Monarch Butterfly: Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — More of the Monarchs among the early Northern Blazing Star on the Kennebunk Plains. A study in color contrasts. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Monarch Butterfly on Northern Blazing Star: Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — The first early blooms of Northern Blazing Star are just opening right now. It looks like a very good year for Blazing Star on the Kennebunk Plains as there dense stands of plants about to bloom over wide areas of the plains. Already the insects are gathering. I saw more Monarchs than I have seen in several years yesterday, even in my short hike through one section, as well as a couple of Cloudy Sulphurs and Wood Nymphs, hundreds of Bumble Bees and wasps, and some very large and very loud hornet like things. The Monarchs, in particular, are beautiful feeding on the Blazing Star. For those who don’t know, Blazing Star is a threatened and protected species across most of its historical range, and here in Maine. The Kennebunk Plains are managed, in part, for Blazing Star. I leave on Monday for a week in New Mexico and I hope the full bloom is still going on when I return. Blazing Star and the insects it attracts in August always make for one of my favorites times of year on the Plains. Nikon B700 at 610mm equivalent. Program mode. Spot focus. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Wood Lilies: Day Brook Pond, Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I was surprised to find a few Wood Lilies still in bloom, right along the edge of the forest at the end of Day Brook Pond where it is pretty much always in the shade. They were tall too! Nikon B700 macro focus mode at 120mm equivalent. Shutter program at 1/640th.
Wood Lily: Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — A few more Wood Lilies before the season is over. Again, from the Kennebunk Plains. I did not find any deep red ones yet this year, but this gives a little bit of a sense of the variations on the theme. Nikon B700 at various focal lengths to fill the frame. 3 Macro and one telephoto macro. Shutter program with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Wood Lily, Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I went out to the Kennebunk Plains planning to hike into Cold Brook Pond on the back side of the plains were the land falls away to the Mousam River. Cold Brook Pond is old earth dam, long ago broken, and now maintained only by a family of beavers, so the level varies year to year depending on how active the beavers have been. It can be a good spot for dragonflies that I do not normally see at Day Brook pond on the other side of the plains. Not yesterday. Evidently our cold/wet snap has suppressed the dragonfly flight for the moment, at both ponds. There were, however Wood Lilies on the plain. I was surprised. This is at least a week early for the Wood Lily bloom, and, in fact, it looks like I almost missed it. Many of the flowers were gone by their best and some were dropping petals…but that could have to do with three days of cold rain as well. And perhaps what I am seeing is a “forced” bloom brought on by the 4 days mid-90s weather we had just before the cold snap. ?? Maybe the full boom is still to come in the next weeks. At any rate, I am always delighted to rediscover the Wood Lilys. I know of only a few reliable spots for them, and the Kennebunk Plains has the largest and most accessible concentration. They come in every shade of orange…from pale to almost red…and the amount of yellow at the center also varies. The boom is brief but big and bright! Nikon B700 at about 200mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Grass Pink Orchid: Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farms, Wells, Maine, USA — The Tuberous Grass Pink Orchid is, according to my bit of morning research, among the most wide spread of its genus…occurring in both wet bogs and moist prairies across most of south east Canada and the north eastern US. I found these in the tiny remnant bog that is preserved at the Wells Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farms here in Wells. Both Grass Pink and Rose Pagonia grow there…though the Rose Pagonia seems to be fewer and fewer year to year. The Grass Pink is doing well…and there are many blooms this season. It is a beautiful flower…only about 2 inches across, but growing in clusters on single stems above the moss. As you see, the orchid hangs “upside down” due to the twist in the stem. Nikon B700, telephoto macro at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Long-dash Skipper: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I think. Definitely a skipper, and definitely small, and in southern Maine in June. There are a few it could be and I am no expert, but I think this is a Long-dash. There were numbers flying around the drainage ponds at Southern Maine Health Center in Kennebunk on Saturday when I stopped by looking for dragonflies. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
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.
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.
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.