Photographs by Frank

22 June 2018

Slow Day at Loverens Mill

Yesterday I headed to the Nature Conservancy’s Loverens Mill preserve. Joan had been there earlier in the week and said that she had seen ebony jewelwings and “green-eyed dragonflies” (emeralds, perhaps?) there. The temperature was in the mid-70’s F, it was partly cloudy and essentially calm.

It was a slow ode day. I saw exactly four damselflies (and no dragonflies) in the first couple of hours I was there: two ebony jewelwings and two drab brown teneral damsels (probably bluets of some sort). The drab brown individuals were the only odes I saw during my three trips along the boardwalk in the swamp proper.

Things picked up a little bit when I walked the road. There were a few more brown damsels and, about three hours after I left the truck, I saw a single dragonfly, an immature male slaty skimmer.

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13 August 2017

A Walk at Loveren’s Mill

Yesterday afternoon, Joan and I took a walk at the Nature Conservancy’s Loveren’s Mill property. This site, which lies along the North Branch river and is partly in Antrim, contains a rare white cedar swamp. I brought along the “ode rig” and thus concentrated on photographing small things close up.

There were a smallish number but a good variety of odes present… ebony jewelwings along the fast moving parts of the river and meadow hawks and some unidentified (and unphotographed) damselflies along the woods roads. Oddly, we saw no odes along the boardwalk in the swamp proper.

The most common, by far, insect present was a small (about an inch across), drab tan moth. There were spots along the road where each foot step stirred up a dozen or so individuals.

Botanically, there was an interesting mix of early season spring ephemerals (e.g. painted trillium, clintonia and bunchberry) in fruit and late season wildflowers (e.g. joe pye weed, asters and goldenrod) in bloom. Additionally, the damp summer has been very good for the fungi and I photographed a number of different mushrooms.

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Sorry for the lack of captions/titles.  The last upgrade to the blog software seems to have introduced a small incompatibility with the gallery software. I thought I had figured out a work around for the previous post, but now I can not remember what I did the other day!


18 July 2016

Loveren’s Mill in the Late Afternoon

Late last Tuesday (12 July) afternoon I headed over to the Nature Conservancy’s Loveren’s Mill preserve. This property contains a rare Atlantic White Cedar swamp and is often good for finding rare odes that prefer this habitat.

Walking along the woods road near the entrance, I spotted a number of butterflies nectaring on the abundant wildflowers. However, there was a complete lack of odes.

This dearth of odes continued as I turned on to the trail and headed to the boardwalk that heads into the swamp proper. I saw two damselflies along the boardwalk and exactly zero dragonflies during the entire time I was out.

However, I did have some fun photographing the wildflowers.

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20 July 2014

A Paucity of Odes

Thursday afternoon Joan and I headed out to explore… Joan was interested in wild orchids and I in odes, of course. Our “targets” were the cedar swamp at Lovern’s Mill and the Bradford Bog.

The most significant observation was the low numbers of odes we encountered in what are usually rich environments. The number of dragonflies we observed in four or five hours can be counted on one hand. Damselflies were slightly more numerous, but only at Lovern’s Mill; we saw none at the Bradford Bog.

The main trail near the Lovern’s Mill boardwalk yielded a handful of ebony jewelwings. This is always a reliable place for them. The actual swamp/boardwalk yielded single individuals of two other species.  (All of the photos shown below were made at Lovern’s Mill.)

The dearth of odes continued when I took a careful look around the house on Friday. I saw small numbers of damselflies and two or three dragonflies.

Last Tuesday we had periods of torrential rain which came and went beginning in the evening and continuing for most of the night. I wonder if this weather is related to the general lack of odes?

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If you look closely, you will note that all of the photos of the ebony jewelwing are of the same individual (with a bent wing tip). We encountered this fellow both coming and going from the swamp. We saw three or four other individuals as well.


10 June 2014

Willard Pond & Loverens Mill Cedar Swamp

I am just a little behind in my blogging…

Last Friday, I headed out to see what was up ode-wise at two different habitats.

My first stop was the Audubon Sanctuary at Willard Pond. I was specifically interested in seeing what was up at the Mill Pond there. In the past, I have observed the Kennedy’s Emerald there.

