Photographs by Frank

21 August 2011

Fox State Forest / Spoonwood Pond

Filed under: Amphibians,Odontates — Tags: , , , , — Frank @ 12:00 PM

Last Thursday we took a hike in Fox State Forest over in Hillsborough. Our goal was a black gum swamp which is a rare habitat. There was amazing little ode activity there, just a few meadowhawks. I’m not sure if it was the time (of day or year) or what!

When we got back to the parking area we decided that we still had a few miles left in us and we headed off to find the parking area nearest Mud Pond, a very scenic kettle pond despite its name. We had an adventure getting there (the parking area) in a embarrassingly roundabout way… the map was broken… well, out of date. anyway.. really!!!

The trail to Mud Pond passes through a meadow that had large numbers of odes and there were a number of very small toads along the trail in the woods.

Here are the photos:

On Friday, we decided to exercise the upper body. We tossed the kayaks on the truck and headed for Nubanusit Lake in Hancock. Our goal was not actually Nubanusit (a large windy, motorboat-ridden) body of water, but Spoonwood Pond, a smaller (but still good-sized) body of water which is very short portage upstream.

The boat traffic on Nubanusit was actually not bad and there is a ten mph speed limit. We also saw out first bald eagle as we headed for the dam and portage. Spoonwood Pond is delightful, it is surrounded by conservation land and only one house way up on a hillside in Nelson is visible from the water. We saw a few other kayaks and one canoe (loaded with a father, young boy and camping gear) headed back from one of four Harris Center‘s campsites around the lake.

It was a windy day so odes were mainly found in sheltered areas along the shore, but they were fairly abundant. The photography was not so good… sitting in a wave-bounced, wind-blown kayak does not make photographing small critters a high yield proposition!

We also saw a second adult bald eagle, a juvenile bald eagle and an osprey. Alas, all were too far off to photograph.

The clouds were nice though as thunderstorms moved in during the latter part of the afternoon. The storms were mostly to the east so we were able to end our trip with only a few sprinkles.


14 August 2011

Pitcher Mountain

Filed under: Amphibians,Odontates,Other Insects,Wildlife — Tags: , , , — Frank @ 8:00 AM

Friday was one of those quintessential summer days in New Hampshire… low humidity, temperature in the mid-70’s and sunny. Thus, we packed a lunch and headed to Pitcher Mountain in Stoddard. The plan was for Joan to pick blueberries and me to photograph.

Things worked out well. Joan got about three quarts and I got these:


29 July 2011

July Odes

Filed under: "Camp",Odontates — Tags: , , — Frank @ 12:00 PM

Between the recent heat wave and a hectic life, I have not done much photography (or blogging) in the past few weeks.

The first set of photos were taken the weekend of 16 and 17 July. I took a very hot and buggy hike at the McCabe Forest on Saturday. On Sunday, I took a kayak out and spent the afternoon at camp.

Just back in the woods, along the Contoocook River at McCabe Forest, there were many female ebony jewelwings feasting away on the abundant mosquitoes. I did not see a single male anywhere. Along the lake at camp there was quite a variety of odes with  variable dancers seemingly the most abundant.

Here are the photos:

Yesterday evening Joan and I took a canoe ride over to camp. I was probably too late in the day for good ode watching but I did manage to find and photograph two different species of clubtails.

I was a little surprised at the lack of vesper bluets which, I think, were beginning to appear by late July in years past.  I guess that I’ll just have to go back again!

The frog (an immature bullfrog, I think) in the first photo was on the beach as we arrived.


10 December 2010

Massachusetts Wildlife

Back in September, I entered ten images in a photo contest sponsored by Massachusetts Wildlife magazine, a quarterly publication of Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.

I had pretty much forgotten about the contest and my entry. However, I was pleasantly reminded about it when I recently received email informing me that four of my photos have been given awards!

According to the email from Peter Mirick,  the editor, there were “1,137 entries received from 183 individuals living in 149 cities and towns, some as far away as Florida and Arizona.”

No large cash prizes! Just a subscription to the magazine and a few extra copies of the  issue in which the images will be published.  However, it is nice to have ones work recognized this way.

