Photographs by Frank

28 June 2022

Monhegan Island – Flora and Fauna

Filed under: Birds,Mammals,wildflowers,Wildlife — Tags: , , — Frank @ 11:00 AM

Although our trip to Monhegan Island was mostly about the landscape, I did manage to make a few photographs of the non-human inhabitants of the island even though I did not have a long lens* with me.

There were plenty of birds on the island including, according to Merlin, many nesting warblers along with nesting gulls and cormorants. Common Eiders were also plentiful out past the surf.

The mallards on Ice Pond are clearly habituated to humans. As soon as I showed up on the small beach, every mallard on the pond made a beeline for me expecting a hand out.

There was also a well habituated Herring Gull present atop White Head both times we visited there. I assume that it was used to folks feeding it scraps of their snacks/lunch.

The photos of the seals and the cormorant colony were made when we took an afternoon boat ride around the island… it takes all of thirty minutes to circumnavigate Monhegan Island!

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Waxwings
Waxwings
Gull Nest & Chicks
Gull Nest & Chicks
Ice Pond Mallard (in molt)
Ice Pond Mallard (in molt)
Harbor Seals (Monhegan Island)
Harbor Seals (Monhegan Island)
Harbor Seal in Water (Monhegan Island)
Harbor Seal in Water (Monhegan Island)
Coromorant Nesting Colony
Coromorant Nesting Colony
Gull #1
Gull #1
Gull #2
Gull #2
Mallard in Molt (Monhegan Harbor)
Mallard in Molt (Monhegan Harbor)

Late June is also a good time for wildflowers on Monhegan. The beach roses were in full bloom as were many other flowers both large and small.

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Wildflower
Wildflower
Blueflag Lily
Blueflag Lily
Monhegan Flora #1
Monhegan Flora #1
Monhegan Flora #2
Monhegan Flora #2
Beach Rose #1
Beach Rose #1
Beach Rose #2
Beach Rose #2
Beach Rose #3
Beach Rose #3
Monhegan Flora #5
Monhegan Flora #5
Monhegan Flora #3
Monhegan Flora #3
Monhegan Flora #4
Monhegan Flora #4

* I had my 70-200 mm zoom and a 1.7x teleconverter.

17 June 2022

Chick Vigil (Thursday Edition)

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 9:13 PM

I know that today is Friday… but sometimes things get busy!!

Late Wednesday evening we had multiple reports of a long, loud territorial spat between two loons. Thus, we were a little apprehensive about what we would find when we headed out for a look early Thursday morning.

However, our fears were quickly put to rest as we observed all four loons (two adults and two chicks) on the main part of the lake to the east of the town beach. The birds were behaving normally… adults diving, chicks bobbing and fresh fish served up.

The loon family was too far away for decent photographs, so this post it text only. Sorry about that!

15 June 2022

Chick Vigil (Wednesday Edition)

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , , — Frank @ 6:00 PM

We have two chicks!!!

I arrived at the lake this morning at a few minutes after nine and watched the nest for three hours. It was immediately obvious that there was a chick on the nest. Every so often the adult would lift its right wing and I could see movement under the wing (see the video below, for an example).

At one point the chick moved around in front of the adult and headed into the water. It spent a few minutes in the water (hidden from my view by the emergent vegetation) before climbing back up on the nest and the protection of the adults wing. The adult never left the nest during the three hour I watched.

Two pairs of walkers happened by while I was loon sitting and both mentioned that there was a loon with a chick on the main part of the lake over by the road. The loon, I could believe*, but I was skeptical about the chick. After all, I was watching a chick and an adult sitting on the nest which surely still had the second (unhatched) egg… right?

WRONG!!!

Shortly after noon, I decided that I had enough excitement for the day and headed for the truck. However, before packing things away, I decided to go see what was up with the second loon. (I had heard it call twice while watching the nest.) Much to my surprise there it was, over by the road, accompanied by a chick!

My guess is that one adult headed out with the firstborn chick while the second adult waits for the newly hatched chick to strengthen a bit at the nest.

I ran back to the truck for the camera to document the pair in the harsh, directly overhead, noontime sun.

I am anxious to see what tomorrow brings.

