Photographs by Frank

18 June 2015

Up North

Filed under: Amphibians,Mammals,Odontates,Other Insects,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , , , , — Frank @ 5:00 PM

Monday afternoon, we strapped the kayaks to the roof of the car, hitched up the camper, and headed north. We arrived at Lake Francis State Park (in Pittsburg, NH) at supper time.

Pittsburg is as far north as you can go in New Hampshire… it is so far north that Canada lies to the west as well to the north!

On Tuesday morning we put the kayaks in the water at the East Inlet (to the Second Connecticut Lake) and paddled as far up this watershed as we could go. We were finally stopped by the willow thicket overhanging the narrow and fast moving channel.

About a noon time the predicted rain showers began. We were soaked to the skin by the time we got back to the landing and the car. We had a good time anyway!

We saw a loon as we got out of the car and a second one while we were out in the boats. There were other birds about as well, along with lots of frogs and a lone moose.

The frogs were calling from the marshy areas but hard as I tried, I could not espy a single one. I was beginning to despair every getting a photo when I finally noticed the bright yellow throat sac of one sitting just at the edge of the open water. After finding the first specimen, I began to see yellow throat sacs from the proverbial mile a way… they were, in fact, rather numerous!

As for the moose… I was peacefully and slowing paddling along when, as I rounded a bend in the shore line, I heard a great splashing sound. I am not sure if the bull moose or I was more surprised. The moose quickly made for the shore and the first photograph I made of him contained mainly his posterior as he headed up into the marsh. Once out of the water, he did turn to look at me  and I was able to make an adequate (but not spectacular) portrait.

Joan missed the entire show as she was botanizing some distance behind.

The rain was just letting up as we got back to the East Inlet boat launch… figures! We changed into dry clothes and decided to drive up to Scott Bog; another kayaking/wildlife hot spot.

Along the way we scared another smallish moose off the road.  Scott Bog will be our target next time we are in the area with our boats!

After an early dinner, we took a drive up Indian Stream Road. We turned around at the parking area for the Indian Stream Gorge trail head. We’ve put this on our “to do” list as well.

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Wednesday morning we were on the road south by 7:30. Joan was meeting another NEWFS PCV* in Northumberland to do a rare plant survey. While they were botanizing, I headed to the nearby Eames Wayside.

This piece of public land along the Connecticut River looked promising on the map, but I could not find much information about it. It turns out to be essentially undeveloped, there is small parking area on Route 3, but that is it. I tried to bushwhack down to the river but was turned back by the willow thickets.

As I headed back to the car somewhat dejected, I noticed a dragonfly in a sunny spot along the rail bed. Thus all was not lost!

I spent the next couple of hours photographing damselflies and other insects, along about fifty feet of rail bed near a small stream flowing under the rails in a culvert. I did not see another dragonfly the entire time I was there but the damsels were plentiful!

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*NEWFS… New England Wildflower Society; PCV… Plant Conservation Volunteer


16 May 2015

Seed Thieves!

Filed under: Mammals,Monadnock Region,Spring — Tags: — Frank @ 1:00 PM

We keep a few bird feeders out by the greenhouse, just off the deck in back of the house. Watching (and occasionally photographing) the birds the feeders attract is a source of great pleasure in our lives.

However, the feeders are also the cause of great consternation… the neighborhood chipmunks seed thieves have decided that the sunflower seeds in the main feeder have been put there for them.

I keep telling them that the devices are called bird feeders for a reason but they do not seem to listen at all!

The best I have been able to manage is to train the critters who live under our shed to run for their lives when I open the doors leading out to the deck.

The individuals who live in the woods (judging from the direction they run when I chase them off) are still very brave… I have to walk up to the feeder and give it a whack to get them to jump off!

The “fellow” in the photo below sat atop the big rock by the deck and vocalized for some minutes last evening. I am not sure what it was saying (my ability to communicate in chipmunk-ese  is poor; see above), but I imagine that s/he was warning all of the other chipmunks to stay away from the feeder.

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28 April 2015

Suppertime Visitor

Filed under: Early Spring,Mammals,Monadnock Region — Frank @ 11:00 AM

I arose from the dinner table last evening, took a look out the front door and noticed that we had a suppertime visitor.

This “fellow” was rooting around for supper in the leaves on the inside of the stone wall down by the road; I am unsure as to what it is eating.

Of course, I took the camera and headed out the door. Porcupines are pretty easy to photograph. Their sight is not particularly keen so if one moves slowly on can get pretty close. I stopped and set up the camera/tripod about twenty or thirty feet away.

I made eleven exposures before I was noticed. At this point the critter ambled down across the road and into the woods.

I do not believe that concept of “hurry” exists in the porcupine universe!

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15 April 2015

Searching for Spring

Filed under: Birds,Mammals,Spring,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 6:00 PM

A week ago on Tuesday, Joan and I headed south in search of Spring.

When we arrived at Assateague Island National Seashore on Wednesday the temperature was 45 degrees, the wind was blowing at about 45 mph and the sky was spitting (a combination of salt spray and intermittent rain)… not exactly the weather we were hoping for!

None-the-less, we dropped the camper off at a campsite, donned a few layers of fleece with a topping of Gore-tex and headed out in search of horses and birds. We had a wonderful time despite the weather.

On Thursday, we awoke to horses in our campsite, egrets in the marsh beside the campsite and no change in the weather. After breakfast, we headed south to the Virginia side of Assateague Island and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. We had another wonderful day.

The weather broke on Friday and we headed north and west to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. We arrived just before lunch and spent roughly six hours exploring this wonderful place.

As the light began to fade, we turned the car towards suburban Washington, DC.

Here are my photos of the horses:

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Here are the birds, the egrets are from Assateague and the remainder from Blackwater:

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The weekend in suburban Washington, DC finally brought the lovely spring weather we had been hoping for.

We spent the weekend visiting with my parents, my sister and brother-in-law (who live nearby) and our daughter (who lives in Baltimore).

My parents live in a “soup-to-nuts” retirement “village” with lots of open space. There are many birds around and I was duly entertained on our daily walks around the grounds!

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We arrived home late Monday evening to find that spring had returned to New Hampshire in our absence. There is still ice on the lake and scattered pockets of snow in the woods, but we have great hope!



23 February 2015


Filed under: "Camp",Mammals,Monadnock Region,Wildlife,Winter — Tags: — Frank @ 9:30 PM

Yesterday was the first day with above freezing temperatures since early January… the high was 33 degrees! The warm spell did not last long. It was 11 when I got up this morning and it is -1  (-15 with the wind chill) as I write this at about 8:30 PM. The low tonight will be around -10 without the wind chill.

We are down to about a cord and a third of wood… I suspect that we’ll be switching to oil in a couple of weeks!!!

Joan and I took advantage of yesterday’s warm spell by heading across the lake on snow shoes. Our main goal was to rake the three feet of accumulated snow from the roof of our camp. Eventually it will warm up and rain on the snow and that sort of weight is not kind to old structures. Thus the need for snow removal.

While I started the raking, Joan explored the various animal tracks in the snow on the lake. A coyote had walked along the shore of the cove and stopped to dig out and explore an animal carcass buried in the snow.

Another set of tracks ended at a small hemlock a few feet off the lake. Sitting about eight feet up in said tree was a porcupine doing what porcupines usually do while sitting in hemlocks… eating!

It is very common this time of year to find the snow under hemlocks littered with small bits of hemlock branches; a sure sign of a porcupine had a meal aloft. Hemlock seems to be their preferred winter food and they are messy eaters!

I was easily persuaded to exchange the roof rake for my camera and was able to move to within a dozen feet of the porcupine without any evidence of concern upon its part… it just kept on munching hemlock boughs.

Eventually, it descended the tree and headed towards me along the edge of the lake. It shuffled around for a short while and then climbed another, small hemlock a few feet from the first. It settled in to eat again about eight or ten feet off the ground. After some time it headed further up the tree and I decided that it was time to get back to the roof rake.

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20 September 2014

Early September

Filed under: Birds,Early Fall,Landscapes,Mammals,Monadnock Region — Tags: , , — Frank @ 2:00 PM

The beginning of September brings three harbingers of the autumn that is just around the corner…

The hawks and other raptors begin their migration. We, in the Monadnock region, are lucky to have a wonderful spot from which to observe this world-class spectacle. New Hampshire Audubon organizes and staff an observatory on the summit of Pack Monadnock in Miller State Park during September and October each year. Visits are always interesting; I tend to go on weekdays when it is not quite as busy.

