Photographs by Frank

28 August 2017

Another August Afternoon Amble

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 10:30 PM

This afternoon I made a left at the bottom of our driveway and headed down towards the bridge. My goal, however, was not the bridge. Rather, I was headed for the old log yard and the beaver pond on the road to Balancing Rock (on the land recently acquired by the Harris Center).

The old log yard which was bare just a few years ago is now full of wildflowers and berries. I was expecting to find meadowhawks here and was not disappointed. I observed more than a dozen; more males than females. There were also a few darners flying about and hunting overhead.

At the beaver pond, I found a single spreadwing and a single female bluet along the outlet stream. I sat at the edge of the pond near a log with an exuvia clinging to its underside and watched three male slaty skimmers having spectacular dog fights over the bit of pond shore I was watching. Every once in a while one would perch nearby for a very short interval before heading back into the battle for territory.

As I arose to leave I noticed some ode like movement out of the corner of my eye. My departure was delayed as I watched a lone female common pondhawk unsuccessfully hunting. After about five minutes she flew out of sight and I headed home.

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Meadowhawk (male)
Meadowhawk (male)
Meadowhawk (female)
Meadowhawk (female)
Meadowhawk (male)
Meadowhawk (male)
Spreadwing
Spreadwing
Exuvia
Exuvia
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Common Pondhawk (female)
Common Pondhawk (female)

 

Hattie Brown Road

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

Yesterday afternoon, Joan and I walked up Hattie Brown Road to the beaver-made wetland. The weather was partly sunny and the temperature was in the low 70s F; there was a light intermittent breeze. Perfect weather for late August and for odes.

As I expected there were meadowhawks present along the road. We saw roughly a dozen individuals, both males and females in approximately equal numbers, perched from the ground to eye-level on the vegetation. We also saw a single meadowhawk mating wheel.

Additionally there were similar numbers (at least a dozen) of Canada darners present. Most were patrolling / hunting out over the water. However, we observed two ovipositing females and a couple of individuals (one with prey) perched in the roadside shrubbery.

Lastly, we observed three or four spreadwings perched low to the ground in the roadside vegetation.

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Meadowhawk (female or immature male)
Meadowhawk (female or immature male)
Canada Darner (male) with Prey
Canada Darner (male) with Prey
Canada Darner (male) with Prey
Canada Darner (male) with Prey
Canada Darner (male)
Canada Darner (male)
Meadowhawk (imm. male)
Meadowhawk (imm. male)
Canada Darner Ovipositing
Canada Darner Ovipositing
Swamp (?) Spreadwing (male)
Swamp (?) Spreadwing (male)
Meadowhawk (male)
Meadowhawk (male)
Canada Darner (female?)
Canada Darner (female?)

 

25 August 2017

American Rubyspots – 2017 Edition

Filed under: Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 10:03 AM

Two years ago (minus a few days) I drove roughly an hour and fifteen minutes to photograph American Rubyspots in Athol, Mass. Ever since then, I have been wanting to find Rubyspots in New Hampshire.

Last spring, I met Chris from Hollis, NH at a NH Coverts program. He told me of a spot in his home town where this species could be found and a few days ago he emailed to inform me that he had seen and photographed rubyspots there this past week.

Thus, yesterday afternoon I made the trip to the Beaver Brook Association‘s reservation in Hollis. It was only an hours drive and the site (where Brookline Road crosses the Nissitissit River) lies roughly a hundred yards north of the Mass. line.

As Chris promised, American Rubyspots were easy to find. I saw roughly a dozen individuals, mostly male but there were also one or two females present. I also saw a couple of male variable dancers and numerous meadowhawks (mostly male and probably Autumn Meadowhawks) along the edge of the parking area. Additionally, there was a single spreadwing mixed in with the rubyspots low along the river’s edge.

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American Rubyspot (male)
American Rubyspot  (male)
American Rubyspot (male)
American Rubyspot  (male)
American Rubyspot (male)
American Rubyspot  (male)
American Rubyspot (male)
American Rubyspot  (male)
American Rubyspot (female)
American Rubyspot (female)
Spreadwing
Spreadwing

 

24 August 2017

Good Odeing

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

Yesterday afternoon was sunny, warm (temperatures in the mid 70s F) and windy. Good weather for odeing… except for the wind.

I headed out and decided to stay away from the water where the wind would be strongest. I split my time between Elmwood Junction in Hancock (near where Moose Brook flows into Powdermill Pond) and the field at the boat launch on the Contoocook River in Greenfield (near the covered bridge).

The numbers of individuals was fairly small but the variety of species I observed was amazing. I photographed nine species between the two sites.

At Elmwood Junction, I photographed a single male slender spreadwing, a small number of male variable dancers and meadowhawks (probably autumn meadowhawks) of both sexes. The damselflies were located down near the water, in a spot protected from the wind. The meadowhawks were in sunny spots along the road. (The first five photos below are from Elmwood Junction.)

