Photographs by Frank

12 June 2022

Around the Yard on a Sunday Afternoon

This afternoon I took a short stroll around the yard just to see what was up.

There were a few odes about and a number of swallowtails nectaring on Joan’s garden flowers. Speaking of garden flowers, the poppies have really ‘popped’ in the last several days.

The frog is a resident of the small pool I built this spring*, hoping to attract wildlife (especially birds) to photograph without attracting the local bears (as would putting out seed for the birds). I have yet to find the time to ‘stake out’ the pool and see what, if any, birds come by but this frog moved in within a few days of my filling the pool with water.

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* The wooden handles on our wheelbarrow rotted out and were unrepairable. Of course the plastic tub was still in good shape so I disassembled the wheelbarrow and plugged the holes in the tub where the bolts pierced it. I then buried the tub in the ground and added some strategic rocks to cover the exposed plastic of the tub. Joan added some plants to further naturalize the setting and now we have a small ‘water feature’ out near the greenhouse.

31 July 2020

Ode and Leps

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Other Insects,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 10:00 AM

Yesterday afternoon, I headed out to photograph. It was mostly sunny and the temperature was in the low 80’s.

I stopped at two sites along Powdermill Pond… Elmwood Junction, where I walked the railbed out to the bridge across the river, and the boat launch in Greenfield, where I concentrated on the “field”. I put field in quotes because the clearing is rapidly overgrowing; it is roughly half full with shoulder height or larger trees.

As seems to be the pattern this summer, there were only small numbers of odes at both sites. For all, but the widow skimmers, I saw only the single individuals that I photographed. I saw a total of maybe half a dozen widow skimmers (of both sexes) in the field at the boat launch. I also observed (but did not photograph) a lone female slatey skimmer along the rail bed.

In addition to the odes, I was able to make nice photos of some butterflies (in the order lepidoptera, thus “leps” for short). The first three individuals were all congregated in a small area of the old rail bed, attracted by the minerals in the ground. Sorry about the lack of IDs on the leps… that is not in my skill set!

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16 July 2019

Powdermill Pond Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 5:30 PM

Yesterday afternoon (from roughly 4 to 6:30), with the weather mostly sunny and the temperature in the low 80s, I headed to Powermill Pond for some odeing.

I parked the truck at Elmwood Junction and after a quick look around the waters edge and the road there, I headed down the trail (old rail bed) towards the bridge across the river. My ultimate goal was the field at the Cilley Family Forest (formerly the Robertson farmstead) in Greenfield. Google maps indicates the walk is about nine tenths of a mile one way.

I found a single female whiteface near the water where I parked and nothing along the road (which is usually a good spot for odes). On the way out, odes were sparse along the rail bed until I got to the bridge. Here I observed a half dozen or so male common pondhawks and a similar number of slaty skimmers.

At the field , the most common odes were Halloween pennants; I saw somewhere between six and twelve individuals. All of those I got close enough to see well were yellow (i.e. either immature males or females). There, I also observed a single male calico pennant and two stream cruisers (the one I photographed was male).

On the way back to the truck, the odes were a bit more numerous along the rail bed. In addition to the common pondhawks by the bridge, I found a single clubtail, a male chalk-fronted corporal and a male blue dasher.

Nine species of dragonflies on a two mile walk… not bad. Interestingly, I saw no damselflies. However, I did photograph a butterfly!

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8 July 2018

(Mostly) Wildflowers at Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center

Filed under: Other Insects,wildflowers — Tags: , — Frank @ 9:49 PM

In preparation for my workshop titled “Photography of Dragonflies and Damselflies“, I have (twice in the past couple of weeks) spent some time at the Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center (in West Brattleboro, VT). Alas, the odes have been sparse both visits, but there are numerous wildflowers (IDs by Joan) in their meadows. They also have numerous day lilies blooming around their buildings at the moment.

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8 June 2018

Small Critters

This morning, after an absence of almost two weeks*, I took a walk up the unmaintained section of Brimstone Corner Road just to see what was around.

Ode-wise, the most common species were still the “early birds”… Hudsonian whitefaces (yellow individuals only) and chalk-fronted corporals (of both sexes). The numbers were small about six whitefaces and a dozen corporals in the three miles I walked.

I also observed a single brown-grey damselfly (probably a female bluet of some sort) and a female racket-tailed emerald.

There were a number of other small critters about. That is, besides the black flies and the mosquitoes (although neither of these were present in numbers large enough to be bothersome). I saw two red efts and a small (about the length of the first joint of my thumb) wood frog. Small numbers of at least three species of butterflies and one moth were also out and about.

Plant-wise, the spring ephemerals (trillium, etc.) are gone but a number of small summer flowers are in bloom or just about to open up.

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* I spent ten days in Maryland visiting my mother who is in a rehab facility after breaking both a wrist and a hip.


18 July 2016

Down Back, Again

Yesterday (18 July) afternoon I headed down back to the beaver-made wetland complex at the back of our property.

