the margin of the beaver swamp. There were small numbers of darners out of the meadow… I saw maybe a dozen total while I was out. I also saw a single sedge sprite.  The most numerous ode present were the spreadwings (I don’t know what species). I saw roughly three dozen.

When I arrived at the edge of the beaver pond I found a convenient spot of open water and knelt down keeping the sun off my shoulder. I was happily watching and photographing spreadwings when I noticed a small (first joint of the thumb-sized) frog not more than I foot from my knee. I don’t know if he was there when I knelt down or if he appeared after I settled in. He was too close to photograph with the ode rig, so I backed up slowly. He was completely unconcerned and I was able to photograph him (see Green Frog #1).

A short while later I noticed two more similar sized frogs near by. One was too close to photograph and partly covered by some grass. The other made for a nice photograph (see Green Frog #2). I decided to try a different angle on the second frog and, as I went to move my position, I almost put my knee on a much larger (fist-sized) green frog. I was able to back off without disturbing him and made Green Frog #3. The big guy was more wary than the smaller fellows and fairly quickly jumped out of sight. I went back to photographing the second frog head on (see Green Frog #4; note the blood-sucking flies, one on each eye!).

The sedge sprite made a brief  appearance while I was photographing the frogs and I was able to get two frames before it disappeared again.

Eventually, I stood up and moved off a short distance. While I was moving I found the orange butterfly and was able to get a clear view for just a single frame.

I was entertaining myself with the spreadwings at the second spot when I heard the clatter of dragonfly wings. The sound of dragonfly wings hitting vegetation or each other is quite unmistakable.

I quickly located the source, a female darner down low in the grasses ovipositing. I was able to get two frames before she moved off to another spot without a clear line of sight. After short interval she moved again, this time to a spot about a foot in front of me but she only stayed for a second or two before flying off out of sight. I went back to photographing spreadwings.

After a few more minutes, I decided that it was time to make supper so I headed back up the hill to the house.

That’s my story for today and I am sticking to it!

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Green Frog #1
Green Frog #1
Green Frog #2
Green Frog #2
Green Frog #3
Green Frog #3
Green Frog #4
Green Frog #4
Sedge Sprite (male)
Sedge Sprite (male)
Butterfly (ID Needed)
Butterfly (ID Needed)
Spreadwing sp.
Spreadwing sp.
Spreadwing sp.
Spreadwing sp.
Green-striped Darner (female), ovipositing
Green-striped Darner (female), ovipositing
Spreadwing sp.
Spreadwing sp.

15 August 2013

A Week Off (from Photographing)


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Looking at the calendar, I realize that it has been a week since my last post; this after a string of daily posts the week before.

All I can say is that I have been busy. This photo explains much of that busyness:

The Woodpile - August 2013

We had six cords of fire wood delivered in the late afternoon last Saturday. I had it all stacked before lunchtime yesterday (i.e. Wednesday). The stack is roughly eighteen feet by eighteen feet by four and a half feet… about eight cords total.

Every time I went out to work on the stack, I had to ignore the many odes, mainly meadowhawks of both sexes, that were around the yard. After finishing yesterday, we ate lunch on the deck and as soon as we finished eating, I picked up the camera. I made all of these photos within about twenty five feet of the deck. The band-winded meadowhawk is another new species for me.

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Meadowhawk sp. (female)
Meadowhawk sp. (female)
Meadowhawk sp. (immature male)
Meadowhawk sp. (immature male)
Meadowhawk sp. (female)
Meadowhawk sp. (female)
Band-winged Meadowhawk (male)
Band-winged Meadowhawk (male)
Meadowhawk sp. (female)
Meadowhawk sp. (female)
Great Spangled Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
The Woodpile - August 2013
The Woodpile - August 2013

4 August 2013

The First Two Days of August

Filed under: Odontates,Other Insects,Summer,wildflowers — Tags: , , , — Frank @ 12:00 PM

These photos were made around the yard on Thursday. It was quite unusual to see large darners hanging around the yard.

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Butterflies (Moths?) Mating
Butterflies (Moths?) Mating
Great Spangled Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
Shadow Darner (female)
Shadow Darner (female)
Canada Darner (male)
Canada Darner (male)

On Friday evening we put the kayaks in Gregg Lake and explored the wetlands at the north end.

Joan dragged her boat over the beaver dam and explored a bit on the upper side. The water on the upper side is roughly two feet higher than the lower side. On the return trip Joan fell in while trying to get back into her boat! I found enough to photograph without getting out of my kayak.

It was rather late in the day for odes, so I did not take the “ode rig”. Rather I took the little V1 and looked for other subjects.

There were a lot of vesper bluets out and about, so I’ll have to head out again soon with the ode rig. I did not even try photographing them with the V1 as it simply does not have anywhere near the magnification needed.

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Spreadwing
Spreadwing
Pickerel Weed #1
Pickerel Weed #1
ID Needed
ID Needed
Pickerel Weed #2
Pickerel Weed #2
Untitled
Untitled
Untitled #2
Untitled #2
Untitled #3
Untitled #3
Untitled #4
Untitled #4
Cloudscape #1
Cloudscape #1
Cloudscape #2
Cloudscape #2
Cloudscape #3
Cloudscape #3
Cloudscape #4
Cloudscape #4

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