Photographs by Frank

20 May 2022

Two Eggs! (Gregg Lake Loons – 2022)

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 1:29 PM

Mid-morning, Joan and I decided to head down to the lake to see if we could confirm that the loon nest contained eggs. While we were getting ready, a single loon flew overhead going towards the lake. The temperature was in the mid-60s F and the skies were changing quickly… mostly cloudy as we headed out and mostly sunny by the time we returned home roughly forty minutes later.

In order to increase Joan’s chances of spotting eggs in the nest, I parked the truck at the side of the narrow road so that she could set up the spotting scope in the bed of the truck… it’s all about angles. I figured (correctly) that there would be little traffic.

Just as we finished setting up (within five minutes of our arrival) we heard the loon on the nest call. We were afraid that maybe the presence of a vehicle parked in an odd spot might have alarmed the bird even though the nest is four or five hundred feet from the road.

Rarely does the wildlife makes the watcher’s life easy, but today was one of those days. Within a few minutes of the first call from the loon on the nest, its mate arrived and loon 1 slipped into the water to greet loon 2. The pair swam around near the nest for a few minutes giving Joan ample time to see that there are indeed two eggs in the nest.

Eventually, one of the birds (presumably the incoming loon) mounted the nest. I was able to make a sequence of exposures that illustrate how ungainly this process is (see the second gallery below). Unusually, the loon stayed on the nest for only a short time before entering the water again.

At this point we decided that we had the ‘data’ we needed the truck for and I moved the truck to the more usual parking area down by the junction of Craig Rd. By the time I walked back to the truck, a loon was back on the nest. The second loon hung around the general area of the nest fishing for several minutes before it headed out under the bridge to the main part of the lake.

Joan took a stroll at this point to see if she could see where the two herons that few by earlier had landed. She did not see the herons but she did observe two loons hanging out together on the main part of the lake… presumably one of the mated pair we were watching and the single bird we heard flying over the house about a half hour earlier?

About forty minutes after we first arrived, we headed back to the house, the garden and the things we are ‘supposed to do”!

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Loon 1 On Nest
Loon 1 On Nest
Loon 2 Approaching Nest
Loon 2 Approaching Nest
Both Loons Near Nest
Both Loons Near Nest
Loon 2 Stretching
Loon 2 Stretching
Loon 2 On Nest
Loon 2 On Nest
Loon 1 Hangin Around #1
Loon 1 Hangin Around #1
Loon 1 Hangin Around #2
Loon 1 Hangin Around #2

Loon Mounting Nest Sequence (about 30 seconds from start to finish)

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Loon Mounting Nest (1 of 12)
Loon Mounting Nest (1 of 12)
Loon Mounting Nest (2 of 12)
Loon Mounting Nest (2 of 12)
Loon Mounting Nest (3 of 12)
Loon Mounting Nest (3 of 12)
Loon Mounting Nest (4 of 12)
Loon Mounting Nest (4 of 12)
Loon Mounting Nest (5 of 12)
Loon Mounting Nest (5 of 12)
Loon Mounting Nest (6 of 12)
Loon Mounting Nest (6 of 12)
Loon Mounting Nest (7 of 12)
Loon Mounting Nest (7 of 12)
Loon Mounting Nest (8 of 12)
Loon Mounting Nest (8 of 12)
Loon Mounting Nest (9 of 12)
Loon Mounting Nest (9 of 12)
Loon Mounting Nest (10 of 12)
Loon Mounting Nest (10 of 12)
Loon Mounting Nest (11 of 12)
Loon Mounting Nest (11 of 12)
Loon Mounting Nest (12 of 12)
Loon Mounting Nest (12 of 12)

19 May 2022

Gregg Lake Loons – 2022

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Spring,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 4:04 PM

“Our” loons arrived on Gregg Lake at the end of March (the 28th according to Joan), before ice out.

I suspect, but have no proof, that they arrive in the area earlier and spend time on some other ice-free body of water while make periodic reconnaissance flights to their “home water” looking for a large enough opening in the ice.

For the past several weeks we have seen the pair of birds ‘out and about’ mostly on the main part of the lake but occasionally on the north side of the road where they have nested in the past. We had not observed any nest building behavior. However, we were not looking frequently and systematically.

Yesterday morning, as I headed out to the grocery store, I was excited to see a loon sitting on a nest in the same area they have nested for the past two (successful) years. I am positive that they were not sitting on the nest the day before yesterday.

The skies were cloudless, bluebird blue for most of the morning and early afternoon. I was not even tempted to head down to make the first loon photos of the season. It is difficult to make a good photo of a black and white bird in bright, strong sun light. One can either expose properly for the black or the white but not for both at the same time in bright light.

However, by mid afternoon a few clouds began to appear. By five or so, there was a high, overcast which makes for perfect conditions to photograph black and white birds. As a bonus, it was breezy so the black flies were small in number. I headed out to photograph the loon(s).

