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?)

 

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

 

13 August 2017

A Walk at Loveren’s Mill

Yesterday afternoon, Joan and I took a walk at the Nature Conservancy’s Loveren’s Mill property. This site, which lies along the North Branch river and is partly in Antrim, contains a rare white cedar swamp. I brought along the “ode rig” and thus concentrated on photographing small things close up.

There were a smallish number but a good variety of odes present… ebony jewelwings along the fast moving parts of the river and meadow hawks and some unidentified (and unphotographed) damselflies along the woods roads. Oddly, we saw no odes along the boardwalk in the swamp proper.

The most common, by far, insect present was a small (about an inch across), drab tan moth. There were spots along the road where each foot step stirred up a dozen or so individuals.

Botanically, there was an interesting mix of early season spring ephemerals (e.g. painted trillium, clintonia and bunchberry) in fruit and late season wildflowers (e.g. joe pye weed, asters and goldenrod) in bloom. Additionally, the damp summer has been very good for the fungi and I photographed a number of different mushrooms.

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Sorry for the lack of captions/titles.  The last upgrade to the blog software seems to have introduced a small incompatibility with the gallery software. I thought I had figured out a work around for the previous post, but now I can not remember what I did the other day!


 

11 August 2017

Zealand Falls Odes

Filed under: Odontates,Summer,the White Mountains,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 9:00 PM

Yesterday, Joan, her cousin Suzy and I took a trip to the Zealand Falls area in the White Mountains.

Joan and Suzy headed for the top of Zealand Falls and the AMC hut. I headed up the same trail at a much slower pace. My goal was the downstream end of the extensive beaver-made wetlands complex (which is downstream from Zealand Pond). It is always a nice hike and I was in search of odes.

On the way up, I observed a number of darners at a couple of points along the river and along a creek feeding into the river. No photos though, as these were typical darners which are constantly on the move.

Within a couple of minutes of arriving at the first beaver pond I saw two dragonflies… a blue corporal (I think) and another dragonfly with green eyes. Neither hung around long enough for a good look much less a photograph.  Without success, I waited for some time hoping that they would return. Eventually I moseyed on up the trail. I saw no odes for the next fifteen or so minutes and decided to turn around.

On the way back across the boardwalk I finally espied another dragonfly with bright green eyes; an emerald of some sort. It perched briefly and I was able to make two exposures of it before it took off again… the first photo, below, is one of them.

One the way down, I stopped at the first beaver pond again, hoping that I might re-spot one of the two individuals I saw there originally. I was rewarded with a second sighting of the green-eyed delta-spotted spiketail. It briefly perched near me; almost too close for me to photograph.  I was able to lean back enough to get it in focus and was, again, able to make only two exposures before it flew off.

I made it back to the car about five minutes before Joan and Suzy. We hightailed it home so that Joan could make her evening Parks and Recreation Commission meeting.

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Emerald (?)
Emerald (?)
Delta-spotted Spiketail (male)
Delta-spotted Spiketail (male)

 

30 July 2017

Calico Pennants

Filed under: Odontates,Summer,The Yard — Tags: — Frank @ 12:05 PM

Yesterday, for the first time this season, I took the “ode rig” along with me on my daily walk.*

I was rewarded with some nice photos of calico pennants (see below). The individual in the first photo is a male and the other two individuals are females; the one in the third photo is carrying a number of mites both on its abdomen and it thorax.**

In addition to the half dozen (four male and two female) calico pennants I observed, I also saw a single male meadowhawk and a number of female spreadwings.

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* There was a light overcast and the temperature was about 70 deg. F. I was out from about 1 to 3 PM.

** Something has happened to my ability to caption individual photos in the gallery. Thus, these descriptions will have to suffice.


 

21 September 2016

Two from Today

Filed under: Birds,Early Fall,Monadnock Region,Odontates,Wildlife — Tags: , , — Frank @ 9:30 PM

Today was a glorious day weather-wise.  The temperature was in the high 70s F, the humidity was low and the skies mostly clear.

While we ate lunch on the deck, we were entertained by the birds at the feeder and by a couple of male autumn meadowhawks perching on the dead flowers nearby. After watching the odes for some time, I finally gave in and got the camera.

Later in the afternoon, Joan headed out for a kayak ride. She called from the beach parking lot to say that there were “brown headed ducks” down by the bridge but that she did not have her binoculars with her so that she did not get a good look at them. I stashed Big Bertha in the passenger seat, threw the tripod in the bed of the truck and headed down the road the mile to the bridge.

Those “brown-headed”ducks turned out to be a family of mallards. I watched and photographed them for about an hour.

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Autumn Meadowhawk (male)
Autumn Meadowhawk (male)
Mallards - youngster, female, male (l-r)
Mallards - youngster, female, male (l-r)

 

5 September 2016

“Down Back” Again

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

Yesterday afternoon, I headed “down back” to our beaver-made wetland afternoon just to see what was up. Despite the perfect weather (temperature in the mid-70s F, mostly sunny, a a very light wind), “things” were very quiet. There was no bird activity and very little ode activity. The most numerous animals were grasshoppers in the wet meadow and frogs in the beaver pond.

I observed less that a dozen darners hunting over the meadow and about dozen autumn meadowhawks (all male) in the shrubby margin between wetland and upland. I saw no damselflies at all.

I spent some time photographing the asters (which are not quite peak) and other plants. At one point I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, that the shrubbery along the edge of the meadow moving in an anomalous fashion. I looked up just in time to see a bear pass though a gap in the shrubs that was no wider than he/she was long.

As I headed back towards home I noticed, from a distance, a strange looking stick protruding above the grass in the meadow and changed my path to investigate. As I neared it, I realized that the stick was topped with a twelve-spotted skimmer! I approached cautiously and made my “insurance shot” from a discrete distance. I then took a small sideways step hoping for a better angle and this fellow took off. I watched him land about fifteen feet up in a nearby tree; clearly out of range for a good photograph. Sometimes the “insurance shot” is all you get!

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Autumn Meadowhawk (male) #1
Autumn Meadowhawk (male) #1
Autumn Meadowhawk (male) #2
Autumn Meadowhawk (male) #2
Aster
Aster
Cattail
Cattail
ID Needed
ID Needed
Grasshopper
Grasshopper
Twelve-spotted Skimmer (male)
Twelve-spotted Skimmer (male)

 

2 September 2016

Autumn Meadowhawks Redux

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

Yesterday afternoon I headed over to the boat launch on the Contoocook in Greenfield just to see what was up “ode-wise”. The river was high and I did not see any odes along the river. However, there were autumn meadowhawks along the edge of the parking lot and in the nearby open field. In addition to the meadowhawks, there were a number of small butterflies flitting about. I also saw a single female spreadwing of some sort.

As I was observing the meadowhawks I began to be a bit confused. There seemed to be three kinds around… bright red males, yellow females (which also have a clearly visible ovipositor at the distal end of their abdomen) and a third duller and not as extensively red form. Upon looking at my photos I noticed that these last individuals also had the triangular ovipositor and thus were clearly female. Hitting the reference books, I discovered that “older” females turn a dull red, especially on top of their abdomen. It is good to learn new things!

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Autumn Meadowhawk ("older" female)
Autumn Meadowhawk (
Autumn Meadowhawk (male)
Autumn Meadowhawk (male)
Autumn Meadowhawk (female)
Autumn Meadowhawk (female)
Autumn Meadowhawk ("older" female)
Autumn Meadowhawk (

 

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!


 

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