Photographs by Frank

5 July 2021

Yard Odes

Late this afternoon, I spent two hours roaming the yard looking for odes. It was mostly sunny and the temperature was in the low 70s. I was interested to see what odes would be out and about after a number of cool, rainy days.

I headed back inside a few minutes before seven. I had lost the light at ground level and the mosquitoes were making their evening appearance.

The number of odes were small but their was a nice variety of species present. The most common dragonfly present was the spangled skimmer. I saw roughly half a dozen individuals; all female. The most common damselfly was had a metallic green abdomen. They were reminiscent of the sprites, but I don’t think that that is what they are. Again, I saw roughly a half dozen. For all of the other species, I saw only single individuals.

[scrollGallery id=795 – autoscroll = false width = 600 height = 600 useCaptions = true]

24 May 2021

Ode Progression

It is hard to believe that it has been more than a week since my last ode post… where does the time go?!

A week ago, the predominate ode in our yard was the Hudsonian Whiteface. There were also small numbers of chalk-fronted corporals present. This afternoon, with the temperature about 70 deg. F, the skies mostly sunny and a bit of a breeze blowing, the most common odes in the yard were the chalk-fronted corporals (there were dozens, of both sexes), next most common were frosted whitefaces (again, dozens, of both sexes, were present).

Hudsonian whitefaces were essentially absent. I saw one or two. Presumably they have headed back to water where they will mate and lay eggs. I’ll have to find the time to go look!

Additionally, there a single individual of another species present (see the third photograph, below). I know that I have seen this species before, but even with a quick look through the book, I could not identify it… I’m rusty, I guess!

I have yet to see a damselfly this season. Although Joan says that she has see a few while she has been working in the garden.

[scrollGallery id=780 – autoscroll = false width = 600 height = 600 useCaptions = true]

16 May 2021

First Odes of the Season (2021)

Yesterday, I saw my first dragonfly of the season; a Hudsonian Whiteface perched on the outside of our kitchen window. I actually made a photograph of it, but I’ll spare you having to see it!

This afternoon (with the temperature around 70 deg. F and partly cloudy skies), Hudsonian Whitefaces were common in the yard. Both females (yellow, thick abdomens) and immature males (yellow, relatively thin abdomens; the yellow will turn red as they mature) were present. The were more than a dozen individuals, all actively feeding and perching low to the ground for short periods while they devoured their prey. I also saw (and photographed a single immature male Chalk-fronted Corporal.

[scrollGallery id=776 – autoscroll = false width = 600 height = 600 useCaptions = true]

30 August 2020

Late Season Odes — Opportunities

This morning. as I headed out the door to go for a walk, I noticed a meadowhawk perched on a flower just outside the porch door. I successfully resisted the urge to get my camera and headed out for the walk.

Shortly after my return home, I was sitting in my chair rehydrating when I hear Joan call from out in the flower bed where she was working “Perched Darner! Perched Darner!”. As quick as I could I headed out the door, camera in hand but as is usual with darners (they do not stand still for long… ever) the perched individual was long gone.

It turns out that as Joan worked on cleaning up the flower bed she was disturbing lots of small insects and creating her own mini-feeding swarm in the process. There were at least there or four darners making regular passes over the beds and carefully veering around us as we stood there. In addition to the darners, there were also a number of autumn meadowhawks also taking advantage of the bounty.

Darners are very frustrating to photograph. They spend the large majority of their time in flight; even eating most prey while on the wing. Every once in a while, when one does perch, it is their habit to hang vertically from a branch or twig quite near the trunk of whatever plant they chose. (They are big and heavy as odes go and prefer good sturdy shrubs for perching.) This often makes for very cluttered photos.

In all today, I saw three perched darners. The first was in such deep shadow in a rhododendron that the photos are not worth showing. I never got close enough to the second to even make a photo. However, I was able to get a pretty typical photo of the third darner. I was able to make exactly three exposures before it took flight again.

Meadowhawks, on the other hand, are pretty easy to photograph. They perch frequently and often on nice isolated stalks of vegetation.

There were plenty (a few dozen) of meadowhawks around both the flower bed where Joan was working and at other places in the yard. Most were mature males but there were a few immature males and females in the mix.

[scrollGallery id=726 – autoscroll = false width = 600 height = 600 useCaptions = true]

27 July 2019

Another Short Walk

This afternoon (about three) I took a walk up the unmaintained portion of Brimstone Corner Road. I wanted to see what was up with the logging operation that has been going on for the last several weeks. The good news is it looks like the loggers are essentially finished. Therefore, shortly, serenity will again reign in the neighborhood.

It was a perfect mid-summer day. It was sunny and the temperature was right around 80 degrees F.

Most of the road is well shaded but I did find some dragonflies in the sunny patches and in clearings near the road.. I did not see any damselflies.

The most common ode were male calico pennants; I saw three individuals, all immature males) in one clearing. In addition, I saw single specimens of the following species: a female meadowhawk (exact species not know), a female Halloween pennant, a female blue dasher, a male common whitetail and a male spangled skimmer. I was unable to make photos of the last two of these.

[scrollGallery id=663 – autoscroll = false width = 600 height = 600 useCaptions = true]

26 July 2019

A Slow Day “Down Back”

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,The "New" Yard & Environs,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 10:30 PM

This afternoon (at about four) I donned my waders and headed “down back”. It is a short (maybe a quarter of a mile) walk to the beaver made wetland complex at the back of our property.

The weather was mostly sunny and the temperature was right around 80 degrees. I spent about seventy five minutes watching the wildlife.