Here are the four images that were selected:

And here are the other entries:

Thanks for “wandering by”.


24 August 2010

Dana’s Vist to Camp

Filed under: "Camp",Amphibians,Odontates — Tags: , , — Frank @ 7:47 AM

My friend (and fellow photographer) Dana Lipp came to camp for a day trip about a week ago.

As we usually do when we get together, we chat about many things, even photography on occasion. We also often find time to make some photographs.

This day we haunted, as is my habit, the lake shore near camp. The lake as been dropping all summer and so by mid-August there was a bit of dry(ish) land all along the shore. Thus Dana did not get the “full effect” but I am sure that he’ll agree he got the essential felling of the experience!

It was very interesting to see Dana’s photographic take on an area where I have spent an extensive amount of time; he saw subjects that I have overlooked for months and made some very nice photographs. Dana posts his photos on Flicker and so I will just link to his “Antrim Camp” set there.

And here are a few of the photos I took that day:


30 July 2010

Late July’s Crop (of Photographs)

Filed under: "Camp",Odontates — Tags: , , — Frank @ 3:30 PM

The corn is in a Tenney’s farm stand, so it must be late July!

We’re back in Bridgewater — briefly — Katrina spent the past week with us up at camp and need to get to the airport early this morning. Thus, here are a dozen and a half images from the past couple of weeks.

The first two photos — of “damsels in distress” — were taken the same afternoon within about 50 yards of each other. Some days you just get lucky… unless you were one of the odontates!!!

The first two frog photos were taken on the beach just outside of the cabin… I got very wet getting the one of the bullfrog.

Joan spotted the wood frog while we were walking the road up on Patten Hill. I stayed behind to make photographs while Joan wandered ahead. After a bit I wander off in the direction that she had gone but Joan had wandered into the woods and I went past her. When she reemerged she headed back to where the frog had been. She could tell the exact spot even though neither the frog or I were there as there was a large patch of flattened ferns… I can’t imagine how such a small frog flattened so so many ferns!

Anyway, she eventually caught up to me and as we were walking near the top of the hill, I stopped to stalk a dragonfly… I watched it take a couple of hunting forays from a perch as I tried to get near enough for a photo… just as I was getting ready to take a photo it took off on another hunt — nothing unusual there — but instead of going back to it regular perch, it alit right on the top of my lens… with a big old horsefly in its mouth!!! Needless to say I did not get a photograph as it fly off to parts unknown as Joan approached to get a look!

The reminder of the photos were taken down in the beaver swamp near the public beach. Upon my arrival, I stepped onto the bog mat at the edge and scared a big bullfrog into the water. After sometime, I was crouched down stalking odonates when I noticed the frog reappear. I got  a couple of photographs and then I spooked him again. Off he took with a great leap and I could not find him among the grass and reeds. I went back to the odontates and some minutes later I spotted the frog again… just his eye!

Along a stretch of bog shore not more that 20 feet long, I got some nice shots of a number of species that do not hang out on the more open lake shore. Different environments (ecological niches) = different species… basic biology. Note to self:  stray away from the lake shore more often!

Here are the images:


13 July 2010

Late June and Early July at Camp

Filed under: "Camp",Odontates — Tags: , , , — Frank @ 4:34 PM

Well, we have spent the last three weeks or so (minus two days, including today) in NH.

Our days have been spent doing small projects intended to keep the place standing, some reading and thinking, some boating (sailing, rowing, canoeing and kayaking) and maybe a bit of napping, too!

In addition, I still have managed to find time to roam the lake shore in search of odontates. As many of you know, I do this by wading in the shallows… never more than five or ten feet from shore and  in water that is rarely more than knee-deep.

Some photos are taken standing up as odontates like to perch on the shrubs along the shore. Others are taken kneeling, squatting or sitting  — laying, too, but not recently — in the water.

I have, on many occasions, put the lens of the camera six or eight inches off of the water. Whatever it takes to get the “eye-to-eye” view that makes for strong photographs of other creatures!