The swamp maples begin to turn red. For some reason, the swamp maples at the north end of Gregg Lake seemed to turn especially early this year; there were signs of red in late August. Currently, these trees are about at their peak and there it little change most of the other trees.

The chipmunks become manic. Living more-or-less in the woods, with a property bounded by stone walls, we are well acquainted with chipmunks. However, in early September as the acorns start to drop, the chipmunk activity really picks up. One does not even have to go outside as their squeaking vocalizations are clearly heard when the windows are open.

Late yesterday afternoon, I noticed “nice light” on the chipmunk highway (i.e. the stone wall) down by the road. I headed down, with camera in hand, hoping to get some photos of “flying” chipmunks as they jumped from stone to stone, often with an acorn in their jaws. I failed miserably… they are just too fast for me! I did manage a couple of frames of individuals who stopped to eat along the highway!

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16 June 2014

Food & Sex

How is that for an attention-getting post title!

It might be attention-getting, but it is a good description of the ode activity in our yard yesterday.  There were dozens of whitefaces, at altitudes ranging from one to twelve feet constantly on the move and feeding.  There were also smaller numbers of other species both hunting and mating.

In addition to the odes there were also decent numbers of butterflies around… small orange butterflies down low in the vegetation, many swallowtails nectaring (especially on the blackberries) and a single black butterfly on the edge of the road looking for salt. (The last two butterfly photos as of the same individual.)

There were often groups of three or four swallowtails doing their in flight dances… is this mating behavior or is it about territory? More stuff to learn!

Through it all, the chipmunks living in our stone walls would chatter at me. I guess that they want the yard to themselves.

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22 April 2014

Spring Progress

Filed under: Birds,Early Spring,Mammals,Monadnock Region,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 11:00 PM

After getting off to a late start, spring is progressing nicely.

The last of the ice on Gregg Lake  finally disappeared over the weekend, the daytime temperatures have been in the fifties and sixties and even though it has been getting down around freezing at night we have not been lighting the stove every evening.

The chipmunks have become active over the past few days and “new” birds are appearing regularly.

I spent a couple of hours down by the lake yesterday morning watching a trio of wood ducks wend their way around the lake north of the bridge. The female spent most of her time feeding. The males spent most of their time jockeying for position and posturing.

Yesterday evening, I watched a pair of loons fishing near the public beach. They were too far away for good photos.

Lastly,  chipping sparrows and juncos have appeared in small numbers around the feeders by the house. They are mixed with all of the “year rounders”.

28 October 2012

An Afternoon Visitor

Filed under: Autumn,Mammals,The Yard,Wildlife — Frank @ 9:00 PM

This afternoon we were doing some chores around the yard when my CWS* motioned me to be quiet and pointed out towards the large oak tree in the middle of the yard. There, about three feet off the ground on the oak trunk, was a juvenile porcupine.

I backed slowly away and went for the camera.

By the time I got back the little “fellow” was on the ground rooting around in the leaves and grass (Photo #1) . He wandered around the yard allowing me to get as close as I needed… so I could fill the frame with my 300 mm lens. At one point he climbed into the bush in the middle of the yard but did not stay long (Photo #2). Eventually he climbed up the apple tree next to the garden (Photo #3) and settled in for a snack and a nap (Photo#4). Last I knew he was still there.

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*Chief Wildlife Spotter (a.k.a. Joan!)

22 April 2012

A Few From the Past Week

Filed under: Early Spring,Landscapes,Mammals,Monadnock Region — Frank @ 1:00 PM

I haven’t had much time for making photographs in the past few weeks…I know, where are my priorities!

However, we are back to owning only one house and there is only one more week (plus a week of finals) in the semester… so things are looking good for the near future!

On Thursday afternoon, I headed out at about 5 PM to make some photographs; I had to be in Jaffrey for the Monadnock Camera Club meeting at 7 PM so I took a meandering route from Antrim to Jaffrey.  There were nice skies, good reflections on the water and I was only ten minutes late to the meeting!  Two hours… two nice photographs; a pretty successful outing if you ask me!

The photo of the squirrel is a grab shot through the glass looking out on our deck. This fellow spent some time watching us eat breakfast one morning. I guess that he was hoping for a hand out!

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