Photographs by Frank

7 August 2019

Hattie Brown Road Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 9:33 PM

On Monday afternoon (from about 2 – 4) I took a walk up Hattie Brown Road to see what was up “ode-wise”. The temperature was in the high 70s F, the skies were mostly clear and there was a bit of breeze intermittently.

The walk along most of the road is heavily shaded and I did not expect to see many/any odes until I approached the beaver swamp. My expectations were met and I saw my first ode, a bright red male meadowhawk, just as I got to the swamp.

The swamp itself is amazingly dry, even for this time of year. The outlet stream is still flowing, but much of the swamp proper consists of large dry or drying patches separating discontinuous patches of surface water. (I imagine that there is still significant subsurface water.)

Usually, there would be good numbers of darners cruising out over the swamp, but not this trip. There were a few (two?) male meadowhawks along the road and a single female damselfly (most probably a variable dancer).

I continued along the road past the swamp and was rewarded with more numerous insects in the clearing just where the road turns up the hill.

Present in this clearing were small numbers (less than six) of both male and female common white-tails. The most common ode present were female spangled skimmers, roughly a dozen; I saw no males.

Individuals of both of these species seemed to be attacking me as they flew directly at my head numerous times, often close enough that I could hear there wings beating. A male common white-tail even briefly perched on the front of my thigh. Of course, what these insects were really doing was picking off prey from the cloud of small flying insects that I had attracted!

I also observed a single male twelve-spotted skimmer who was a very obliging model. During the course of the ten or fifteen minutes I watched him, he made repeated hunting forays and always returned to the same perch. In contrast to the other species, he ignored me and the cloud I attracted, as he flew off in seeming random directions each time.

One the way back to the truck, I passed a single meadowhawk along the road by the swamp and a single spreadwing along the road almost at its junction with Craig Road. I watched the spreadwing for a few minutes always staying low to the ground and in the shade. Just as I despaired of making its photo, it flew to a chest-high perch in a patch of sun. Even the background (the dark shaded woods at some distance away) was perfect. I made two exposures before it flew away!

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Meadowhawk (male) #1
Meadowhawk (male) #1
Dragonfly (ID needed)
Dragonfly (ID needed)
Common White-tail (female)
Common White-tail (female)
Common White-tail (female) with Prey
Common White-tail (female) with Prey
Spangled Skimmer (female) #1
Spangled Skimmer (female) #1
Spangled Skimmer (female) #2
Spangled Skimmer (female) #2
Twelve Spotted Skimmer with Prey
Twelve Spotted Skimmer with Prey
Twelve Spotted Skimmer #1
Twelve Spotted Skimmer #1
Twelve Spotted Skimmer #2
Twelve Spotted Skimmer #2
Twelve Spotted Skimmer #3
Twelve Spotted Skimmer #3
Meadowhawk (male) #2
Meadowhawk (male) #2
Spreadwing
Spreadwing

26 July 2019

A Slow Day “Down Back”

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,The "New" Yard & Environs,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 10:30 PM

This afternoon (at about four) I donned my waders and headed “down back”. It is a short (maybe a quarter of a mile) walk to the beaver made wetland complex at the back of our property.

The weather was mostly sunny and the temperature was right around 80 degrees. I spent about seventy five minutes watching the wildlife.

The beavers have been busy as the water level in the wet meadow is as high as I have ever seen it. Many of my usual spots: for hunkering down along the pond are now part of the pond!

As seems to be the case all over this season, the number of odes were small. There were darners flying over the vegetation in the wet meadow. They are impossible to enumerate, identify or photograph as they are in constant motion. I also observed a single male meadow hawk at the woodland/wetland interface. It did not stick around long enough for a photo.

The most common odes present were the sprites. I probably saw at least a couple of dozen. Both sedge sprites and sphagnum sprites were present. The latter were more common. Most of the individuals I saw were male but females were present. I saw (but did not photograph) a single pair of sprites flying in tandem. I did not see any damselflies other than sprites,

Sprites are very difficult to photograph. They are the smallest ode we have in the area; about one inch long and very slight of build. They also prefer to stay low in the emergent vegetation. I rarely see a sprite more than six inches off the water.

