Posts in Category: Kennebunk Plains

Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhee: Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA, June 2022 — Sorry, this will always be the Rufous-sided Towhee to me, counter-part to the Spotted Towhee of the west. It must have actually been the Eastern Towhee when I started birding, but I started in New Mexico, and my books were probably not the latest editions, so I learned it, on my first birding trips east, as Rufous-sided. By the time I actually moved east, it was fixed in my mind. I have to look it up when I see one, because I do remember that I know the wrong name. I just don’t immediately remember the right one. Strange brain. Anyway, there are, some years, quite a few Eastern Towhees out by the pond on the Kennebunk Plains Preserve…and this is a good year for them. Their songs echo along the whole long pond edge, so there are at least a couple of pairs, and I had both the male and female of this pair in view at the same time. Such a handsome bird! Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixomator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/1000th.

First of the season: Calico Pennant

Calico Pennant Dragonfly: Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA, June 2022 — Calico Pennants are not rare dragonflies in southern Maine. They are pretty common in fact, and they are with us pretty much all summer, but I am always happy to see the first emerging in early June…maybe a bit late this year. I found a few yesterday along the pond edge on the Kennebunk Plains. Their habit of perching on the very tip of vegetation, generally between 6 inches and a foot off the ground, where they swing in the wind like a flag, makes them excellent photographic subjects. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/640th.

Beaver!

Beaver: Day Brook Pond, Kennebunk Plains Nature Conservancy, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — While looking for early dragonflies and damsels at Day Brook Pond, I was delighted to see this Beaver beavering along across the pond, drawing a long wake. I am pretty sure Day Brook Pond has a man-made dam these days, but it was clearly originally a beaver pond and the beavers are still there and still active. You can see their work around the edges somewhere most springs. This one was in a rush to get up into the little inlet half way up the pond. He disappeared behind the near foliage just after I took this shot. Sony Rx10iv at 580mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed and enlarged in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 400 @ f4 @ 1/500th.

Frosted Whiteface

Frosted Whiteface: Day Brook Pond, Kennebunk Plains Conservancy, Kennebunk, Maine, USA, June 2022 — Besides the Damsels from yesterday, a few early Dragons were out at Day Brook Pond. Lancet Clubtails of course, which seem to be the earliest Odo to emerge in Southern Maine (I saw my first the 3rd week in May), but they are now joined by both Chalk-fronted Corporals and Frosted Whitefaces (pictured here in both rear and front view). I even found a just emerged teneral Skimmer…probably a Slaty Skimmer but it was too early to tell for sure. The Frosted Whiteface is so tiny, it makes the Corporals look big! Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed (and enlarged) in Pixomator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/640th and 1/500th.

Pond Damselflies of early June

Pond Damselflies at Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains in early June. Day Brook Pond is one of two ponds on Nature Conservancy and Maine Wildlife Management areas at the Kennebunk Plains (often referred to locally as the “blueberry plains”. It is a remnant sand plain habitat, home to several endangered plant species, one endangered reptile, and a few bird species at the limits of their range in New England. The pond itself is one of the cleanest and healthiest in southern Maine, and home to a wide variety of Odonata…many of which are just emerging now. What we have here is probably a Hagin’s Bluet, followed by two Northern Bluets, two Eastern Forktails, and two pairs of mating Aurora Damsels. All with the Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed (and enlarged) in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos.

Lady Slipper Orchids of 2022

Lady Slipper Orchid: Kennebunk Plains Sanctuary, Kennebunk, Maine, USA, May 2022 — We interrupt our coverage of the warblers and song birds of Magee Marsh in Ohio and the Biggest Week in American Birding to bring you breaking news from the woods of Maine. The Lady Slipper Orchids are in bloom. I went to Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge where they grow along the loop of trail behind the current headquarters buildings, and found them almost too late, and then yesterday took my eTrike out to the Kennebunk Plains to check the extensive stand in a hidden spot in the woods there. Again this year there were well over 500 orchids in bloom, all along the bank where it rises from the stream. The dappled light and shade provide lots of options for photography. These Lady Slippers are among the most healthy I have ever seen (unlike the ones at Rachel Carson which seem to be more faded each year)…intense pink verging on purple depending on the light…tall and stately, and sometimes half a dozen to a bunch. It is an amazing and an inspiring display of this threatened flower. Sony Rx10iv at 68mm (the macro) and 97mm (the wider view). Program mode with HDR. -.3EV. Nominal exposure: ISO 100, f3.5 @ 1/160th and 1/200th.

Mr Mallard

Mallard: Spring Brook Pond, Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Keeping local again today, with this very cooperative Mallard duck from the pond on the Kennebunk Plains. He was not bothered by my presence at all, and both he and his mate came up on the bank while I was standing there. They saw me…they could hardly miss me in my bright yellow triking togs…but they just did not care. This is pretty much a full frame shot at 600mm. The sun was in and out…in here…so the green sheen on the head is not quite as bright. I like the little peak of blue on the wing. Sony Rx10iv. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 160 @ f4 @ 1/500th.

Vesper Sparrow

Vesper Sparrow: Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Most range maps for Vesper Sparrow do not show it as present in Southern Maine, but we do have a population on the Kennebunk Plains not far from me. It is a grassland bird, and the Plains are as close to grasslands as we have in Maine. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr, Pixelmator Pro Photo, and Apple Photos. Assembled in FrameMagic. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/640th.

Flag of fall…

Just above eye-level in forest along the stream above Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains, where the trees are slowly turning in our frostless fall, this small shoot on the trunk of a large maple, caught by the sun behind it, appears as the flag of the fall that is still coming…the banner of autumn. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Apple Photos. ISO 160 @ f4 @ 1/500th.

More fascinating fungi from the pond edge

I found all of these mushrooms growing within 20 feet of Day Brook Pond in the sands of the Kennebunk Plains. I continue to be amazed at the numbers and variety of fungi I am finding this season. Top left is probably Laccaria laccata, or the “scurfy deceiver”, then possibly an Amanita, then maybe a Coltricia, and neither I or my AI assistants can come up with a likely name for the last one, but it might be some kind of “fieldcap”. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Apple Photos and assembled in FrameMagic.