Yesterday afternoon, Joan and I put our kayaks in the water at Rye Pond (situated at the juncture of Stoddard, Antrim and Nelson).
This wetland is part of the Virginia Baker Natural Area of the Harris Center. With long frontage on Route 123, it is not the quietest of spots but it definitely worth repeated visits. We try to get there at least one or two times a year during ode season. The pond is quite shallow and contains a significant amount of floating bog that supports numerous pitcher plants and sundew. However, we were too late this year for the peak of the pitcher plant flowering.
There are also generally numerous odes and we were not disappointed this trip.
The most numerous species of ode present were the swamp spreadwings and the slaty skimmers. We saw numerous ovipositing pairs of both species. The spreadwings oviposit in tandem, with the male still grasping the female. The slaty skimmers oviposit with the male hovering near by while the female repeatedly dips her abdomen in the water. Both strategies are intended to keep other males from usurping the already-mated female.
The real highlight of the afternoon were the numerous scarlet bluets out on the lily pads, well away from the shore. The large majority were male but I did see two (and manage to photograph one) female. This is the only place that I have seen this species.
I also saw one or two male orange bluets. The photo of this species I present is not perfect (the individual is facing away from the camera and I would have liked a bit more depth of field). However, some times one just has to make do with less than perfect.
I show this photo because of the mass of mites on the abdomen. Mites (small, red ones) are fairly common on adult odes and are particularly abundant on odes (of many species) in Rye Pond. The large purplish mites on this individual are a first for me.
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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”.
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: