Photographs by Frank

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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16 June 2013

Two Days of Ode-ing

Today was not a particular good day for ode-ing… it was overcast and cool.

Not that I minded… I spent four or five hours over the previous two days swamp stomping  in my new summer-weight (i.e. non-neoprene) waders. Previously, I had made do with “green wellies” which often got flooded if I ventured a little too deep or if I squatted down in the water. Chest-waders have neither problem and therefore make the life of a swamp stomper much nicer!

Here are the results (including a few “non-ode” species):

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31 August 2012

Another Afternoon at the Beaver Swamp

Filed under: Amphibians,Odontates,Other Insects,wildflowers — Tags: , , , — Frank @ 6:00 PM

As summer draws rapidly to a close, I feel the urge to wander in wetlands more strongly than earlier in the season. Yesterday Joan and I both headed down to the beaver swamp. She to work on her skills at identifying and documenting wildflowers and I to do my usual thing!

Joan is on a hunt for New England Asters… don’t ask why! Thus far I have lead her to White Wood Asters (a few days ago) and New York Asters (yesterday)… so the hunt continues!

We headed out a bit earlier that I usually do (around 2:30 instead of more toward 4:00). I was hoping that maybe there would be a bit more activity earlier in the afternoon than there had been on my previous excursions. I was willing to sacrifice good light for photographic opportunity. I was not disappointed! Of course we’ll never know if it was the hour or the luck of the draw!

The green frog was sitting in the middle of the beaver pond maybe five or six feet from where I sat on the bank when I noticed it; I had been sitting in the same spot for five or ten minutes when I noticed it. I do not know if had been there all of the time or if had appeared just before I saw it…. so much for the observant nature photographer! Any way, wWe watched each other for fifteen or twenty minutes. It was very unconcerned about my presence.

Presumably, it was hoping to catch a passing insect. Of course, I was hoping to photograph it catching an insect. It was much more patient that I as it was still sitting there when I arose and moved on.

The toad on the other hand was rather jumpy! It is quite amazing that a 1.5 inch long creature can end up two or three feet away in a single bound. I stalked this “fellow” for a couple of leaps, at which point it must have decided to try relying on its camouflage. When I finally found it again, it kept still and I was able to shoot a number of frames.

The highlight of the afternoon was a very brief glimpse  of a large darner ovipositing. Dragonflies are very wary when laying eggs. After I spied this individual, I turned slowly and carefully to get the two frames I did. As soon as I made a larger movement in an attempt to get a better angle off she went! The same was true for the tandem pair of meadow hawks… I made just two exposures before they were off again.

Hunting meadowhawks are another story… both of these females kept making brief hunting forays returning to the same perch after each foray. As usual they were very unconcerned by my presence and I was able to slowly move closer and get the best angle possible. Whatever they were hunting must have been small as I never either of them with prey… or maybe they were not very successful hunters!

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24 August 2011

A Hike Up Skatutakee and Thumb Mountains

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

Yesterday was another prototypical New Hampshire summer day… low humidity and the temperature was just about 70 degrees.  We  spent the afternoon hiking up Skatutakee and Thumb Mountains on trails maintained by the Harris Center in Hancock. The summits of both peaks afford nice views of the north face of Mount Monadnock.

We encountered two different species of damselflies in the woods on the way up and the usual darners which frequent the peaks were found on both summits. We also watched two hawks soaring over the summit of Skatutakee while we ate our lunch.

Near the bottom of the Thumbs Down trail we encountered a porcupine on the ground in a lumbered area and a short time later we flushed a grouse-like bird from the underbrush along the edge of the same clearing. No photos of either animal though; both were quicker than yours truly!

We also encountered a rather large toad at the edge of an old skid road just before the Thumbs Down Trail becomes a real trail again. This “fellow” was well hidden under some ferns but I managed to find “windows” that afforded shots of both his left and right profiles. That done, I’m not sure that one could say that he has a “good side”!

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28 August 2010

The End of August

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

Well… here it is, the end of August and we are back home trying to get our heads wrapped around the idea of going back to work! (I know we won’t get much sympathy from those who did work all or most of the summer!)

I quipped to a number of people over the last few weeks that we we spent the summer practicing for retirement. Of course, I also had to say that we seemed to be getting pretty good at it and thus maybe we should try the real thing. Alas, the reality of finances won’t allow for that quite yet.

Peak time for odontates is the month of July… by the time the end of August rolls around the numbers of dragonflies and damselflies are way down from the peak. Also, having spent the past six or seven weeks actively photographing the critters adds a feeling that there is not much too see.

These factors, and having the weather a bit cooler, lead us to spend a few days taking some hikes around the area… we revisited places that we had not seen in some years and saw some new spots that were not lake-side habitat. We also found some new photographic subjects.

We spent time in the area between Gregg Lake and Willard Pond on two days and visited the McCabe Forest (a Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests reservation along the Contoocook River in Antrim.) I also spent an hour or so one afternoon in the fields at the Bass Farm found a couple of cooperative butterflies to photograph.

On the ledges atop Goodhue Hill, one sunny early afternoon, we watched dozens of darners (one family of large dragonflies) feasting on insects that we could not see. They were in constant flight… which explains why I have no photographs! (Note to Joan: I can get photos of dragonflies in flight… it will just require a bit of new equipment!!!)

Anyway, here are a half dozen photos from these hikes:

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