As I headed out, I got distracted by the butterflies on the flowers in the beds around the yard. I in the middle of photographing butterflies, I  spent some time stalking a small orangeish dragonfly but I was not able to make a photo. After this dragonfly vanished for good, and as I was about to stand up to move on, I noticed that a small robberfly had landed on the perch last used by ode. Of course, I had to photograph it!

Eventually, I did wander down the hill to the natural habitat of the beaver pond and wet meadow.

New, since my last trip down back, was the presence of darners. I am not sure of the exact species. They were patrolling over both the pond and the wet meadow. The numbers were not large; I saw maybe half a dozen.

By far, the most common ode present were frosted whitefaces. They were mostly patrolling over the pond. However, every once in a while one would perch near me and I was able to make a photograph. The numbers were way down compared to my last visit (on 2 July, see this post).

I also observed  two sprites (either sphagnum or sedge) deep down among the vegetation along the pond. Neither were able to be photographed.

Out over the meadow there were a small number of calico pennants. As with the frosted whitefaces, the number of pennants are way down from a couple of weeks ago. However the individuals present were all actively feeding. I watched  (and photographed) one individual for about fifteen minutes. During that time, I watched it make dozens of hunting forays always returning to the same perch. It was successful on about half of its hunts.

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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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22 July 2015

Yard Odes and Flowers

Yesterday (Tuesday, 21 July) dawned hot and sticky and stayed that way. Despite the weather I spent some time in the late afternoon haunting the yard in search of odes. The numbers of odes were small, but there was a nice variety. The most common insect was a butterfly; the great spangled fritillary.

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At some point during my rounds, I turned my attention from odes to the flowers Joan has growing in the many beds and containers around the yard.

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29 July 2014

Wildflowers of the North Country

Filed under: Other Insects,Summer,wildflowers — Tags: , , — Frank @ 10:00 PM

Please note: Thanks to Allan, Al and Joan for getting the plants identified. 

The New England Wildflower Society (“NEWFS”) occasionally sponsors field trips for their “PCVs” (i.e. plant conservation volunteers).  This past weekend was was the occasion of the most recent of these.

Nine folks total… staff, PCVs and two husbands gathered in Pittsburg, NH for a weekend of botanizing. I (one of the husbands, obviously?) tagged along for the adventure in general and the hope of some “interesting” odes.

The far north of NH is interesting ecologically since it represents the southern limit of the range for some species found mainly in Canada (plants and odes included) so we were all hoping to see new “stuff”.

Joan and I left the house mid-morning on Friday with camper in tow. We meandered north up the center of NH (staying west of I-93 until Franconia) studiously avoiding the highways. We passed through Kinsman Notch (the second nicest of the notches*)  in the White Mountains and arrived at the Mountain View Cabins and Campground in Pittsburg by the late afternoon.

After a home-cooked dinner with much great food, we spent the evening observing the neighborhood moths as one of the participants had set up white sheets and  lights to attract these critters. I had heard about this activity before but this was my first time experiencing it. Very interesting!

On Saturday morning, after a breakfast of homemade blueberry pancakes, we headed out to the South Bay Bog (part of the Connecticut Lakes Natural Area) and spent the day slogging through the bog in search of rare plants (especially orchids) and odes. The search for plants was a rousing success. The search for odes was less successful as the weather was not ideal (temperature in the low 70’s and cloudy).  I did observed a couple of emeralds, a few sphagnum sprites and a couple of  unidentified dragonflies but did not make any photographs of them.

Rather, I figured “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” and concentrated on photographing the vegetation.

Wild Flowers in and around South Bay Bog

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On the way back to the campground, we stopped at a spot where there was a large concentration of butterflies nectaring on the roadside flowers. (Also included in this set  are other “miscellaneous” photos.)

Mostly Insects

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Sunday morning we awoke to scattered rain showers, but we headed out again for a second morning of botanizing in the East Inlet area**. The group was successful in finding a number of the rare plants they were looking for. I saw a single ode (a female meadowhawk) during one of the lulls in the rain and, again, entertained myself photographing the flora.

Wild Flowers Near East Inlet

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As the weather continued to be iffy, the group broke up around lunch time. After a quick sandwich at the Lake Francis boat launch with a few of the others, Joan and I pointed the car and camper south. We took an western route home, hugging the Connecticut River as much as possible until we hit the Hanover area where we followed NH 10 (which veers east there) to NH 31. We arrived home about 7 PM.

A good time was had by all!

* The nicest notch… that would be Jefferson… the one driven by hardly anyone!

** We’ will definitely be headed back to East Inlet as it looks like spectacular canoeing/kayaking territory.


20 July 2014

Garden Flowers

Since there were so few odes around on Friday, I took to making photographs of the flowers that Joan has growing around the vegetable garden.

At one point, I was aggressively investigated by a female ruby-throated hummingbird.  I guess that she decided that I was not going to eat too much nectar because, after the initial close encounter, she proceeded to visit a few flowers while I fumbled to take the extension tube off my camera. I was too slow and she headed off before I could make a photo of her.

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