At the field by the boat launch, I observed (and photographed) a couple of male Eastern Forktails, one (and maybe two) male Eastern Amberwings, a small number (maybe half a dozen) male Calico Pennants, a single female Widow Skimmer (which allowed me exactly one exposure before it flew off to part unknown), a number of meadowhawks (mostly male but a few females) and a single male Slaty Skimmer.

I also photographed (see the last photo) a female Common Pondhawk. I saw this elusive “gal” on three separate occasions over about a fifteen minute period, but was able to make only two exposures on the last time I saw it.

I saw no odes down by the river at the boat launch, but it was quite windy so this is not unexpected.

At both sites, meadowhawks (most probably Autumn Meadowhawks) were, by far, the most common species I observed and males outnumbered females by about three to one.

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Slender Spreadwing (male) ?
Slender Spreadwing (male) ?
Variable Dancer (male) with Prey
Variable Dancer (male) with Prey
Meadowhawk (male)
Meadowhawk (male)
Meadowhawk (male)
Meadowhawk (male)
White-faced Meadowhawk (female) ?
White-faced Meadowhawk (female) ?
Eastern Forktail (male)
Eastern Forktail (male)
Eastern Amberwing (male)
Eastern Amberwing (male)
Eastern Amberwing (male)
Eastern Amberwing (male)
Calico Pennant (male)
Calico Pennant (male)
Widow Skimmer (female)
Widow Skimmer (female)
Meadowhawk (female)
Meadowhawk (female)
Slaty Skimmer(male)
Slaty Skimmer(male)
Slaty Skimmer(male)
Slaty Skimmer(male)
ID Needed
ID Needed

 

26 August 2016

Autumn Meadowhawks

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,The Yard,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 11:55 PM

This afternoon, with the temperature around 80 F and partly sunny skies, I headed “down back” to our beaver-made wetland looking for autumn meadowhawks. I was not disappointed.

As a I passed by our brush pile, located in a sunny clearing in the woods near the house, I noted the presence of five or six autumn meadowhawks (mostly yellow ones; females or immature males). They were perched up high in the middle of the large pile so I did not try to photograph them.

When I arrived at the bottom of the hill and the juncture between woods and wetland, I observed another five or six bright red male meadowhawks in flight and a single yellow individual caught in a spiders web. The males spent most of the time I watched them in flight but occasionally one would perch and I got a chance to make a photo.

Moving out into the wet meadow, there were small numbers of darners (presumably males) patrolling territories along the waters edge. I also observed two presumptive females flying low in the vegetation clearly looking for a place to oviposit. None stopped moving long enough to be photographed.

Out in the meadow, I found a single immature male (i.e. orange) meadowhawk that was most cooperative in terms of photography. This individual made repeated hunting forays from the same perch and thus was easy to photograph.

Heading back towards home, I encountered a lone spreadwing at the edge of the woods. It sat still just long enough for me to make three or four photos.

Upon returning to the yard, I saw a feeding swarm consisting of two or three dozen darners. Hot, tired and thirsty*, I watched them for only a few minutes before heading into the house to fetch a large glass of ice water. When I look again, less than ten minutes later, the swarm was gone.

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Autumn Meadowhawk (male)
Autumn Meadowhawk (male)
Autumn Meadowhawk (immature male)
Autumn Meadowhawk (immature male)
Autumn Meadowhawk Caught in Spider Web
Autumn Meadowhawk Caught in Spider Web
Spreadwing
Spreadwing

* Spending a couple of hours in the sun while wearing waders will make one hot tired and thirsty!


 

18 July 2016

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

 

5 July 2016

A Perfect Day for Odes, Except…

Saturday (2 July) was warm (temperature in the low 70’s) and mostly sunny. Perfect weather for odes, except… for the strong gusty winds!!

I decided to head “down back” in spite of the wind. My instinct, which said that there would be few odes flying because of the wind, proved true.

There were a couple (one each male and female) of calico pennants still hanging around the yard (low in the grass). I watched the male calico pennant for some time. Each time the sun came out from behind a cloud, this individual assumed the classic obelisking pose with abdomen held almost perpendicular to the ground. When the sun “disappeared” it quickly lowered its abdomen and resumed the pennant pose (with the abdomen parallel to the ground) for which it is named.

Obelisking is a thermoregulation strategy where the dragonfly orients its body to minimize its exposure to the sun and thus minimize solar heat gain.

Down by the beaver pond there were frosted whitefaces and slaty skimmers patrolling territories out over the water. As I moved about in the wet meadow, I stirred up a half-dozen or so damselflies which quickly settled back down away from the wind and deep in the vegetation

Botanically, the blue-flag irises are completely done for the year, the rose pogonia are near their peak and the swamp candlesticks are just beginning to bloom.

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Calico Pennant (male) Grooming
Calico Pennant (male) Grooming
Calico Pennant (male) Oblisking
Calico Pennant (male) Oblisking
Calico Pennant (female)
Calico Pennant (female)
Damselfly (ID Needed(
Damselfly (ID Needed(
Bluet (male)
Bluet (male)
Rose Pogonia
Rose Pogonia

 

26 June 2016

Contookook River Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates — Tags: , — Frank @ 3:00 PM

Late last Friday (24 Jun) afternoon, I tossed my waders and camera into my truck and took a short drive to the Contookook River near the paper mill in Bennington, NH. I spent a couple of hours wading the shallows on the east bank immediately adjacent to the paper mill’s lawn.

There were three species of damselflies present low in the emergent vegetation. Stream bluets, Eastern forktails and a second Bluet (which I can not positively identify). The stream bluets were, by far, the most abundant and it was clearly mating time for them. I observed two mating wheels and a third pair flying in tandem.

Flying (and occasionally perching) higher up on the back were small numbers of male twelve-spotted skimmers and a lone male common whitetail (which I did not get a photograph of).

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Spreadwing (male)
Spreadwing (male)
Stream Bluet (pair)
Stream Bluet (pair)
Stream Bluet (male)
Stream Bluet (male)
Twelve-spotted Skimmer (male)
Twelve-spotted Skimmer (male)
Stream Bluet (mating wheel)
Stream Bluet (mating wheel)
Eastern Forktail (male)
Eastern Forktail (male)
Eastern Forktail (female) ?
Eastern Forktail (female) ?
Bluet (male)
Bluet (male)

 

22 June 2016

Down Back to Photograph for the First Time This Ode Season

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

Yesterday afternoon I made my first trip of the season “down back”* to see what was up ode-wise.

The weather was near perfect… sunny and warm (low 70’s F). There was a gusty breeze which made the photography a bit difficult at times.

The numbers of chalk-fronted corporals and calico pennants in the yard have started to drop… the corporals are nearly absent, although the pennants are still the most abundant ode in the yard.  I now know why… both species are moving back to the water.

Chalk-fronted corporals were by far the most common dragonfly “down back” yesterday; there were dozens flying over the open water of the beaver pond. There were also many calico pennants flying over the marsh. Most were yellow (females or immature males) but there were a few red ones (mature males) and couple of orange ones mixed in. Third in abundance were frosted whitefaces, including the only mating wheel I saw in the two and a half hours I was out.

I also saw small number of damselflies (bluets and sedge sprites), a couple of four-spotter skimmers and a lone lancet clubtail. The last being quite uncommon “down back” but very common at the lake (about a half mile away).

 

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Bluet sp. (female)
Bluet sp. (female)
Calico Pennant (maturing male)
Calico Pennant (maturing male)
Bluet sp (male)
Bluet sp (male)
Frosted Whiteface (mating wheel)
Frosted Whiteface (mating wheel)
Frosted Whiteface
Frosted Whiteface
ID Needed
ID Needed
Four-spotted Skimmer #1
Four-spotted Skimmer #1
Four-spotted Skimmer #2
Four-spotted Skimmer #2
Sedge Sprite (male)
Sedge Sprite (male)
Lancet Clubtail (male)
Lancet Clubtail (male)

 

* The back of our property contains a beaver-made wet land complex consisting of a small stream, a beaver pond and a marsh. It is a wonderful place to spend time observing and photographing.


 

Weekend Odes at the Lake

Filed under: "Camp",Monadnock Region,Odontates,Spring — Tags: , — Frank @ 6:30 PM

The weather was hot (for NH) and humid last weekend (18 and 19 Jun). We headed down to the lake and our camp for both afternoons. I spent most of the time we were there odeing.

Both days there was lots of evidence of damselfly emergence… teneral bluets were the most common ode I encountered and I even found a few damselfly exuvia.

Interestingly, on Saturday, there were many lancet clubtails present. However, on Sunday, I saw very few despite the conditions and the time of day begin similar. I have no idea why.

Photos from Saturday

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Bluet Pair in Tandem
Bluet Pair in Tandem
Teneral Damselfly (possibly a variable dancer)
Teneral Damselfly (possibly a variable dancer)
Damselfly Exuvia
Damselfly Exuvia
Clubtail sp.
Clubtail sp.
Dragonfly Exuvia
Dragonfly Exuvia
Lancet Clubtail (?) with Prey
Lancet Clubtail (?) with Prey
Teneral Damselfly
Teneral Damselfly
Lancet Clubtail
Lancet Clubtail

 

Photos from Sunday

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Bluet sp.
Bluet sp.
Dragonfly Exuvia #1
Dragonfly Exuvia #1
Damselfly Exuvia
Damselfly Exuvia
Teneral Damselfly #1
Teneral Damselfly #1
Teneral Damselfly #2
Teneral Damselfly #2
Dragonfly Exuvia #2
Dragonfly Exuvia #2

 

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