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Adult Loon on Nest (upon arrival)
Adult Loon on Nest (upon arrival)
Adult Loon with Wing Raised, Chick Under Wing
Adult Loon with Wing Raised, Chick Under Wing
Chick Remounting the Nest
Chick Remounting the Nest
Settling Back In (after swim)
Settling Back In (after swim)
Second Adult and First Chick #1
Second Adult and First Chick #1
Second Adult and First Chick #2
Second Adult and First Chick #2

Video of loon on nest with chick under wing

* Although one has to be careful, a few years ago (during the summer we had our first loon nest on Gregg Lake in living memory) I had a fellow tell me that there had been nesting loons on the lake for a number of years and he had seen them out on the lake with five or six babies! I am pretty sure he had mistaken Canada geese for Loons.

14 June 2022

Chick Vigil (Tuesday Edition)

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 12:34 PM

We have a chick!!!!

This morning (Tuesday, 14 June 2022) Joan and I arrived at the lake shortly after nine. An adult loon was sitting on the nest, but we immediately knew that something was up. The adult was very fidgety with their right wing moving about. Sure enough, as soon as we got our optics (Joan’s spotting scope and my camera) set up we could see a small brown lump under the partial upraised wing of the adult (see the first photo below, look very carefully)… a chick!

Shortly after we arrived both the adult and the chick left the nest and spent most of the next hour in the water. They never strayed more than a few feet from the nest. Joan, with a better angle and more magnification was able to see the second egg still in the nest unhatched. (It is not unusual for two nest mates to hatch a day or two apart).

The chick spent the majority of its time in the water during the hour we observed them. However, the chick climbed up under the adults wing and onto its back twice. The adult (with chick aboard) did mount the nest and settle in for a brief interval before entering the water again.

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First Sign of Loon Chick
First Sign of Loon Chick
Adult Loon and Chick #1
Adult Loon and Chick #1
Adult Loon and Chick #2
Adult Loon and Chick #2
Loon Turning Egg
Loon Turning Egg
Loon Examining Chick
Loon Examining Chick
Adult Loon and Chick #3
Adult Loon and Chick #3
'All Aboard!'
'All Aboard!'
Adult Loon and Chick #4
Adult Loon and Chick #4

13 June 2022

Chick Vigil

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

By our calculus, there should be loon chicks arriving this week. In order not to miss this crucial event, we are planning to head down to the lake each morning to see what is happening.

This morning we arrived at the lake’s edge just after ten and spent an hour observing. When we got out of the truck we were excited to see a loon in the water near the nest, suggesting that maybe eggs had hatched. False alarm… by the time we walked the couple of hundred feet to our usual observation spot, the loon was back sitting on the nest.

Twice in the next hour, the loon stood up, examined (rolled?) the eggs and sat back down. Other than that the only action was the usual wary loon-on-a-nest carefully watching its surroundings.

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Loon On Nest #1
Loon On Nest #1
"First Shift"
Loon On Nest #2
Loon On Nest #2
"Second Shift"
Loon On Nest #3
Loon On Nest #3

12 June 2022

Around the Yard on a Sunday Afternoon

This afternoon I took a short stroll around the yard just to see what was up.

There were a few odes about and a number of swallowtails nectaring on Joan’s garden flowers. Speaking of garden flowers, the poppies have really ‘popped’ in the last several days.

The frog is a resident of the small pool I built this spring*, hoping to attract wildlife (especially birds) to photograph without attracting the local bears (as would putting out seed for the birds). I have yet to find the time to ‘stake out’ the pool and see what, if any, birds come by but this frog moved in within a few days of my filling the pool with water.

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American Emerald (male)
American Emerald (male)
Swallowtail Nectaring
Swallowtail Nectaring
Whiteface (sp? (female)
Whiteface (sp? (female)
Our Resident Frog
Our Resident Frog
Chalk-fronted Corporal (female)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (female)
Aurora Damsels (tandem pair)
Aurora Damsels (tandem pair)
Poppy Bud
Poppy Bud
Poppy
Poppy

* The wooden handles on our wheelbarrow rotted out and were unrepairable. Of course the plastic tub was still in good shape so I disassembled the wheelbarrow and plugged the holes in the tub where the bolts pierced it. I then buried the tub in the ground and added some strategic rocks to cover the exposed plastic of the tub. Joan added some plants to further naturalize the setting and now we have a small ‘water feature’ out near the greenhouse.

8 June 2022

Loon Sitting

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 8:01 PM

Late yesterday afternoon, I headed down to the lake to observe the loon nest. There was not a lot of action.

