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: 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.
Drasteria moth (probably Shadowy Arches): Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, Maine, USA — I found this little moth fluttering close to the ground along the foot trail at Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area the other day. Some research this morning gets me as far as one of the Drasteria moths, possibly a Shadowy Arches, but I don’t know my moths well enough, or their ranges, to eliminate any of the other Drasterias. I think the Graphic Moth might be more common in Maine, but this one seems to have too much orange. 🙂 If anyone knows better, please leave a comment. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent from about 4 feet. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/640th.
Boreal or Northern ?? Bluets: Day Brook Pond, Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, Maine, USA — There were a lot of Bluets at Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area this week. I can’t say that I examined every one, but they all seemed to be Boreal/Northern by the largish eyespots and general pattern of the abdomen. I am not honestly sure how to distinguish Boreal and Northern from any distance and I am open to correction even there. 🙂 Many were already paired up adn ready to drop eggs. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. It is nice to have a camera in hand again with that kind of reach again so I am not always cropping the center out of my Sony Rx10iv 600mm shots. 🙂 Program mode with auto everything. -.3EV Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Chalk-fronted Corporal: Day Brook Pond, Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — The Chalk-fronted Corporal is among the first dragonflies to take wing in any number in Southern Maine. Day Brook Pond had its share yesterday already. Nikon B700 at 1100-1440mm equivalent. Program mode. -.3EV. The white pruinosity (the chalk-like coating on the throax) really sets off the hydraulics at the base of the wing. All those tiny pumps allow the dragonfly to move and shape each wing, and each segment of wing, independently…giving them an amazing agility in flight.
Vesper Sparrow: Kennebunk Plains, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — This bird was a ways away…captured at 1440mm equivalent with the Nikon B700. It was also very busy, taking a dust bath in the middle of the foot trail out along the woods beyond Day Brook Pond. I would have had trouble identifying it if 1) Vesper Sparrows were not among the most common sparrows on the Plains, and 2) if that distinctive little patch of chestnut feathers on the shoulder was not showing so nicely. Even Google Lens was able to id the bird…if I needed any confirmation. Again, Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode. ISO 100 @ f6.5 @ 1/640th. -.3 EV Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Pine Warbler: Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, West Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Last year we had a Pine Warbler coming to the suet by my backyard photo blind for several weeks. I even have shots of it singing in the branches of the pines over the feeders. This year, at least so far, I have only had a glimpse of one on the suit on our deck. Maybe I have just missed other visits, or maybe our bird has not returned yet. I found this one in full song, responding to another singing warbler further off, on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, along the shore of Day Brook Pond. Both shots have an out of focus branch across the face of the bird, but that is the way it goes when shooting birds in their natural setting. I am always amazed at just how much obstruction you can focus out with a camera…and at the camera’s ability to auto focus through such obstructions. The Pine Warbler’s long high trill is a treat to hear and this bird was not holding back. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent (cropped for greater image scale). Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. I used the selective luminance tool in Polarr to bring up the shadows in this somewhat back-lighted bird. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
I am falling behind…not because I am not posting every day, but because I am taking too many photos 🙂 Not a bad problem to have. Of course a string of rainy days might cure that, but for now, I am going to group this set taken at the same location on the same outing: I rode my trike out to Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains near home here in Maine, to see how spring was coming along. We have the Plains landscape on the way into the pond at 24mm equivalent (all with the Sony Rx10iv, this one with HDR, and the rest with my birds and wildlife modifications to Program), a Northern Water Snake (one of the largest I have ever seen) at 465mm, Dogwood in bloom against a stand of white birch at 24mm, two Painted Turtles sharing what appears to be a tender moment (but probably was not really) at 600mm, and Eastern Pine Elfin at 600mm and about 3 feet (this is a tiny butterfly, about 1/2 inch across). In leaner times I might have stretched this out over 5 posts, as each shot has an interest of its own. (I did already post the Elfin to some of the Butterfly groups on Facebook, but it belongs here too, in the context of the the visit to Day Brook Pond.)
White Wood Aster, Kennebunk Barrens Nature Conservancy, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — September in southern Maine is certainly the season for Asters. There are at least 6 different Aster species in bloom right now…and they are all over, in every kind of habitat. These are, I am pretty sure, White Wood Asters from the Kennebunk Plains, and what looks to be a Honey Bee. You can see that the Bee is harvesting pollen and is already heavy laden just by looking at those bright yellow leggings. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Apple Photos.
Kennebunk Barrens Nature Conservancy, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I had been disappointed in the crop of Northern Blazing Star on the Kennebunk Plains (now known, after the most recent changes in management, as the “Kennebunk Barrens Nature Conservancy”) after the prescribed burn of last September. Northern Blazing Star is an endangered flower, with a very limited range, and the Kennebunk Plains is one of its last strongholds. It is a fire dependent plant, and needs periodic fires to maintain a healthy population. I will admit, I did not know exactly what to expect after the fire, but I was hoping for a bumper crop this year…and we did not see that…at least until the last few days in August. It might be that the bloom was just later than usual due to the fire, or that it was late due to an abnormally dry July and August, but it was certainly late. We had some tropical storm remnants come through the last days of August, with some significant rain, and suddenly there are a lot of Blazing Star in bloom on the plains. Not the best crop I have seen, but better that it looked like it was going to be this year. We also had a sudden influx of Monarch butterflies. This has happened other years, but I am always surprised. This year I have seen, until last week, maybe a half dozen individual Monarchs…few enough to be somewhat worried. Even when the Milkweed was in bloom, there were very few Monarchs to be seen. However, when the Blazing Star finally bloomed, I saw more individuals in one day than in the rest of the summer. It was hard to get a count as they were actively feeding on the Blazing Star and moving from patch to patch, but first impression was that they were every where…and maybe about 20 individuals in the few acres along the shore of the pond there. It makes me wonder were they have been all summer…or if they are newly emerged to match the timing of the Blazing Star bloom?? They were certainly “fresh” looking butterflies. Sony Rx10iv at 24mm equivalent in HDR mode for the landscape, and at 600mm equivalent in Program with my custom birds and wildlife modifications for the butterfly. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.