Photographs by Frank

8 August 2020

Odes “Down Back”

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,The Yard,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 7:00 PM

Yesterday afternoon I donned my waders and made the short walk to the beaver-made wetland complex at the back of our property. I arrived a few minutes past three and stayed for about 2 hours. The temperature was right around 80 and skies were partly to most cloudy turning to a high thin overcast while I explored.

This combination of beaver pond, wet meadow and floating bog is usually full of odes this time of year. However, as seems to be the pattern this year, the odes were sparse.

In a typical year there would be dozens of darners in flight over the area; this year there were two or three, max, in your field of view at any one time. The most common ode present were meadowhawks; a pretty even mix of red individuals (mature males) and yellow individuals (either females or immature males). Most of the yellow individuals I got close to were immature males. I saw about a dozen individuals total in the couple of hours I was out. In addition to the meadowhawks, I saw exactly two sprites (very small damselflies; most probably sedge sprites, based on previous years) and one immature male calico pennant).

I was able to make photographs of some of the meadowhawks and the calico pennant, but not the sprites.

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Meadowhawk (male) #1
Meadowhawk (male) #1
Meadowhawk (Imm. Male?) #1
Meadowhawk (Imm. Male?) #1
Meadowhawk (Imm. Male?) #2
Meadowhawk (Imm. Male?) #2
Meadowhawk (Imm. Male?) #3
Meadowhawk (Imm. Male?) #3
Teneral Maedowhawk (male)
Teneral Maedowhawk (male)
Calico Pennant
Calico Pennant
Meadowhawk (male) #2
Meadowhawk (male) #2

1 August 2020

Contoocook River Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 6:00 PM

Late yesterday afternoon, I made the short drive to the paper mill in Bennington (NH) to look for riverine odes. It was mostly sunny and the temperature was in the low 80s. Donning my wades, I spent about seventy five minutes in the river.

Immediately below the papemill dam there is a short rocky falls and then a section of fast moving water with a generally sandy bottom; a very different habitat than the lakes, ponds and beaver-made wetlands I usually frequent. As I expected, I saw some species that I don’t often see. Stream bluets and powdered dancers are species that prefer hard bottomed, fast moving water.

As seems to be the pattern for this year, there were small numbers of odes present. I observed less than a half dozen individuals of each species I photographed, including two dragonhunters perched within a foot of each other on the same dead branch overhanging the water.

Upon returning to the truck, I ordered a pizza from Rick and Diane’s. While waiting for pizza to bake, I walked around the edge of the pond at Memorial Park. There I saw maybe a half dozen eastern forktails (mostly males, but at least one female); the last photo is from this site.

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Stream Bluet (tandem pair)
Stream Bluet (tandem pair)
Dragonhuneter (male)
Dragonhuneter (male)
Stream Bluet (male)
Stream Bluet (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Stream Bluet (male)
Stream Bluet (male)
Powdered Dancer (male)
Powdered Dancer (male)
Powdered Dancer (female)
Powdered Dancer (female)
Eastern Forktail (male)
Eastern Forktail (male)

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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Meadowhawk (female)
Meadowhawk (female)
Butterfly #1
Butterfly #1
Butterfly #2
Butterfly #2
Butterfly #3
Butterfly #3
Widow Skimmer (male)
Widow Skimmer (male)
Meadowhawk (male)
Meadowhawk (male)
Spangled Skimmer (male)
Spangled Skimmer (male)
Butterfly #4
Butterfly #4
Widow Skimmer (female)
Widow Skimmer (female)

24 July 2020

Cilly Family Forest Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,wildflowers,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 10:45 PM

The Cilly Family Forest is a parcel of conserved land along the Contoocook River in Greenfield. It was once part of Joan’s cousin Stevie’s farm. The parcel is mostly wooded but there is a large field abutting the river that is kept open. There are often good numbers of dragonflies in the field.

I spent about ninety minutes there later this afternoon. The temperature was in the upper 70s and it was mostly sunny. There were relatively small numbers of odes present. The most numerous were female widow skimmers; I saw roughly ten individuals. In addition to the species I was able to photograph (i.e. slaty skimmer, widow skimmer and blue dasher) I also observed a single calico pennant and one other dragonfly that I was not able to get a good enough view of to identify, but it flashed green as it sped by.

I also saw (but did not photograph) roughly half a dozen damselflies total. Additionally, there were good numbers of a small (maybe an inch and a half across) orange butterfly.

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Widow Skimmer (female) #1
Widow Skimmer (female) #1
Slatey Skimmer (male)
Slatey Skimmer (male)
Closed Gentian
Closed Gentian
Widow Skimmer (female) #2
Widow Skimmer (female) #2
Orange Butterfly
Orange Butterfly
Blue Dasher (male)
Blue Dasher (male)

20 July 2020

Weekend Odes

Filed under: "Camp",Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 4:00 PM

The past few days have been has hot and hunid as it gets in this neck of the woods. Despite the weather, I have headed out to look for odes on three occasions over the weekend.

