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

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?


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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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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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”!

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

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20 May 2019

Star Island — Spring 2019 Birds

Filed under: Birds,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 9:30 PM

This past weekend Joan and I made another trip to Star Island to experience the vernal migration of birds. This is my third spring trip; previous trips were in May 2014 and May 2017, We also visited in the fall of 2015.

Star Island is one of the Isles of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine. As such, the island is a classic migrant trap that concentrates migrating birds in a small geographic area each day. That concentration, combined with the generally low vegetation (with sparse leaves in mid-May) makes for wonderful birding and bird photography.

The most charismatic of the migrating birds are the warblers in breeding plumage this time of year. However, there are other migrants present in addition to the warblers. There are also species that live and breed on the island. All are represented in the photos shown here.

The set of thirty photos* below begins with an image of a magnolia warbler in the chain-link fence with surrounds the island’s tennis court. I begin with this photo to show the size of the warblers… they are tiny birds! Their size, coupled with their near constant movement and their preference for thickets of vegetation make for challenging (and thus fun) photography.

I have sorted the set so that the warblers appear first followed by the other birds. I apologize for the large number of photos but there was an incredible variety of birds present on the island in the roughly forty-eight hours we were there. I tried not to show more than one photo of a species, but failed most egregiously in the case of both the yellow warbler (which breeds on the island and is thus one of the more common warblers) and the black and white warbler (which is one of the easier warblers to photograph as it tends to move a bit more slowly that most of the rest). Sometimes it is simply too difficult to choose a favorite “child”.

Lastly, there are still some photos titled “ID needed”. Hunting through bird books is not my idea of a fun time and in the interest of a timely post, they remain unidentified by me. If you care to help “fill in” those missing IDs, please leave a comment or send me an email. Corrections to the IDs I have made are also appreciated. I am hoping that Joan will do most of the “work” when she sees this post!

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* For those that are interested in such things, I made roughly 800 exposures (most but not all, of birds) while we were on the island. I processed 125 (~15%) of those exposures and present 30 of them (~4%) here.

18 August 2018

Morning Visitor

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer,The Yard,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 9:59 AM

One the the large oak trees down by the road has a large dead branch that overlooks Joan’s vegetable garden. Semi-regularly we see birds of prey, usually hawks sitting in this branch.

This morning, while eating breakfast, Joan noticed a hawk perched in “the branch”. I made a few exposures from the driveway before it decided to head off.

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31 December 2017

Adams Dozen — 2017

Filed under: Adams Dozen — Tags: , , — Frank @ 10:00 PM

In keeping with a tradition that I began back in 2011 (see this post), here  is my “Adams Dozen” for 2017.

It was not an easy selection. (It never is!) I could have easily chosen a dozen just from either the trips* we made this year.

Instead, I tried to choose photos from throughout the year from both “exotic” locations as as well as from the “neighborhood”.

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*Florida in March or Yellowstone and other points out west in September.


6 October 2017

2017 Road Trip — Cranes

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — Frank @ 9:45 PM

On our way home we spent time at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin; rather than repeat what is already written, you can read about the history of the ICF by  clicking here.

In addition to their ‘signature’ whooping cranes, the ICF displays all of the fifteen species of cranes found world-wide. I did not photograph all fifteen, but did get a nice selection of photos of these captive animals without too much man-made stuff interfering.

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1 October 2017

2017 Road Trip — Wildlife

Filed under: Autumn,Birds,Mammals,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 10:30 PM

On Labor Day (4 Sept) we headed out on the road. Our immediate destination was western Montana and a nephews wedding on the 9th.

After the wedding festivities were over, we began the meat of the trip. Our first destination was Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), just to the west of Yellowstone National Park, our second destination. We spent five nights in Yellowstone and then wildlife refuge hopped back east.

We visited C.M Russell NWR, Bowdoin NWR, and Medicine Lake NWR all in Montana, Lostwood NWR, Des Lacs NWR and Upper Souris NWR in North Dakota and Agassiz NWR in Minnesota. We also visited the International Crane Foundation and the Aldo Leopold Foundation in  Baraboo, Wisconsin before heading home.

We arrived home yesterday (Saturday, 30 Sept) having driven just over 7,400 miles in total.

Of course, I made one or two photographs along the way! Here is the first installment… wildlife photographs.

More to follow over the next few days.


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15 July 2017

Juvenile Green Herons

Filed under: Birds,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 5:05 PM

I’m back!*

Yesterday afternoon, just before four, I received a call from Diane (one of my vast network** of wildlife informants). She said that there were four small herons on the mill pond behind Town Hall.

Big Bertha and I arrived as quick as we could and we spent roughly two hours making photographs of a quartet of juvenile green herons. I was unable to get all four in the frame at once; three was the best I could manage.

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* After an unplanned, health-related hiatus.

** OK, so there are only two: Joan and Diane!


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