Photographs by Frank

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.

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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!

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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)

 

8 July 2018

Odeing the Harris Center Property on Brimstone Corner Road

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 10:00 PM

A couple of years ago, the Harris Center purchased a parcel of land along Brimstone Corner Road about a half-mile from our house (down towards the bridge). This parcel contains the north (and downstream) end of the beaver-made wetland complex whose southern end we share with NH Audubon.

Yesterday afternoon, about three o’clock with the temperature in the mid-70s and mostly sunny skies, I walked the roughly four-tenths of a mile down Brimstone Corner road from our house to the road (which closed to vehicles) that passes through this property. About a quarter-mile down this road lies a log yard that was last used about five years ago and another quarter-mile along one comes to a beaver dam and the outlet stream from the wetland complex.

Both sites have good odeing. The old log yard is bright, sunny upland. The outlet area has both vegetated still water habitat (i.e. the beaver pond) and a sandy bottom small stream habitat. The sunny spots along the road also usually contain some odes. All-in-all, lots of good potential odeing in a small area and I was not disappointed yesterday.

Maybe fifty feet after turning off Brimstone Corner Road, I encountered my first ode, a female slaty skimmer. In the quarter-mile down to the log yard, I saw about a half dozen spreadwings down low in the grassy strip at the middle of the road.

When I arrived at the log yard, I immediately saw two large darners having a dog fight over the open area. They flew high and away without a chance for me to photograph them.

The tall grasses covering the log yard are perfect habitat for calico pennants which usually begin to appear in early July around here. As I moved though the grasses, I stirred up a six or eight calico pennants. They were mostly yellow (i.e. females or immature males) but there were also a couple of red (mature) males present.

When I arrived at the water, the first thing I noticed were many (dozens) of male slaty skimmers mostly patrolling and skirmishing out over the open water. In the grassy areas around the dam there were small numbers of both bluets and spreadwings present. (More precise identification requires capturing individuals for examination with a hand lens; not something that I usually do.) I observed one or two female Eastern Forktails here as well.

The downstream side of the road is the beginning of a short stretch of the outlet stream with a nice sandy bottom and rapidly flowing water; perfect habitat for ebony jewelwings. There were a couple of dozen individuals of both sexes present along eight or ten feet of this stream. It seemed that every sunny spot in the area contained a perched jewelwing or was begin fought over by a pair.

On my way back home, I stopped again at the log yard and observed only calico pennants. As before, they were mostly yellow with one or two mature males present. I arrived home a bit after six o’clock. All-in-all a very nice way to spend  part of a nice summer afternoon.

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Spreadwing #1
Spreadwing #1
Calico Pennant #1
Calico Pennant #1
Calico Pennant #2
Calico Pennant #2
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Ebony Jewelwing (male)
Ebony Jewelwing (male)
Ebony Jewelwing (female)
Ebony Jewelwing (female)
Bluet
Bluet
Spreadwing #2
Spreadwing #2
Eastern Forktail (female)
Eastern Forktail (female)
Slaty Skimmer (female)
Slaty Skimmer (female)
Calico Pennant (male)
Calico Pennant (male)

 

22 June 2018

Slow Day at Loverens Mill

Yesterday I headed to the Nature Conservancy’s Loverens Mill preserve. Joan had been there earlier in the week and said that she had seen ebony jewelwings and “green-eyed dragonflies” (emeralds, perhaps?) there. The temperature was in the mid-70’s F, it was partly cloudy and essentially calm.

It was a slow ode day. I saw exactly four damselflies (and no dragonflies) in the first couple of hours I was there: two ebony jewelwings and two drab brown teneral damsels (probably bluets of some sort). The drab brown individuals were the only odes I saw during my three trips along the boardwalk in the swamp proper.

Things picked up a little bit when I walked the road. There were a few more brown damsels and, about three hours after I left the truck, I saw a single dragonfly, an immature male slaty skimmer.

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Damselfly #1
Damselfly #1
Atlantic White Cedar Bark (detail)
Atlantic White Cedar Bark (detail)
Wildflower (Indian Cucumber Root)
Wildflower (Indian Cucumber Root)
Slaty Skimmer (immature male)
Slaty Skimmer (immature male)
Ebony Jewelwing (female)
Ebony Jewelwing (female)
Damselfly #2
Damselfly #2

 

20 June 2018

Hattie Brown Road

Yesterday afternoon I took a walk up Hattie Brown Road. This old (and now gated) road leads to an old homestead but is used mainly for logging access these days. On its way up to the old foundation (which is roughly a mile from Craig Road) , the road passes a beaver pond and a fairly new (i.e. still grassy, not brushy) log yard. Both are good spots for odes.