However, if one stakes out a small open spot and applies some patience a sprite or two are likely to show up. With a little luck you can then find a window in the grasses with a clear view and make a photograph before the critter moves on. The challenge is all part of the fun!

Lastly, as one would expect for the end of July the blue flag irises are done for the year. I did, however, see a number of their fruits (seed pods?). The equally showy but much smaller (the flowers are only about an inch long and their stalks rarely rise higher than six inches) rose pagonias were in full bloom. I saw five or six patches containing from a single flower to more than a dozen.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Sphagnum Sprite (male)
Sphagnum Sprite (male)
Sedge Sprite (male)
Sedge Sprite (male)
Sprite
Sprite
Sphagnum Sprite (male)
Sphagnum Sprite (male)
Sphagnum Sprite (male)
Sphagnum Sprite (male)
Rose Pagonia
Rose Pagonia

24 July 2019

Odes on a Short Walk

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 11:33 PM

This afternoon, about two o’clock, I headed out for a short walk. My destination was the outlet of “our” wetland. This brook crosses the road across the Harris Center property on Brimstone Corner Rd (in Antrim) roughly a couple of dozen feet below the beaver dam. I spent about two hours total in the field.

The weather was mostly sunny and the temperature was in the upper seventies. A perfect summer afternoon in New Hampshire.

As I hoped there were odes in the sunny patches along the road, in the old log yard and around the brook. The numbers of individuals were small; only three or four individuals maximum of each species were observed This seems to be the rule this summer… small numbers of individuals but a good variety of species.

I observed the following species of dragonflies: blue dashers (both male and female), calico pennants (both male and female), a female meadowhawk and a few male frosted whitefaces. I also saw a few damselflies: a single spreadwing, and few bluets and a lone ebony jewelwing.

I made photographs of all of these species except for the jewelwing.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Blue Dasher (female)
Blue Dasher (female)
Calico Pennant (male)
Calico Pennant (male)
Spreadwing
Spreadwing
Bluet
Bluet
Calico Pennant (female)
Calico Pennant (female)
Meadowhawk (female)
Meadowhawk (female)
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Damselfly
Damselfly
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Blue Dasher (male)
Blue Dasher (male)

10 July 2019

Contoocook River Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 9:36 PM

Well, the winter’s firewood is finally stacked… all 10 plus cords. Now I have some time and energy to get out and photograph the odes.

This afternoon, I had lunch with my friend Victor at the Common Place in Bennington (NH). After we parted ways, I stopped at the canoe/kayak launch on the Contoocook River by the papermill.

I have never looked for odes here before but I will be stopping there more often going forward.

This site is just downstream from the papermill’s last dam. Just below the dam there is a small falls/rapids and then, after the drop, there is a stretch of fast moving, rocky bottomed river. There are also a number of backwaters with essentially still water and muddy bottoms. A very different habitat than I usually visit.

The weather was mostly sunny and the temperature was in the mid-80s.

I spent about an hour, covered no more than 200 feet of river and observed eight different species of odes.

The damselflies I saw were: powdered dancers (one of each sex, I think; this is a new species for me), a couple of male ebony jewelwings and a single male stream bluet.

As for the dragonflies, the most abundant were male common whitetails; there were many dozens of them, but no females. Next most abundant were spangled skimmers, I saw roughly a dozen of them; all males again.

I also observed single individuals of the following species: dragonhunter, twelve-spotted skimmer and slaty skimmer. Again, these were all males.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Powdered Dancer (male) ?
Powdered Dancer (male) ?
Powdered Dancer (female) ???
Powdered Dancer (female) ???
Dragonhunter (male)
Dragonhunter (male)
Ebony Jewelwing (male)
Ebony Jewelwing (male)
Stream Bluet (male)
Stream Bluet (male)
Spangled Skimmer (male)
Spangled Skimmer (male)
Common Whitetail (male)
Common Whitetail (male)
Spangled Skimmer (male)
Spangled Skimmer (male)
Twelve-spotted Skimmer (male)
Twelve-spotted Skimmer (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)

20 June 2019

One Hour, Two Hundred Feet — Five Species

Monday (17 May) afternoon, I spent about an hour roaming the neighborhood with the camera rigged for odes (300 mm lens and an extension tube). I never went farther than about 200 feet from the house.