I watched for an hour and three-quarters. In that time the individual on the nest shifted position quickly twice. I am not sure they even turned the eggs.

At about ninety minutes, I got up to stretched my legs and saw a second loon off the end of the point on the main part of the lake. This gave me hope that they might do a switch so I sat back down and waited another fifteen minutes before I decided that dinner was in order.

All told, I made about sixty exposures, mostly to keep myself entertained, not because there was great action!*

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Loon on Nest (with 2x teleconverter)
Loon on Nest (with 2x teleconverter)
Loon Shifting Position on Nest (Maybe Turning Eggs)
Loon Shifting Position on Nest (Maybe Turning Eggs)
Loon on Nest
Loon on Nest

I also experimented with video, something I rarely do. Here is a three minute clip that really gives you a feel for the ‘excitement’ of loon watching!

Try to stay awake… I did for more than an hour and a half!!!!

* WARNING – photographer talk ahead! The first few exposures yesterday afternoon were made using with a 2x teleconverter (a different one from the one I used several days ago). There is certainly some degradation in the images made with the converter, although I am not sure that it is evident in the small files I post here. I am pretty convinced that I will get better results with deeper crops (to get similar fields of view) of the files made without the converter than I will using the converter. As you would expect, since it is a 2x converter, the file sizes differ by a factor of two as well.

I’ll need to make a few prints before making a final decision.

6 June 2022

Dragonflies, No Damsels

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 4:15 PM

Early yesterday afternoon I took a walk up the unmaintained section of Brimstone Corner Road with the ode rig in hand. Well, maybe “walk” is the wrong term… “crawl” or “stroll” is probably a better term. It took me roughly two hours to cover maybe two-thirds of a mile. I stopped at every sunny spot along the road looking for odes. I got my aerobic exercise on the return trip as I only took about ten minutes to get back home when I decided to turn around. In the late afternoon, I again succumbed to the siren call of the myriad of odes that were about and roamed the yard for an additional hour.

The temperature was in the upper 60s F and it was breezy. The skies were partly cloudy with lots of fast moving, puffy summer-time clouds.

The most common species present, by far, were chalk-fronted corporals. Every sunny spot on the road had six or more individuals sunning themselves. Next most common were the whitefaces, probably Hudsonian whitefaces, but telling the various whiteface species apart (especially the females) without netting them is beyond my capability. All of the rest of the species I saw (and photographed) were represented by much smaller numbers, in most cases I saw only one or two individuals.

I observed (but did not photograph) only two damselflies the entire time I was out. A female aurora damsel in the early afternoon and a female bluet in the yard. My guess is that it was too windy for the relatively weak flying damsels and that they were all hunkered down as odes do in unsuitable (to them) weather.

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American Emerald (male)?
American Emerald (male)?
Whiteface sp? (female) #1
Whiteface sp? (female) #1
Whiteface sp? (female) #2
Whiteface sp? (female) #2
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male) with Prey #1
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male) with Prey #1
Spangled Skimmer (female)
Spangled Skimmer (female)
Whiteface sp? (female) #3
Whiteface sp? (female) #3
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male) #1
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male) #1
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male) with Prey #2
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male) with Prey #2
Whiteface sp? (female) with Prey
Whiteface sp? (female) with Prey
Unicorn Clubtail (?)
Unicorn Clubtail (?)
Hudsonian Whiteface (male)
Hudsonian Whiteface (male)
Stream Cruiser (female)
Stream Cruiser (female)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male) #2
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male) #2
Common Whitetail female)
Common Whitetail female)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male) #3
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male) #3
Chalk-fronted Corporal (female)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (female)
Common Whitetail (imm. male) #1
Common Whitetail (imm. male) #1
Common Whitetail (imm. male) #2
Common Whitetail (imm. male) #2

31 May 2022

Yard Odes at the End of May

Early this afternoon, I noticed numerous dragonflies sunning themselves on our deck. Thus stimulated, I headed out with the camera and made a quick circuit of the yard to see what I could find.

The weather was hot (mid 80s F) and the skies mostly sunny.

Whitefaces, probably Hudsonian Whitefaces, were far the most common ode present. There were a few female chalk-fronted corporals present as well. I also observed a single male Beaverpond Baskettail, an uncommon find.