As one expects when watching a loon nest, not much happened in the hour and a half I watched. I saw only one bird in that time. It shifted position twice while I was there but I could not confirm that there is an egg or eggs present yet.*

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Loon on Nest (Gregg Lake, 18 May 2022) #1
Loon on Nest (Gregg Lake, 18 May 2022) #1
Loon on Nest (Gregg Lake, 18 May 2022) #2
Loon on Nest (Gregg Lake, 18 May 2022) #2
Loon on Nest (Gregg Lake, 18 May 2022) #3
Loon on Nest (Gregg Lake, 18 May 2022) #3

* Joan made a brief stop to observe the nest early this afternoon on her way back from town. She thought that the bird on the nest may have turned an egg while she watched but was only looking with her binoculars. We’ll have to spend some more time loon watching with the spotting scope soon!

Ode Opener – 2022

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Spring,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 3:00 PM

I noticed the first dragonflies around the yard four or five days ago. However, yesterday afternoon after lunch was the first opportunity I had to “go hunting” (with my camera). The numbers of odes had increased dramatically during that interval.

The weather was breezy and the temperature in the high 60s F. The skies were fair when I went out but it got progressively cloudier as the afternoon progressed.

The most common dragonflies were the whitefaces (there were dozens), mostly Hudsonian but possible a few Frosted in the mix. I even observed three whiteface mating wheels. Chalk-fronted corporals were also common.

Damselflies are a bit harder to see casually, so I don’t know when they first appeared on the yard. However, yesterday I observed at least two species of damselflies and possible a third (for which I don’t have a photo. There were small numbers of both bluets (exact species unknown) and Aurora damsels. I saw only females and maybe a dozen of each species.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Whiteface (sp?) #1
Whiteface (sp?) #1
Chalk-fronted Corporal (imm. male)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (imm. male)
Whiteface (sp?) #2
Whiteface (sp?) #2
Aurora Damsel (female)
Aurora Damsel (female)
Hudsonian Whiteface (imm. male)
Hudsonian Whiteface (imm. male)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (imm. male or female)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (imm. male or female)
Bluet sp?
Bluet sp?
Hudsonian Whiteface (imm. male or female)
Hudsonian Whiteface (imm. male or female)
Hudsonian Whiteface (mating wheel)
Hudsonian Whiteface (mating wheel)

9 May 2022

(Re)Birth

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Spring,wildflowers — Tags: — Frank @ 9:45 PM

Spring is coming on rapidly… just like it does every year at this time!

The daffodils around the yard are in full bloom. We ate a few leaves of lettuce from the garden this evening. And… the trees are leafing out.

This afternoon I mounted the macro lens on my camera and went for a walk in the woods. The purple trillium have been out for some time as have the violets. Today was the first time this season I saw painted trillium in bloom.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Hobblebush Seedling
Hobblebush Seedling
Hobblebush Leaf (detail)
Hobblebush Leaf (detail)
Painted Trillium
Painted Trillium
Basswood Seedling
Basswood Seedling
Budding Out
Budding Out
Bud
Bud
Purple Trillium
Purple Trillium
Violets
Violets

27 April 2022

Harrisville Details

Yesterday morning I picked up my last load of compost for the season. This final load was destined for Joan’s cousin Suzy who lives near our abode. Since I had no fixed schedule, I meandered vaguely in the direction of home. Of course, I had my camera with me.

As I drove, I noticed the nice texture (at least in some directions) in the clouds and went in search of a foreground for the interesting clouds. I ended up at Halfmoon Pond in Hancock, near the Harrisville border (see the first photo, below). The textured clouds did not last long. The overcast built steadily and it began to drizzle.

Knowing that Joan had to make a trip to Harrisville Designs, and with the lunchtime approaching, I called Joan and arranged to meet her at the General Store for lunch. After lunch Joan headed to the yarn pushers for what she needed and I wandered about the village to make photographs.

Harrisville, NH is a quaint, well preserved old mill town. It is among my favorite places to make photos. Since the weather was not suitable for grand landscapes (think low, thick overcast and intermittent drizzle), I concentrated on the details.

It was almost 5PM before I got the compost delivered.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Halfmoon Pond (Hancock, NH)
Halfmoon Pond (Hancock, NH)
Barn (Dublin, NH)
Barn (Dublin, NH)
Shagbark
Shagbark
Nubanusit Brook
Nubanusit Brook
Trilium
Trilium
Chalkboard Wisdom
Chalkboard Wisdom
Church Detail #1
Church Detail #1
Church Detail #2
Church Detail #2
Millwork Remnant
Millwork Remnant
Cupola with Bell
Cupola with Bell
Mill Buildings
Mill Buildings
Room With A View?
Room With A View?
Brickwork
Brickwork
Daffodils
Daffodils
Headstone Trio
Headstone Trio
Steeple
Steeple
Veteran Marker
Veteran Marker
Be Happy
Be Happy
Harrisville Reflection
Harrisville Reflection

10 April 2022

Remnants… of last year’s flora.

Filed under: Early Spring,Garden Flowers,Monadnock Region,Still Life — Frank @ 9:00 PM

Warning… photography talk ahead!

A week or two ago, I noticed the wizened, remnants of three cone flowers that had grown up last summer close to the back wall of our garage.

As I went about life I mulled over ideas on how to make a photograph of these stems. Many ideas stewed in my brain. Eventually, I decided that the three stems lit with harsh light and positioned close to the background (to get nice shadows) might make an interesting photograph.

This afternoon I headed outside with scissors in hand and brought the three cone flowers and a nearby sprig of goldenrod into my studio.

Placing a subject close to the background creates problems in that it is impossible to throw the background out of focus while keeping the subject in sharp focus. This means that every small flaw in the background sticks out like a sore thumb.

I initially and unsuccessfully tried a piece of light gray craft foam that I often use as a background. Every speck of dust showed and worse yet, the texture of the foam was evident in my first test frames. I switched the background to a sheet of hot press (i.e. very smooth) watercolor paper. This seems to have worked well.

Here are the final photographs.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Three
Three
Goldenrod
Goldenrod

9 April 2022

Five More From Thursday (“Cloud Day”)

Filed under: Early Spring,Landscapes,Monadnock Region — Frank @ 9:00 PM

Here are a few more photographs from my “cloud day” excursion.

The first (“Hedgehog Mountain and Clouds”, is a three frame panorama.

The remaining four don’t feature the clouds quite as prominently (or at all) as the photos I posted yesterday.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Hide-and-Seek Dodge
Hide-and-Seek Dodge
Dodge Ram
Dodge Ram
Barn (Bear Hill Road)
Barn (Bear Hill Road)
Barn (Quaker Street)
Barn (Quaker Street)

8 April 2022

Clouds

Filed under: Early Spring,Landscapes,Monadnock Region — Frank @ 10:45 AM

Yesterday morning, I headed to the grocery store. (We were out of the makings of salad for lunch.) However, I got waylaid by the interesting asperitas clouds. We had a rather late lunch.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Beaver Dam and Clouds
Beaver Dam and Clouds
Moose Brook and Clouds
Moose Brook and Clouds
Pasture Fence and Clouds
Pasture Fence and Clouds
Contoocook River and Clouds
Contoocook River and Clouds
Sugar House and Clouds
Sugar House and Clouds
Hay Field and Clouds #1
Hay Field and Clouds #1
Hay Field and Clouds #2
Hay Field and Clouds #2

2 April 2022

A Short Detour

Filed under: Early Spring,Landscapes,Monadnock Region — Frank @ 6:00 AM

Yesterday morning I ran errands in Peterborough.

The day was overcast but fairly warm. There was wonderful texture in the clouds.

I could not resist and took a short detour on the way home. Stopping in spots where I knew I could get good views of the sky, I used the camera obscura to make a few photographs.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Covered Bridge (Forest Road, Hancock/Greenfield, NH)
Covered Bridge (Forest Road, Hancock/Greenfield, NH)
Contoocook River (from the boat ramp off Forest Rd.)
Contoocook River (from the boat ramp off Forest Rd.)
Boles
Boles
Crotched Mountain/Powdermill Pond
Crotched Mountain/Powdermill Pond
Apple Trees / Crotched Mountain
Apple Trees / Crotched Mountain
Farmhouse Pump and Woodpile
Farmhouse Pump and Woodpile
Milk Room/Barn
Milk Room/Barn
Birches
Birches

21 March 2022

Game Camera Fun

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Wildlife — Tags: , , , — Frank @ 8:00 PM

At the very end of 2020, I bought a game camera just for fun. For those who might not know, a game camera is a waterproof, automatic camera designed to make photos of wildlife. When the camera detects movement, it makes four or five photographs. It does this day or night, using an infrared flash at night.

I experimented with the camera around the yard and then in March of 2021 (i.e. about a year ago) I strapped the camera at chest height to a tree “down back”. The lot that our house is situated on slopes back away from the house and ends in a beaver-made wet meadow about a quarter mile from the house. The tree I strapped the camera is located on the edge of the meadow and the camera was pointed out on the meadow.

Our property, which ends about half way across the wet meadow, abuts the roughly 2000 acre NH Audubon sanctuary at Willard Pond. This sanctuary is contiguous with another roughly 5000 acres of forested land, most of which is conserved. There are no public roads (only logging roads) in this area. In other words, there is a lot prime wildlife habitat behind our house. I was interested to see what we could capture with the game camera.

After setting up the camera, I promptly forgot about it, until today! I retrieved the camera this afternoon and was interested in seeing how long the batteries had lasted. The batteries are still just fine, but the memory card ran out of space after seven months (i.e. in November 2021). There were six thousand photos on the camera! Most of the photos were “false positives”… that is pictures of just the vegetation.

However, over the seven months the camera was active, there were forty frames that contained an animal. These documented twenty different “encounters”. Of these encounters, eight were deer, five were moose, four were bear and there was one encounter each of coyote, racoon and turkey.

None of the photos could be considered “art”, but here are seven of the most visually interesting. The monochrome images were made “in the dark” under infrared illumination.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Deer #1
Deer #1
Bear
Bear
Young Buck
Young Buck
Juvenile Moose ?
Juvenile Moose ?
Buck
Buck
Deer #2
Deer #2
Moose - Up Close!
Moose - Up Close!
Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress