Photographs by Frank

19 August 2020

Odes at the Harris Center Property on Brimstone Corner Rd.

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 3:45 PM

Yesterday afternoon, about 3:30, I headed for a walk down the road on the Harris Center property near us. The weather was in the low 70’s and it was partially cloudy. Although at one point, I had to sit out a brief sprinkle under some hemlock trees. I got back home just before 6:30.

The pattern for this year held true. There were small numbers of odes present but a decent number of species to be found. The most common species were the meadowhawks, slatey skimmers and spreadwings (probably Elegant spreadwings, but possible Slender spreadwings). I saw about six of each. The meadowhawks were all in the old log landings along the road and were all yellow (i.e. either immature males or females). The skimmers were mostly male and found at the waters edge near the beaver dam. Although, I did see one female in a clearing along the road. The spreadwings were mostly in the stream flowing out of the beaver pond. I also saw two male eastern forktails (one immature) in the grass along the road just downstream from the dam.

Additionally, I saw very briefly a nondescript brown dragonfly that paused just long enough for one exposure as well as an unidentified damselfly and what I think was a male common pondhawk neither of which stayed around long enough for even a single photo.

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Meadowhawk (female)
Meadowhawk (female)
Eastern Forktail (male)
Eastern Forktail (male)
Dragonfly (ID?)
Dragonfly (ID?)
Elegant (?) Spreadwing (male)
Elegant (?) Spreadwing (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Meadowhawk (immature male)
Meadowhawk (immature male)
Eastern Forktail (immature male)
Eastern Forktail (immature male)
Slaty Skimmer (female)
Slaty Skimmer (female)
Blue Dasher (female)
Blue Dasher (female)

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)

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

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)

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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


 

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