The weather was ideal; the temperature was in the low 70s F, the skies were azure blue and there was a bit of a gusty breeze blowing.

At every sunny spot on the road there were chalk-fronted corporals, often a dozen or more in one patch of sunlight. I saw literately hundreds of individuals, in total.

In addition to the corporals, I saw a half dozen Hudsonian whitefaces, mostly maturing (i.e. turning from yellow to red) males, two or three teneral frosted whitefaces (along the edge of the beaver pond), a single four-spotted skimmer (in the woods near the old foundation) and a single spreadwing (in the beaver pond).

I also saw a single darner of some sort. It perched briefly on a stem of grass along the road by the beaver pond. However, the weight of the insect, its sail-like wings and the wind conspired against me making its photo. It was swaying back and forth so vigorously that I could not keep the critter in the viewfinder, much less focus on it!

It was also a good day for seeing non-ode animals. I saw a both tiger swallowtails and pipevine swallowtails; a few of each type. I also found a small (first joint of your thumb-sized) toad at the edge of the road in the woods and a painted turtle (a female wanting to lay eggs?) in the middle of the road a few dozen yards up hill from, and pointed away from, the beaver pond.

I also saw an indigo bunting at the edge of the log yard. It hung around long enough so that I could remove the extension tube from between camera and lens. Although with only 300 mm of magnification available, the resulting photos are merely record shots.

Lastly, I observed a young deer in a small sunny patch on a skid road leading off of the main road. If was maybe fifty feet from me, but it did not hang around long enough for me to even contemplate removing the extension tube this time.

All-in-all are very good few hours of wildlife observation!

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Chalk-fronted Corporal
Chalk-fronted Corporal
Hudsoniam Whiteface (maturing male)
Hudsoniam Whiteface (maturing male)
Very worn Swallowtail
Very worn Swallowtail
Toad
Toad
Frosted Whiteface (teneral)
Frosted Whiteface (teneral)
Painted Turtle
Painted Turtle
Four-spotted Skimmer
Four-spotted Skimmer
Spreadwing
Spreadwing

 

18 June 2018

First Time “Down Back” This Season

Sunday afternoon I donned my waders and headed down to the beaver-made pond and wet meadow at the back of our property. I spent three hours (from about 3 PM to 6 PM) there photographing odes. The temperature was in the mid 80’s F, it was mostly sunny and calm.

The most abundant odes, by far, were frosted whitefaces of both sexes; there were dozens of individuals present. They were flying over both the open water of the pond and over the meadow, I also observed two mating wheels of this species.

There were also small numbers of hudsonian whitefaces (males only) and four-spotted skimmers. I watched (and photographed) a skimmer make a dozen or more hunting forays over about 10 minutes. It always returned to the same perch between flights and it was quite successful, catching prey about two-thirds of the time.

The most abundant damselfly was the sedge sprite (mostly males). I observed roughly a dozen individuals, a few down low in the wet meadow, but most in the tall grass where the meadow meets the woods. I also saw a couple of bluets (at different times and locations); one male and one female.

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Frosted Whiteface Entangled in Spider Web
Frosted Whiteface Entangled in Spider Web
Frosted Whiteface
Frosted Whiteface
Four-spotted Skimmer with Prey
Four-spotted Skimmer with Prey
Frosted Whiteface Mating Wheel
Frosted Whiteface Mating Wheel
Sedge Sprite (male)
Sedge Sprite (male)
Hudsonian Whileface (male)
Hudsonian Whileface (male)

 

15 June 2018

Yesterday’s Photos

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

Yesterday morning I headed out to run some errands — I needed a birthday present for the boss — of course, I took my camera.

On my way home I stopped to look for odes at the boat launch on the Contoocook in Greenfield. The weather was cool and blustery and the odes were few. I did make an interesting photo of a small moth trying to stay out of the wind.

I also took a walk up the rail bed from Elmwood Junction to the bridge across Powdermill Pond. Here there were small numbers of odes about, mainly chalk-fronted corporals. The find of the day was a teneral female black-shouldered spinylegs drying out on a fern about five or six feet from the water.