The beavers have been busy as the water level in the wet meadow is as high as I have ever seen it. Many of my usual spots: for hunkering down along the pond are now part of the pond!

As seems to be the case all over this season, the number of odes were small. There were darners flying over the vegetation in the wet meadow. They are impossible to enumerate, identify or photograph as they are in constant motion. I also observed a single male meadow hawk at the woodland/wetland interface. It did not stick around long enough for a photo.

The most common odes present were the sprites. I probably saw at least a couple of dozen. Both sedge sprites and sphagnum sprites were present. The latter were more common. Most of the individuals I saw were male but females were present. I saw (but did not photograph) a single pair of sprites flying in tandem. I did not see any damselflies other than sprites,

Sprites are very difficult to photograph. They are the smallest ode we have in the area; about one inch long and very slight of build. They also prefer to stay low in the emergent vegetation. I rarely see a sprite more than six inches off the water.

However, if one stakes out a small open spot and applies some patience a sprite or two are likely to show up. With a little luck you can then find a window in the grasses with a clear view and make a photograph before the critter moves on. The challenge is all part of the fun!

Lastly, as one would expect for the end of July the blue flag irises are done for the year. I did, however, see a number of their fruits (seed pods?). The equally showy but much smaller (the flowers are only about an inch long and their stalks rarely rise higher than six inches) rose pagonias were in full bloom. I saw five or six patches containing from a single flower to more than a dozen.

[scrollGallery id=662 – autoscroll = false width = 600 height = 600 useCaptions = true]

24 June 2019

More Experiments

Filed under: Garden Flowers,Summer,The "New" Yard & Environs — Tags: — Frank @ 11:00 PM

I have a shoe box full of random lenses mostly salvaged from various devices over the years. This afternoon, I took the usual lens out of the camera obscura and tested each lens from my box by holding it up to the opening in the box. Most of the lenses resulted in horribly out of focus images and will require more work — making lens tubes to fit them, etc. — to see if they can be focused on the ground glass.

However one lens, a single convex lens (flat on one side and convex on the other), in a convenient aluminum frame threw a decent image when held against the opening. I taped this lens in place and headed out to the yard to experiment. I did not stay out too long as the mosquitoes were fierce.

[scrollGallery id=656 – autoscroll = false width = 600 height = 600 useCaptions = true]

23 June 2019

Experiments with Slits

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Summer,The "New" Yard & Environs — Tags: — Frank @ 7:30 PM

We had nine cords of wood delivered on Thursday. Thus, these days, I spend my mornings stacking firewood. I am trying to do about a cord each day.

Afternoons, however, are for experiments.

These photos were made by replacing the lens in my camera obscura with a slit made by placing two razor blades very close together. The slit acts similarly to a pinhole in forming an image, except that the image is stretched out along the length of the slit. I have placed the slit on the camera (with tape, nothing fancy!) at a roughly forty-five degree angle.

I took my experiment for a walk around the yard just to “get a feel” of what it might do,

The viewfinder of the digital camera is very dim; I can often see only a couple of the brightest spots in the scene. Thus framing is imprecise.

By cranking up the ISO as high as it goes (3200 on my little Nikon 1 V1), I can get a reasonable shutter speed; 1/4th to 1/20 of a second. I deal with the horrible noise this causes in the computer, but since nothing is really sharp to begin with heavy noise reduction seems to work fine.

I will be as interested as anyone else to see where this experiment leads!

[scrollGallery id=655 – autoscroll = false width = 600 height = 600 useCaptions = true]

20 June 2019

A Walk and Backyard Birds

Can you tell it is a rainy day here in Antrim? Must be, it is a three blog post day!

Yesterday was a hot (for NH) and sticky day. The temperature was in the upper seventies and it was mostly cloudy. The rain held off until early evening.

I took a walk up Brimstone Corner Road with the camera rigged for odes. There was not much activity and the only species I saw were chalk-fronted corporals. I saw roughly two dozen individuals in the roughly three miles I walked.

In one old log yard, I found three different wildflowers all within about a six foot radius. I barely had to move between photographs!

[scrollGallery id=652 – autoscroll = false width = 600 height = 600 useCaptions = true]

When I got home from the walk, I decided to set up the camera rigged for birds on the deck. It was pointed towards the feeders. All the usual suspects were present. Finches both gold and purple as well as downy woodpeckers have been most abundant recently.

Rose-breasted grosbeaks are also common. On other days I have seen as many as three individuals on the feeders simultaneously. They were present yesterday, but I did not get any photos as they have the annoying habit of flying directly to the feeders with out stopping at one of the abundant perches available. And, as I am wont to say one should not make photos of birds on bird feeders unless one is trying to sell bird feeders!

Every once in a while, a we get other woodpeckers. Hairy woodpeckers being next most common and very occasionally a red-bellied. We hear pileated woodpeckers in the woods regularly but have never seen one on or even near the feeders.

Red-winged blackbirds are also infrequent visitors to our feeders. They are common in the wetland “down back” (about a quarter mile away) but are rare in our yard tucked away in the woods.

[scrollGallery id=651 – autoscroll = false width = 600 height = 600 useCaptions = true]

One Hour, Two Hundred Feet — Five Species

Monday (17 May) afternoon, I spent about an hour roaming the neighborhood with the camera rigged for odes (300 mm lens and an extension tube). I never went farther than about 200 feet from the house.

Odes were abundant on this warm sunny afternoon. I found five species… four dragonflies and a single damselfly.

[scrollGallery id=650 – autoscroll = false width = 600 height = 600 useCaptions = true]

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress