Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird: Quest Ponds, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — This appears to be a young male, this year’s fledgling, Red-winged Blackbird. Note the red patches developing at the shoulders. He is learning his trade, helping dad to defend the territory, and he was actively practicing on me when I visited the drainage ponds at Southern Maine Medical Center here in Kennebunk. He hovered over my head, about 4 feet up, making sure I was aware of his displeasure at my being in the vicinity of the nest. I was just there hoping to photograph dragonflies around the pond and had no designs on his family…but, since he took such interest in me, I had to photograph him. 🙂 Fair is fair. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Spangled Skimmer

Spangled Skimmer: Day Brook Pond, Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, Maine, USA — The Spangled Skimmer is one of my favorite dragonflies to see in flight. The white stigma near the wing-tips reflect the sun and draw intricate spirograph patterns around the moving dragon. (Do they still make spirographs? I had hours of fun with mine as a child.) And, like most skimmers, they perch nicely for photos. This one landed closer than the 1440mm zoom on the Nikon B700 will focus so I had to back to to about 1000mm for this shot. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Calico Pennant

Calico Pennant: Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I find that I have to remind myself that, after the first dozen or so, I do not have to photograph every Calico Pennant I see…not even every male or every female Calico Pennant. There is such a thing as enough all ready with the Calico Pennants. Out at Day Brook Pond, a particularly health little “improved” beaver pone on the Kennebunk Plains, they are certainly abundant every year at this time, and will be present in smaller numbers all summer and into early fall…though I think they might be at their biggest and most robust right now. It seems to me that the later in the season, the smaller and less intense the Calico Pennants, but that may be a trick of my imagination. What we have here are one female and two male Calicos. One male is in classic Pennant pose, and the other is sun posting (obelisking) on what was our second day over 90 degrees in June so far. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Four-spotted Skimmer

Four-spotted Skimmer: Kennebunk Bridle Path, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — As I said yesterday, it was definitely a skimmer day, with Painted, Twelve-spotted, and Four-spotted all in flight over the little pools in the marsh along the lower Mousam River here in Kennebunk. This is two shots of the same 4-spot. Nikon B700 at 2880 (2x enhanced digital zoom) and 1440mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Painted Skimmer

Painted Skimmer: Kennebunk Bridle Path, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — It was a skimmer kind of day, or perhaps just skimmer season, at the little brackish pools in the marsh along the lower Mousam River here in Kennebunk yesterday. I had Twelve-spotted, Four-spotted, and Painted Skimmers from the same spot along the Bridle Path. The nice thing about skimmers, from a photographer’s point of view, is that they occasionally perch long enough for a shot…the hard thing about skimmers is that they generally perch on the top of a tall thin stalk waving in the wind. These shots are at 1440mm equivalent with the Nikon B700. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Jack-in-the-pulpit

Jack-in-the-pulpit: Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, Wells, Maine, USA — taking a break from lupines for a day 🙂 I know of one place where I might find Jack-in-the-pulpits growing “in the wild” but have not gotten there yet this year. This plant is from the small and very overgrown demonstration garden (some ranger’s, or more likely, summer intern’s, good idea from several years ago, now pretty much abandoned) at the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters buildings in Wells Maine. The Jack-in-the-pulpit is a very strange flower…with a very strange name…but I am always delighted to find one growing where I can photograph it. Nikon B700 at about 80mm equivalent with Macro setting. Program mode with my standard birds and wildlife settings. -.3 EV. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Harvester in the lupines

I did warn you that you would have to suffer a lot of lupines now that they are in season here in southern Maine. 🙂 This harvester (I think it might be called a “hay rake”) has been sitting photogenically in the corner of this field of lupines for as long as I have been photographing the yearly lupine show…and that is many years now. It might look antique but I think it is a actually functioning piece of machinery and gets used yearly when they cut and bale this field. I think. Maybe. I can only think the farmer leaves it out in the field for purely aesthetic reasons…because, like the lupines themselves…it looks really good in that field…and in combination with the lupines it makes for some very compelling photographic opportunities. There is a kind of path where other photographers have broken down the lupines trying to get out to the machine for close up shots…I choose to use a long lens and save wear and tear on the lupines. I appreciate the generosity of the farm family that maintains this lupine field, and that, so far, has never objected to my photographic visits…or, as far as I know, the visits of hundreds of other photographers who know about the field or chance on it…and I chose not to repay that generosity by trampling the lupines. That kind of thing too often gives photographers a bad name. Nikon B700 at 117mm equivalent (not that long a lens :). Program mode. Vivid Picture Control. Low Active-D Lighting. -.3EV Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Bee in the Lupines

The lupine stands, of course, attract large numbers of bees and other pollen feeding insects. This large bee was among hundreds working the patch. You can see by the swollen pollen sacks on the hind legs that life is good for the bees among the lupines. And, of course, the bees are doing their part to ensure another crop of lupines in this meadow next year. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode. Vivid Picture Control. Low Active-D Lighting. -.3EV. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Lupine time

It is that time of year again and you will have to bear with me as I get the Lupines out of my system. 🙂 This meadow, the best display I know of in Southern Maine, is about 10 miles from my home, 20 miles round trip on my electric recumbent trike, and a pleasant journey that also includes a stop at Emmon’s Preserve for dragonflies or whatever else is on offer. The Lupines are definitely the star of the show in early June. What we have here is three different perspectives on the same scene from the same spot. 18mm wide angle with the iPhone SE2020 and the Sirui 18mm lens, and then at about 110mm and 580mm equivalents with the Nikon B700. It is a good show indeed this year. 🙂 iPhone shot with the standard camera app on auto. Nikon shots, Program mode, Vivid Picture Control, -.3 EV. Processed in Apple Photos, with Polarr on the Nikon shots.

Cooper’s Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I was at the little drainage pond at Southern Maine Health Care in Kennebunk, photographing mostly dragonflies, when the resident pair of Red-winged Blackbirds suddenly increased their racket. The male in particular seemed upset, and his high pitched alarm calls were echoed by an even higher pitched call that I thought might be a Cowbird…but I had not seen any Cowbirds around the pond. Suddenly a big bird burst out of the dense little evergreen at the pond’s edge, where it had obviously been sheltering from the RWBB’s attentions, and dove into the birch cluster above the RWBB’s nest. The RWBB was on it in seconds, and it flew out and across the parking lot to one of the ornamental trees. Cooper’s Hawk! By shape and size and what little feather pattern I caught in flight. The RWBB was not giving it any rest, and before I could get the camera on it, it flew back across in front of me and landed up under the eves of the forest abutting the pond, about 40 feet from me. I had been using full 1440mm equivalent on the dragonflies, so I was zoomed in way to far, but I got off a couple of shots, and then attempted to zoom back for the full bird. By then, though, only seconds later, the RWBB had moved the hawk on again, and this time escorted it out across the parking lot until it disappeared into the trees behind the shopping center an eighth of a mile back out toward Route 1. So what I have is a grab shot head shot of the bird. Not a bad shot considering. And a Cooper’s Hawk is always a good bird to see. 🙂 Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode with what are becoming my custom birds and wildlife modifications for this camera (Program, Vivid Picture Control, Low Active-D Lighting, Medium movable spot focus, -.3EV exposure compensation). Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.