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.
It is just about Ebony Jewelwings time of year again. After my encounter with the River Jewelwings a few weeks ago (here), I went back to the rapids on the Batson River on Saturday to check for early Ebonys, and there were indeed a number of males dancing over the rapids and pools. All Ebonys, no River…which is, I think, an interesting thing to note. And I found no females, either near the river in the forest, or in the meadows. Maybe next week. There is, of course, nothing like the iridescent blue/green of the Ebony Jewelwing’s body…sometimes bright blue and sometimes bright green, depending on the angle of the light.
The center image is from the Sony HX90V and the surrounding images are from the Nikon P900. All are processed in Lightroom and assembled in Coolage. Coolage is such a great program for this kind of panel!
I took a photoprowl around the meadow loop at Emmons Preserve (Kennebunk Land Conservancy) yesterday morning. I was looking mostly for dragonflies, and on a somewhat tight schedule as I had to have the car back. One of the first dragonflies I saw was what I thought was a female Ebony Jewelwing, and up at the top of the meadow I photographed several…enough to inspire me to make a quick mile hike through the forest to the little set of falls on the Batson River where the males hang out. And there were males, hovering, dancing, and darting right over the rapids where the fall enters the pool, where I have seen them every year. I was a bit bemused though, as it is at least a month earlier than I have ever seen Ebony Jewelwings at Emmons Preserve…and this in a spring that is running late, even as we approach summer. Of course when I got back to the computer and processed the images I realized that they were not Ebony Jewelwings at all…they were River Jewelwings…a species I have never seen at Emmons, or anywhere else! The difference is that the Ebony Jewelwing has a completely back wing (bright black in the male, if that is a possible construction, and dull black in the female), River Jewelwings have black only at the tips of the males wings, and the female wings are smoky overall with perhaps a bit of darkening at the tips…though I could not observe any darkening at all. River Jewelwings! On my patch!
Nikon P900 at 550mm equivalent field of view. 1/250th @ ISO 100 @ f5. Processed and cropped for scale in Lightroom.
It is always exciting for me to find a new bug…especially one as beautiful as this Aurora Damsel. It is a member of the Pond Damsel family, along with Bluets, Dancers, and Forktails, but in this pose (typical) it looks more like a spreadwing because of the way it holds its wings. It’s markings are so unique though, that, once identified for the first time, it is hard to mistake it for anything else. It is simply one of those bonuses of photographing nature that it landed on the buttercup, and stayed long enough for me to capture it. 🙂
(The red dots on the back of its head are reflections of the sun, not part of its pattern.)
Olympus OM-D E-M10 with 75-300mm zoom. 1200mm equivalent (600 optical plus 2x digital extender). Processed in Snapseed on my tablet.
I leave this afternoon for a week of travel in Germany, Austria, and maybe a day in Hungary, so these posts may be erratic over the next few days. It is hard to predict how much wifi I will have, and I can not afford a lot of data on my phone. We shall see. I hope to have abundant photo ops, but it is mainly a business and birding trip (or maybe I should say a “business of birding” trip).
This is an immature female Eastern Forktail. Eastern Forktails are among the earliest Odonata to fly in the spring, and they are certainly all the action around the ponds in Kennebunk right now. I am wondering if a few overwinter, or migrate in early in the spring from locations where they can overwinter, since I am seeing fully pruniose females along with the immatures and the males. I do not think they have been flying long enough here to have developed the degree of pruniosity that I am seeing. ?
Olympus OM-D E-M10 with 75-300mm zoom. 600mm equivalent. Shutter preferred. 1 /640th @ ISO 250 @ f6.7. Processed in Snapseed on my tablet.
And for the Sunday Thought. I gave at least a few moments extra thought to what image I wanted to leave you with as I start my European adventure. Something homey? Something particularly Maineish? And in the end, I am not sure why this image is appropriate. It just felt right. It speaks to me. I hope it speaks to you. And that is, at its best, what photography does. It communicates at a non-verbal level, without the need for words…for analysis…almost, one might say, without the need for reason. Vision to vision. My vision to your vision. Pure and simple. In that sense, is it, somehow, more of a spiritual communication? Of course, I am ignoring all the technical apperatus…camera…software…etc…and the considerable technique involved in producing the image. Certainly, on some level, the process of photography is as complex as reasoned argument, or certainly as complex as day to day discourse. Perhaps it is not that photography is a more spiritual medium…it is that, too often, we forget that any communication is spiritual. My spirit to your spirit. Pure and simple. Happy Sunday!
And do watch for whatever I am able to post from Europe.