Odes were abundant on this warm sunny afternoon. I found five species… four dragonflies and a single damselfly.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Hudsonian Whiteface (male)
Hudsonian Whiteface (male)
Clubtail
Clubtail
ID Needed
ID Needed
Chalk-fronted Corporal (maturing male)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (maturing male)
ID Needed
ID Needed
ID Needed
ID Needed
Hudsonian Whiteface (male)
Hudsonian Whiteface (male)
Damselfly
Damselfly

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!

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Spreadwing #1
Spreadwing #1
Wildflower
Wildflower
Autumn Meadowhawk (female)
Autumn Meadowhawk (female)
Grass Seedhead
Grass Seedhead
Toadstool
Toadstool
Spreadwing #2
Spreadwing #2


 

22 July 2018

Bonnyvale Odes

Filed under: Odontates,Summer — Tags: , — Frank @ 1:00 PM

In a couple of weeks (4 August to be exact) I will be teaching a workshop titled “Photography of Dragonflies and Damselflies” and cosponsored by the Vermont Center for Photography and the Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center (BEEC).

Yesterday afternoon, I made a trip to the BEEC to scout out the odes there ahead of the workshop. The temperature was in the mid-70’s F, there were a few very scattered clouds and a slight breeze blowing, just enough to add challenge to photographing insects perched on tall grasses!

There were a couple of immature (i.e. orange-ish) meadowhawks flying over the fields. While walking in a field of tall grasses, one often flushes small birds. Yesterday, was no exception.  However, yesterday I also flushed a large deer. It jumped up from where it had been laying not more that twenty five feet from me and I nearly jumped out of my skin!

There is a very small (maybe twelve feet in diameter) pond in the lower field which contained dozens of bluets of two different species, including a number of ovipositing pairs. There was also a single male common whitetail that spent most of its time cruising the perimeter of the pond and only rarely perching and then for only a short interval. Very frustrating for photographers!

Across the road from the BEEC buildings and a short walk away, is another small pond. There were a number (maybe six or eight) of what I think were blue dashers out over the pond and perching on the cattails out in the middle. Having donned my rubber boots, I began to venture out into the shallow pond to photograph them. However, I quickly turned around. There was no solid bottom only that semi-solid, boot-grabbing muck that one often finds in small ponds. In the vegetation around the margin of this pond I found two male meadowhawks and a single teneral spreadwing.

I think that there will be enough ode activity for our workshop but I will be looking (with help from the BEEC staff) for another nearby site as backup.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Bluet (male, probably a Northern)
Bluet (male, probably a Northern)
Slender Bluet (male)
Slender Bluet (male)
Bluet (male, probably a Northern)
Bluet (male, probably a Northern)
Common Whitetail (male)
Common Whitetail (male)
Slender Bluet (male)
Slender Bluet (male)
Slender Bluet (male)
Slender Bluet (male)
Meadowhawk (immature male)
Meadowhawk (immature male)


 

Down Back on Friday

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer — Tags: , — Frank @ 12:00 PM

Friday afternoon, I spent a couple hours in the beaver-made wetland “down back” behind our house; we share this wetland with the NH Audubon Willard Pond sanctuary. The weather was warm (about 80 deg. F), very sunny and only a slight breeze.

There were a few darners flying out over the wet meadow; the first I’ve seen this season. The most common dragonfly was the frosted whiteface. There were dozens, mostly patrolling out of the open water of the pond. Additionally, I saw a single male calico pennant, a single male emerald. A Kennedy’s emerald I think, I have seen one other of these a few years back at the mill pond on the Willard Pond sanctuary, about three-quarters of a mile away. I also saw two or three female spangled skimmers.

