When I visited Emmon’s Preserve in Kennebunkport, Maine at the beginning of July there were just three Ebony Jewelwings enjoying the rapids where the Baston River tumbles down over some rock ledges between two pools…and I felt blessed to find them. On the next to the last day of July there dozens, both males and females. (And I still felt blessed to find them.) The males were busy doing their spinning dance over the water and defending territories, and the females, as is their habit, sat on sunny leaves and watched them. There is nothing quite like an Ebony Jewelwing in the sun. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. There is a poem to go with this, already shared on its own right yesterday. 🙂
The dappled shade is as deep
as ever where the Baston River
(more a brook really) tumbles
peat-brown down rock ledges
between two pools...but the
long dry spell of late July has
shrunk the flow from its loud
spring song to a whisper all
but lost in mossy cover of the
rocks. And still the Ebony
Jewelwings dance over the
tiny rapids, flashing metallic
green and blue beneath jet
black wings as they fly in and
out of the dapple, inches
from the water, spiraling up
to decorate the stream-side
branches where the sun strikes
through. The males circle
each other over the water
in an intricate choreography,
contesting territory, and then
return to perch almost side
by side, a few feet apart, each
safe in his own tiny empire.
But the flash of it, the dance
of it, over the dark diminished
waters of the Baston, here
at the end of a dry July, is
always something to behold.
Ebony Jewelwing: Emmon’s Preserve, Kennebunkport, Maine — This is a surprisingly common pose for an Ebony Jewelwing. They seem to like to light in trees above eye-level and peak down over the edge of a leaf. I have seen them do it on every Jewelwing excursion. I am not sure if they are actually looking at me, since I probably disturbed them in their feeding by the stream, or if the are on the look out for other prey…or maybe, being males, for a likely female. Anyway, it is an interesting pose. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
This is an embarrassingly simple photograph. Just a snap really, of an interesting damselfly: The Variable Dancer. Dancers are delicate damsels, with a wavering, uncertain flight, that, if it reminds me of dance at all, reminds of little girls (or boys) spinning aimlessly on a grassy lawn. But you have to admire the color on this one! They are, as the name implies, variable, so they are not all this purple, but when they are purple, they are very purple. Way to go dancer! I found the one in sand along the shore of Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Nature Conservancy. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Things are really hitting up Odonata wise in Southern Maine here in mid-July. About time! Every little drainage pond and ditch is alive with dragon and damselflies. These damsels are from a fairly large drainage pond on a condo development between Kennebunk and Wells. Male and female Familiar Bluet, and Eastern and Fragile Forktails. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent with enough Clear Image Zoom to fill the frame. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and assembled in Framemagic.
A nice close up view of a male Ebony Jewelwing from the rapids on the Bascom River at Emmon’s Preserve in Kennebunkport. For a few weeks, just now at the turn from June to July, the Ebony Jewelwings are abundant along small streams with rapids and rills all across Southern Maine. Depending on the light they are anything from this deep metallic green to bright electric blue. Sony RX10iv at 600mm optical plus 2x Clear Image Zoom for 1200mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
My first Spreadwing of the season. An Amber-winded Spreadwing, by far our most common here in Southern Maine. These were around the pond at Southern Maine Medical Center here in Kennebunk. I am not sure what the little balls are at the end of the abdomen on the second damsel. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic.
These might be the earliest Ebony Jewelwings I have ever seen in Maine…and I saw them far from the streams where I have seen them in the past. These were along the Eastern Trail…a bicycle and walking trail that will eventually run the length of Maine…and, as part of the Atlantic Greenway, from Florida north. The section from Kennebunk to Biddeford runs along over an existing natural gas pipeline so all they had to do was build a bike and pedestrian bridge over I95. It has been done for several years now. The Jewelwings were fluttering over the trail as I rode my ebike along, and I got stopped in time to track them into the nearby forest for these photos. I find Ebony Jewelwings fascinating…not in the least because of how the color of the metallic body parts changes so radically as the light changes. These, in this light, were showing almost no green. They were an electric blue. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
Though there was not much water coming over Cascade Falls when I visited on Friday last, there were many Ebony Jewelwings over the stream below the falls. They seemed to like to perch in patches of sun on the rocks and broken branches in the stream. There is nothing so shinny as Ebony Jewelwing in the sun. It looks like it is forged in aluminum and anodized green. Even the wings have their metallic sheen.
Sony RX10iii at about 1100mm equivalent field of view. (Optical plus 2x Smart Digital Tel-converter). 1/250th @ f4 @ ISO 100. Processed in Lightroom.
I posed a pic of the Ebony Jewelwing in the shade a few weeks ago, showing the abdomen as a bright metallic blue…but when the bug lights or flies in the sun, it shows as bright green with just a hit of blue. When two males contest territory in and out of the spots of sun over a little rapid in a stream, gyrating around each other, it is one of the more spectacular sights in the world of Odonata.
Sony RX10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. 1/400th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Lightroom.
This is another teneral bug…a newly emerged Aurora Damsel (damselfly). The color will be more bluish when it finishes hardening off into its full adult form, but the pattern on the back is distinctive.
Sony RX10iii at 840mm equivalent (in camera crop at 600mm equivalent). I used Direct Manual Focus to fine tune the focus on the damsel’s head. 1/320th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Lightroom.