At one point, while chasing whitefaces, I got briefly distracted by the dozen or so Lady Slippers that are blooming at the edge of our yard. I could not resist adding to the already large number of photos of these show flowers that I have made over the years!

MId-afternoon, Joan called my attention to a damselfly acting strangely on our front steps. It was moving about weakly but clearly could not fly. The photo I made clearly shows why. It was injured. Its head was at a very odd angle to its torso. I made a couple of exposures and then watched for another minute or two until it fell off the steps and into the flower bed.

Late afternoon, while puttering around the yard, I noticed a few damselflies in the patch of ferns on the slope below the garden. Always willing to be distracted by odes, I went a got my camera. There were small numbers of Eastern Forktails (of both sexes) and Sedge Sprites (between my eye and the dim light, it was had to discern sexes) present. Females of both species posed nicely for me.

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Whiteface (sp?) (female)
Whiteface (sp?) (female)
Whiteface (sp?) (female)
Whiteface (sp?) (female)
Chalk0fronted Corporal (female)
Chalk0fronted Corporal (female)
Beaverpond Clubtail (male)
Beaverpond Clubtail (male)
Whiteface Peek-a-boo
Whiteface Peek-a-boo
Whiteface sp? (female)
Whiteface sp? (female)
Hudsonian Whiteface (imm. male)
Hudsonian Whiteface (imm. male)
Lady Slipper
Lady Slipper
Injured Aurora Damsel (male)
Injured Aurora Damsel (male)
Eastern Forktail (female)
Eastern Forktail (female)
Sedge (?) Sprite (female)
Sedge (?) Sprite (female)

29 May 2022

Ashuelot River Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Spring,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 11:55 PM

This afternoon I spent several hours looking for odes (dragonflies and damselflies) along the Ashuelot River in Surry, NH. I parked at the Dort Road access point and when I crossed the foot bridge I headed upstream. Although there were some folks enjoying the sun and the water near the bridge, once I walked a few yards upstream I had the river to myself .

The temperature was in the mid 70s F and the skies were mostly cloudy. I covered about three quarters of a mile of river covering both the back channels of the braided section as well as the main channel.

Joan had spent time in this area about a week ago doing a botanical survey. I was interested in this area because she said that the river was swift flowing with a rocky bottom and that she had seen many odes while looking at the flora.

Swift flowing, rocky bottom rivers are not places (ecological niches) I routinely visit. Thus, I was hoping to find species that I rarely see. I was not disappointed.

The most common ode I saw was the Aurora Damsel. They were distributed all along the section of the river I explored (both along the main channel and the back channels) wherever there were patches of grass in full sunlight. Interestingly, I saw only males.

The next most common species I saw were Superb Jewelwings, a new species for me. These were localized to two widely separated sites along the main channel. I observed between six and twelve individuals at each site. The large majority of individuals were female.

I also saw several male Eastern Forktails and three dragonflies, none of which I was able to photograph or identify. Two of the dragonflies were those frustrating types that are in more-or-less continuous flight patrolling territories along the bank of the river.

The third dragonfly I observed was a newly emerged individual on a rock in the middle of one of the secondary channels. I first noticed this individual by picking up an odd glint of light on a rock. A quick look with my binoculars confirmed that the glint was due to the shiny wings of a teneral dragonfly* and several inches away was an exuvia (the empty larval exoskeleton).

Moving cautiously, I attempted to get in position to photograph this insect. However, this was to no avail. Before I could get close enough for even an “insurance shot” for identification this individual fluttered away in typical teneral flight. Alas, I was left with only the exuvia to photograph.

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Superb Jewelwing (female)
Superb Jewelwing (female)
Superb Jewelwing (female)
Superb Jewelwing (female)
Aurora Damsel (male)
Aurora Damsel (male)
Aurora Damsel (male)
Aurora Damsel (male)
Eastern Forktail (male)
Eastern Forktail (male)
Dragonfly Exuvia
Dragonfly Exuvia

* Odes (i.e. dragonflies and damselflies) begin life as eggs deposited in a body of water. The eggs develop into larva which grow and develop as aquatic insects. As the water warms in spring and early summer, the larva crawl from the water and the adult insect emerges from the larva. The newly emerged adult is referred to as teneral. In the teneral state (with wet wings and soft bodies) these insects are very susceptible predation. As soon as their wings are dry enough, a teneral individual flies to a more protected place to continue maturing. This teneral flight, being weak and slow, is very un-dragonfly like.

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