The first gallery has photographs from before 1 July. I did not have time to upload them when we were last home.  You will note that the images are mainly of damselflies, especially variable dancers… there did not seem to be much variety this early in the season. There were a few dragonflies of the type that rarely perch; rather they are constantly on the move hunting and defending their territory. They are very hard to take photos of!

The second gallery contains photos taken between 1 July and 12 July. Now you will see a bit more variety in the odontates around the lake.

In addition, we have had  “interesting” sun sets on a few occasions and I have taken the opportunity to make some ‘cloudscapes”.

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What do you think?

Comments/critiques on any or all of the images are greatly appreciated… thanks!


3 June 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

Filed under: "Camp",Amphibians,Odontates — Tags: , — Frank @ 12:00 PM

For us, like many,  Memorial Day weekend means the beginning of summer. As is our habit, we headed north to “open up” camp for the season.

Opening up camp is not a big deal since there are no utilities involved… we evicted the mice who had taken up residence over the winter, picked up a few things, swept the place up and were ready to go! In addition to these chores on Saturday, we spent Sunday afternoon finishing up last years siding project. However, I was also able to find several good chunks of time for photography.

Although I never strayed more than 100 yards from camp, I was never lacking in subjects. Dragonflies were present in abundance, both numerically  and in the variety of species. I only saw two damselflies the entire weekend… too early in the season I guess.

One of the damselflies I saw was an ebony jewelwing which cruised by quickly along the lake shore. This was very odd as the jewelwings are most usually associated with the flowing water of small streams and rivers. I have never observed them on the lake before. It was probably a fluke but we’ll see as the summer progresses.

As is often the case, I noticed many other insects as I stalked dragonflies and a couple of photos of these are included in the set below.

There were a couple of permanent residents who were not happy with our arrival. We had noticed that the beaver house in the corner of the cove looked to be in pretty good shape and about dusk on Saturday we noticed two beavers out and about. One of them was clearly not pleased with our presence! He (or maybe she) cruised by the cabin a dozen time or more slapping its tail loudly on each pass. Of course, I wanted a photo of the action and ended up having Joan wave a bright yellow life jacket when the beaver was in a good spot photographically just to get a tail slap. The light was very low but here is an OK image of a beaver tail and big splash.

Beaver Tail Slap

The permanent residents of the amphibious kind were also present… we saw both a green frog and a couple of northern leopard frogs around the rocks on the beach.

At mid-afternoon on Monday we had two visitor of the avian persuasion… a loon and a great blue heron. The loon fished quite contentedly and quite nearby for sometime; probably kept in the cove by the boat activity out on the main part of the lake. The heron fished briefly on both sides of the cove before taking off again. The harsh mid-day light did not make for good photographs of either one.

Here are the weekend’s photographs…

I’m still working on identifying most of the dragonflies… this is not one of my strong points!


29 May 2010

East Head Pond

Filed under: Birds,Southeastern MA,Wildlife — Tags: , , , , , — Frank @ 12:00 PM

On Sat (22 May 2010) afternoon, we put the kayaks in the water for the first time this season… our destination was East Head Pond in Myles Standish State Forest (Carver and Plymouth, MA). We chose this spot based on its description  in the AMC Quiet Water Guide for Massachusetts. This series of guide books (that cover much of the northeast) is highly recommended. Of course, I took the camera and the long lens and we were off to see what could be found!

We were amply rewarded. Seeing, over the course of a few hours,  painted turtles, frogs and many small birds… no surprise there!  We also caught an osprey fishing… watching it dive five times (at various distances) before it came up with a fish.

We spent some quality time with a mother mallard and her brood as they made their way along the shoreline eating like mad. At one point mom and all of the ducklings stopped and stood at attention. The reason… an owl passing by along the shore at low altitude. One has to imagine that the owl had a ducking dinner in mind!

The only reason I know about the owl, is that Joan told me about it. She watched the scene unfold from twenty or so feet away. Of course, I saw the ducks reaction through the lens. But, I was sitting (with camera to eye) within a dozen feet of both the ducks and the owl and I never heard a thing… the owl went by and never made a sound.

At the very end of the day, as the light was fading, we passed though a boggy area that had a number of pitcher plants growing in it…  some of which were in bloom… not something you see every day!

Here are the day’s photos:


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