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Chevy Truck
Chevy Truck
Truck Detail #1
Truck Detail #1
Truck Detail #2
Truck Detail #2
Moth
Moth
Wildflower
Wildflower
Aurora Damsel (male)
Aurora Damsel (male)
Black-shouldered Spinylegs (female)
Black-shouldered Spinylegs (female)
The Nose Knows?!
The Nose Knows?!
Rosebud
Rosebud

 

10 June 2018

Four Species in Twelve Feet

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

During my walk this morning, I stopped at a sunny spot along a forest road to see what odes were present. Sunny spots in a wooded landscape are “hot spots” that concentrate odes.

The road is roughly eight feet wide and the sunny spot was roughly twelve feet long.

I was able to photograph four species of dragonflies in the small area: hudsonian whiteface, chalk-fronted corporal, racket-tailed emerald and one that I have not identified yet*. There were small numbers (3-6) individuals of the first two species and single individuals of the last two species in this small patch of sunlight.

As it was yesterday, chalk-fronted corporals were abundant along the road with small numbers of hudsonian whitefaces also present.

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Hudsonian Whiteface
Hudsonian Whiteface
Racket-tailed Emerald
Racket-tailed Emerald
Hudsomian Whiteface (maturing male)
Hudsomian Whiteface (maturing male)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male) #1
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male) #1
Immature Male Frosted Whiteface #1
Immature Male Frosted Whiteface #1
Immature Male Frosted Whiteface #2
Immature Male Frosted Whiteface #2
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male) #2
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male) #2
Clover
Clover

* An immature male frosted whiteface. Thanks to Nick et al. from the NEOdes mailing list for the ID.


 

8 June 2018

Small Critters

This morning, after an absence of almost two weeks*, I took a walk up the unmaintained section of Brimstone Corner Road just to see what was around.

Ode-wise, the most common species were still the “early birds”… Hudsonian whitefaces (yellow individuals only) and chalk-fronted corporals (of both sexes). The numbers were small about six whitefaces and a dozen corporals in the three miles I walked.

I also observed a single brown-grey damselfly (probably a female bluet of some sort) and a female racket-tailed emerald.

There were a number of other small critters about. That is, besides the black flies and the mosquitoes (although neither of these were present in numbers large enough to be bothersome). I saw two red efts and a small (about the length of the first joint of my thumb) wood frog. Small numbers of at least three species of butterflies and one moth were also out and about.

Plant-wise, the spring ephemerals (trillium, etc.) are gone but a number of small summer flowers are in bloom or just about to open up.

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Hudsonian Whiteface
Hudsonian Whiteface
Red Eft
Red Eft
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male)
Wood Frog
Wood Frog
Chalk-fronted Corporal #2
Chalk-fronted Corporal #2
Chalk-fronted Corporal #3
Chalk-fronted Corporal #3
Butterfly #1
Butterfly #1
Wildflower
Wildflower
Moth
Moth
Butterfly #2
Butterfly #2
Racket-tailed Emerald
Racket-tailed Emerald

* I spent ten days in Maryland visiting my mother who is in a rehab facility after breaking both a wrist and a hip.


 

19 May 2018

Ode Season Progression

The ode season progresses.

The hudsonian whitefaces are maturing. Both males and females emerge with yellow and black markings. As the males mature the yellow spots turn red. Yesterday, about one in ten of the hudsonian whitefaces I saw were red or reddish.

Hudsonian whitefaces were still, by far, the most common ode around. However, small numbers of chalk-fronted corporals and brownish-grey damselflies (most probably a bluet of some sort) have appeared in the past few days.

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Hudsonian Whiteface (male)
Hudsonian Whiteface (male)
Bluet (female)
Bluet (female)
Female Bluet with Prey
Female Bluet with Prey
Chalk-fronted Corporal
Chalk-fronted Corporal

While prowling the “neighborhood” with a camera set up to make close up photos of smallish insects, I often find other things to point my lens at… other insects (especially butterflies) and flowers (of both wild and garden ilk) are most common.

Yesterday, while I was kneeling near a stone wall stalking a chalk-fronted corporal, a chipmunk poked its head out from between two stones. He was a very curious “fellow”*. Every time I moved he would duck back into the crevice, but after a few seconds he would reappear. I was close enough to photograph him without taking the extension tube from between my camera and lens.

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Wild Strawberry Flowers
Wild Strawberry Flowers
Butterfly
Butterfly
Tulip with Visitor
Tulip with Visitor
Fancy Daffodils #1
Fancy Daffodils #1
Fancy Daffodils #2
Fancy Daffodils #2
Tulip
Tulip
Curious Chipmunk
Curious Chipmunk

* I say “fellow”, but I did not see enough of this individual to actually determine its sex.

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