On this trip, I did see a few dragonflies in flight over the pond that may have been emeralds but none perched so I did not get any photos. of them.

I did spend some time in the woods along the Mill Pond trail photographing wild flowers… there were literately many dozens of lady slippers along the beginning section of the trail. I also photographed odes in a number of small clearings. (All of the photos below, except for the last one, were made at Willard Pond.)

My second stop was the Nature Conservancy’s Loverens Mill property*. The rare cedar swamp at this site often has some unique odes, but this trip was earlier in the season than I have been in previous years.  I did observe small numbers of dragonflies in constant flight as well as small numbers of jewelwings, mostly river jewelwings; it is early in the season.

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* Joan’s father donated a parcel of land which is incorporated into this preserve. Her family calls it the “Windsor Bog”.


20 June 2013

A Fabulous Day for Odes

Yesterday was a spectacular day weather-wise… bright and sunny with the temperature in around 70. A perfect day to be outside!

I headed out late morning with three sites in mind to visit… the Powdermill Pond WMA, the Contoocook River near the paper mill in Bennington and the Lovern’s Mill White Cedar Swamp. I actually stopped at only the first and the last… the river by the paper mill  looked way too high to wade. Even so, I did not get back home until after four.

The first photo (below)  of the calico pennant was made in the yard as I was taking my gear out to the truck. The last four photos were made at the Cedar Swamp. The rest at Powdermill Pond, mostly in the uplands area as the river was too deep to wade safely.

There were surprisingly few odes out and about in general.

At the Powdermill Pond WMA there were decent numbers of Eastern Forktails mainly in the grassy areas back from the river and a few clubtails cruising the river bank.

At the Lovern’s Mill Swamp, I saw exactly three odes… but took good advantage of them! On my way in to the swamp, I saw, but did not get a chance to photograph, a single ebony jewelwing along the trail just before getting to the swamp proper.

While on the boardwalk in the swamp, I saw exactly two Harlequin Darners.

I watched one individual for some time, he kept hovering at about chest height in the vegetation just off the boardwalk and would occasionally land on the trunk of a nearby white cedar. At one point he chased off another dragonfly. (I assume another Harlequin Darner).

Since he was spending long (for a dragonfly) periods hovering in one spot, I tried my hand at capturing him flight. This is not something I try to do regularly as it is a low yield endeavor. The photo shown is the best, by far, of more than a dozen total.

Eventually the darner flew off and I headed back up the trail towards the car.

Maybe fifty feet back up the trail from the boardwalk, I encountered another (maybe the same individual as before; it was the same general area) ebony jewelwing. This time he was most accommodating in terms of photography. He was actively feeding on the insects along the trail. He spent most of his time perched on the trail-side  vegetation either waiting to pounce or eating. He was quite successful at hunting, returning to a perch with prey every second or third foray.

I may have contributed a bit to his success as a large cloud of mosquitoes quickly enveloped me when I stopped to photograph him. I believe that this was a symbiotic relationship… beneficial to at least two of the parties involved. I got photos, the damselfly got fed and the mosquitoes… well they got eaten!

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8 July 2011

Ebony Jewelwings at Loveren’s Mill

Filed under: Nature Conservancy properties,Odontates — Tags: — Frank @ 6:00 PM

Yesterday (i.e. Thursday) afternoon I headed to Loveren’s Mill, a nearby Nature Conservancy property. In previous years I had found ebony jewelwings to be common along the river there and I was not disappointed on this trip. The numbers of individuals was not large but they were, by far, the most common species present. Interestingly, I saw only males.

I also noted an occasional dragonfly out cruising over the river but they were too far away and moving too fast to identify much less photograph. I was surprised by the lack of odes on my walk back to the cedar swamp. Often there are darners in the woods and other dragonflies along the road but I saw none this trip. I did see one small brown damselfly on the boardwalk that extends out in to the swamp but the photograph I got is uninteresting.

Around six, I headed back to the truck as the mosquitoes were beginning to get bothersome. Whether it was the hour or the fact that my “woodsman’s cologne” (i.e. ” bug dope”) was wearing off I can not say… most probably a combination of the two!

At the edge of the parking area I noticed two ebony jewelwings actively feeding on mosquitoes and spent some time photographing them. Of course, the mosquitoes were also actively feeding…on me!

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