On Saturday morning, I headed down the road on the Harris Center property near our house. I went as far as the beaver dam. The odes were few and far between, but they were there.

On Sunday morning, I walked up the unmaintained section of Brimstone Corner Road. The odes were very sparse… I saw exactly two dragonflies, both patrolling an old log yard well above head hight.

Sunday afternoon, I headed across the lake to camp and waded the shoreline. Again, the odes were sparse, but present.

The first three photos below were made on Saturday morning; the remainder on Sunday afternoon.

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Slatey Skimmer (male)
Slatey Skimmer (male)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male)
Spreadwing
Spreadwing
Lancet Clubtail
Lancet Clubtail
Eastern Forktail (female)
Eastern Forktail (female)
Eastern Forktail (male)
Eastern Forktail (male)
Dragon Hunter
Dragon Hunter
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Lancet Clubtail with Prey
Lancet Clubtail with Prey

15 July 2020

Lake Hallowell Odes and Other Wildlife

Filed under: Birds,Mammals,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 10:15 PM

Lake Hallowell is a small, man-made body of water in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC near where my mother lives. It is an island of wildlife in a sea of suburbia.

We are just back from ten days of attending to my mother while my sister was occupied with work and the wedding of her eldest son. While we were there, I spent two hot and sticky late afternoons around the edges of Lake Hallowell photographing the odes and other wildlife.

I was not alone. There was a seemingly never ending parade of walkers, joggers, anglers, etc. on the paved path that girds the pond. Over the two afternoons, I also encountered three other photographers mainly stalking the birds.

I was set up to photograph odes (with my 300 mm lens and extension tube mounted on the camera). However, twice I was tempted to (and had time to) remove the extension tube and make photos of other critters… namely a green heron and a rabbit.

There were large numbers of dragonflies and very few damselflies out and about. (I saw two damselflies in the two days.)

The most common ode was a small rusty orange dragonfly with which I am not familiar*. There were thousands of individuals in more-or-less constant movement low over the water near the shore. Infrequently one would perch for a brief interval but I was having trouble making a successful photo of this species.

However, every once in awhile lady luck smiles upon you. The only successful photo of this species I made is the last one in this set; a mating wheel, the only one I saw!

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Blue Dasher (male)
Blue Dasher (male)
Blue Dasher Obelisking
Blue Dasher Obelisking
Exuvia
Exuvia
Common Pondhawk (female)
Common Pondhawk (female)
Common Pondhawk (male)
Common Pondhawk (male)
Green Heron
Green Heron
Rabbit
Rabbit
Teneral Damselfly
Teneral Damselfly
Mating Wheel (ID Needed)
Mating Wheel (ID Needed)

* They are reminiscent of eastern amberwings, but they seem somewhat larger than the minute eastern amberwing and the wings of the female in this photo are not those of the female eastern amberwing. {UPDATE: The collective wisdom of the Northeast Odes email list says that these are, indeed, eastern amberwings.}

22 June 2020

Odes at the Lake

Filed under: "Camp",Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 1:00 PM

Trying to beat the heat yesterday afternoon, I spent a few hours at our camp on Gregg Lake.

There were a moderate number of odes present. Most common were unidentified clubtails cruising the lake and moving so fast that I could not get a good view nor a photograph. There were also a fair number of bluets in the emergent vegetation along the lake edge.

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Common Whiletail (female)
Common Whiletail (female)
Lancet Clubtail (male)
Lancet Clubtail (male)
Little Bluet (male)
Little Bluet (male)

30 May 2020

May — The Explosion

May is a month of explosive change here in New England.

We begin the month wondering if we will ever be able to stop feeding the stove and end the month ready for a swim many afternoons. The woods are drab and gray at the beginning of May and fully leafed out a couple of weeks later. The summer breeding birds, the earliest of which begin arriving in April , are sitting on nests by the end of May. Additionally, there are waves of both migrating birds and ephemeral wildflowers which come and go all within the month.

And… most importantly, to me anyway, the dragonflies reappear! I saw my first ode of the season, a lone Hudsonian whiteface in the woods on May second. Their population in the uplands around the house peaked a week or ten days ago… most have headed back to a wetland to breed, but there were still a few stragglers in the yard this afternoon.

The past few days have seen an explosion of chalk-fronted corporals in the uplands. Walking along the unmaintained section of Brimstone Corner Road this morning, in every sunny spot, I stirred up a dozen or more chalk-fronted corporals. The large majority were brown (either female or immature males).

There are also a few individuals of another, larger species also present… I have to find where I stashed the ode books for the winter in order to identify these!

And then there are the chipmunks… remember when, a few seasons ago, we were all concerned about the lack of chipmunks? Well… thanks to the remarkable reproductive capacity of rodents, I can report that they are back in numbers which seem larger than ever. The current generation also seems much bolder than those of the past. I have had chipmunks trying to steal seed as I was filling the bird feeders! The photo of the chipmunk which accompanies this post was made with my camera set up for odes… in this mode it can not focus beyond about four or five feet!

All of these photos were made over the course of an hour or so this afternoon.

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Lady Slipper
Lady Slipper
Dragonfly - ID Needed
Dragonfly - ID Needed
Hudsonian Whiteface (immature male or female)
Hudsonian Whiteface (immature male or female)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male)
Chipmunk
Chipmunk
Chalk-fronted Corporal (female)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (female)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (immature male)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (immature male)

6 September 2019

Late Season Odes (and Wild Flowers)

Filed under: Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 11:00 AM

Yesterday afternoon, I took a walk on the Harris Center Brimstone Corner Road property just down the road from our house. My goal was to see what odes were still out and about. I was expecting to find autumn meadowhawks and some darners.

As I expected the most common dragonfly I observed was the autumn meadowhawk. I saw more than a dozen; mostly in the old log yard. However, there were also a few, including a mating pair, by the outlet of the beaver pond. Here, I also observed a single variable dancer; the only damselfly I saw yesterday.

There were a few large darners flying out over the water of the beaver pond. However, the most common dragonfly here was the slaty skimmer. There were at least a dozen, mostly males, patrolling the edge of the pond defending territories.

In addition to the odes, my eye was attracted to all of the late season flowers.

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Autumn Meadowhawk (female)
Autumn Meadowhawk (female)
Autumn Meadowhawk Mating Wheel
Autumn Meadowhawk Mating Wheel
Slaty Skimmer
Slaty Skimmer
Autumn Meadowhawk (male)
Autumn Meadowhawk (male)
Seed Head
Seed Head
Wild Flower #1
Wild Flower #1
Wild Flower #2
Wild Flower #2
Wild Flower #3
Wild Flower #3
Wild Flower #4
Wild Flower #4

7 August 2019

Hattie Brown Road Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 9:33 PM

On Monday afternoon (from about 2 – 4) I took a walk up Hattie Brown Road to see what was up “ode-wise”. The temperature was in the high 70s F, the skies were mostly clear and there was a bit of breeze intermittently.

The walk along most of the road is heavily shaded and I did not expect to see many/any odes until I approached the beaver swamp. My expectations were met and I saw my first ode, a bright red male meadowhawk, just as I got to the swamp.

The swamp itself is amazingly dry, even for this time of year. The outlet stream is still flowing, but much of the swamp proper consists of large dry or drying patches separating discontinuous patches of surface water. (I imagine that there is still significant subsurface water.)

Usually, there would be good numbers of darners cruising out over the swamp, but not this trip. There were a few (two?) male meadowhawks along the road and a single female damselfly (most probably a variable dancer).

I continued along the road past the swamp and was rewarded with more numerous insects in the clearing just where the road turns up the hill.

Present in this clearing were small numbers (less than six) of both male and female common white-tails. The most common ode present were female spangled skimmers, roughly a dozen; I saw no males.

Individuals of both of these species seemed to be attacking me as they flew directly at my head numerous times, often close enough that I could hear there wings beating. A male common white-tail even briefly perched on the front of my thigh. Of course, what these insects were really doing was picking off prey from the cloud of small flying insects that I had attracted!

I also observed a single male twelve-spotted skimmer who was a very obliging model. During the course of the ten or fifteen minutes I watched him, he made repeated hunting forays and always returned to the same perch. In contrast to the other species, he ignored me and the cloud I attracted, as he flew off in seeming random directions each time.

One the way back to the truck, I passed a single meadowhawk along the road by the swamp and a single spreadwing along the road almost at its junction with Craig Road. I watched the spreadwing for a few minutes always staying low to the ground and in the shade. Just as I despaired of making its photo, it flew to a chest-high perch in a patch of sun. Even the background (the dark shaded woods at some distance away) was perfect. I made two exposures before it flew away!

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Meadowhawk (male) #1
Meadowhawk (male) #1
Dragonfly (ID needed)
Dragonfly (ID needed)
Common White-tail (female)
Common White-tail (female)
Common White-tail (female) with Prey
Common White-tail (female) with Prey
Spangled Skimmer (female) #1
Spangled Skimmer (female) #1
Spangled Skimmer (female) #2
Spangled Skimmer (female) #2
Twelve Spotted Skimmer with Prey
Twelve Spotted Skimmer with Prey
Twelve Spotted Skimmer #1
Twelve Spotted Skimmer #1
Twelve Spotted Skimmer #2
Twelve Spotted Skimmer #2
Twelve Spotted Skimmer #3
Twelve Spotted Skimmer #3
Meadowhawk (male) #2
Meadowhawk (male) #2
Spreadwing
Spreadwing
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