There were small numbers of damselflies down low in the vegetation. These are always difficult to photograph. Damselflies tend to perch for only short intervals and finding clear “windows” in the vegetation though which to photograph is not easy. The most common damselflies were the sprites, both sphagnum and sedge sprites were present. Additionally, I saw one or two bluets of some sort and a similar number of spreadwings none of which I photographed.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Sedge Sprite (tandem pair)
Sedge Sprite (tandem pair)
Sphagnum Sprite (male)
Sphagnum Sprite (male)
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Calico Pennant (male)
Calico Pennant (male)
Spangled Skimmer (female)
Spangled Skimmer (female)
Emerald, male, probably a Kennedy's)
Emerald, male, probably a Kennedy's)
Spangled Skimmer (female)
Spangled Skimmer (female)


 

15 July 2018

Powdermill Pond Boat Launch (Greenfield) Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer — Tags: , — Frank @ 2:00 PM

Last Thursday (12 July) afternoon, I spent about ninety minutes (beginning at about 4:30) at the boat launch on the Greenfield side of the Contoocook River (near the covered bridge). The temperature was near 80 deg. F,  it was partly cloudy and calm.

There were numerous male slaty skimmers and slightly small numbers of male blue dashers patrolling and skirmishing out over the water in a backwater by the boat ramp. I was quite interesting to watch the smaller dashers challenge the skimmers for the rights to a prime perch at the waters edge. The dashers were only rarely successful in their challenge.

The emergent vegetation contained at least two species of damselflies: a spreadwing and Eastern Forktails. There were also a few variable dancers along the shore.

Out in the the field, the most numerous ode was the widow skimmer; there were dozens present. They were generally perched down low and hard to see unless you stirred them up as you walked. Both males and females were present in roughly equal numbers.

Additionally, there were small numbers of of male eastern forktails, present down low in the vegetation.

I also observed a single yellow (female or immature male) meadowhawk, a single female calico pennant and one female dot-tailed whiteface in the field.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Variable Dancer (male)
Variable Dancer (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Spreadwing
Spreadwing
Meadowhawk
Meadowhawk
Eastern Forktail (male)
Eastern Forktail (male)
Widow Skimmer (immature male)
Widow Skimmer (immature male)
Widow Skimmer (male)
Widow Skimmer (male)
Calico Pennant
Calico Pennant
Dot-tailed Whiteface (female)
Dot-tailed Whiteface (female)


 

11 July 2018

Elmwood Junction Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer — Tags: , — Frank @ 11:30 PM

This afternoon I walked the roughly three-quarters of a mile (one way) from the end of the road at Elmwood Junction to the rail bridge over Powder Mill Pond (a dammed section of the Contoocook River) in Hancock. The temperature was right around 80 deg. F and it was partly cloudy. The breeze was slight and intermittent.

The number of odes was small, but the diversity of species was great. I observed eight different species in my roughly ninety minute outing.

When I first arrived, I saw two or three male bluets right at the waters edge near the end of the road where I parked the truck. I also found a single male variable dancer along the edge of the road. At the end of my walk, I saw a couple of male slaty skimmers and a single male blue dasher in the same general area.

Some stretches of the trail (an old rail bed) are quite shady. However, the edges of the trail in sunny areas, especially those close to the water yielded a number of sightings. Common pondhawks (both immature males and females) were the most common species. I saw a total of three or four of each sex. I also observed single individuals (all males) of the following species: frosted whiteface, dot-tailed whiteface and widow skimmer. The catch of the day (for both me and the ode, pun intended!) was a female slaty skimmer eating a male bluet.

I had two interesting avian encounters along the trail. At one point I was standing still scanning the vegetation for odes when a downy woodpecker landed on a tree trunk at the edge of the trail not more that five or six feet from me. It was close enough that a photo was possible with the “ode rig”. However, as soon as I moved, he took off into the woods. A few minutes later, while I was framing  a photograph, a bird (most probably an Eastern Kingbird, there were a number along the trail) flew, at waist height, between my monopod and the dragonfly I was focused on, which was not more than four feet away.

Clearly, it does not take much to amuse me, but I had an entertaining outing!

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Bluet (male)
Bluet (male)
Variable Dancer (male)
Variable Dancer (male)
Common Pondhawk (female)
Common Pondhawk (female)
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Slaty Skimmer (female) with Prey (Male Bluet)
Slaty Skimmer (female) with Prey (Male Bluet)
Dot-tailed Whiteface (male)
Dot-tailed Whiteface (male)
Common Pondhawk (immature male)
Common Pondhawk (immature male)
Widow Skimmer (male)
Widow Skimmer (male)
Blue Dasher (male)
Blue Dasher (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)


 

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress