The early Odes are finally emerging (or arriving) in southern Maine. This is somewhat worn (so migrant) male Painted Skimmer from Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area in West Kennebunk. I saw it over the pond first, with its wings flashing orange in the sun, and tracked it down to the shallow end of the pond to find its perch. I waited it out through several hunting sorties out over the pond but it came back to the same twig and I worked my way closer until I got this shot at 840mm equivalent (1.4x Smart Zoom). Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
They have put up two new Wood Duck boxes at Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, complete with sheet metal shields below to protect the nests from predators…but as you might expect, the Tree Swallows have taken both. Hopefully, if Wood Ducks decided to nest there, they will evict the swallows. 🙂 In the meantime the swallows seem happy with their new accommodations. The nice big door/window makes an ideal perch to survey the world. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
On my ebike photoprowl to the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area on Sunday, though I was looking mainly for Odonata and wildflowers, I did see a few birds around what I call Day Brook Pond. The pond has no name on the maps, and there are two ponds on the Plains. The other pond, slightly larger, is generally called Kennebunk Plains Pond on maps, though it is perhaps more properly Cold Brook Pond, so I call this pond “Day Brook” pond. It is an active beaver pond that has had a man-made dam added near the headwaters of what becomes Day Brook. But the birds: Two warblers and two sparrows. In the panel we have a Pine Warbler and the best shot I could get of a Canada Warbler that was skulking along the immediate shore of the pond. And then an American Tree Sparrow from the pines along the pond and a Vesper Sparrow from further out in the plains. Both Tree and Vesper were part of small flocks. (There were also Tree Swallows and Robins around, but I did not bet photos.) I rarely see either the Pine or the Canada Warbler around Kennebunk (in fact the Canada may be a first in Maine for me), and I have only seen Tree and Vesper Sparrows on the Kennebunk Plains. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed and cropped in Polarr.
I apologize to those of you who don’t like snakes…but I think this is the largest Northern Water Snake I have ever seen and deserves some celebration. I was looking for Odonata and wildflowers along the edge of the pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area in West Kennebunk when I spotting this snake swimming along the edge of a little peninsula-like extension of the shore about 10 yards from me. It proceeded to turn and swim right toward me, across the shallow little bay full of vegetation, passing in front of me at a about 10 feet. It had to be 6 feet long and maybe 4 inches through its thickest section. A big water snake. I was busy zooming in and out to frame the snake and I shifted my feet on the spongy moss underfoot. It disappeared in a sudden dive under the vegetation…so I am pretty sure it had not been aware of me until just that moment. Sony RX10iv at 600mm and 244mm equivalents. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and assembled in Framemagic.
As I mentioned in my previous Lady Slipper post, I do know of a few scattered and more isolated areas where the Pink Lady Slipper blooms here in Southern Maine, besides the reliable clumps along the trail at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquaters. There are always a few along the edge of the pond on the Kennebunk Plains…and these are the only ones I know of that are growing in full sun (at least part of the day). This an in-camera HDR shot with the Sony Ultra Wide, 18mm equivalent lens on the Sony a5100…and it puts the Lady Slipper in context. The flower is about 8 inches from my lens, and I used selective focus to focus on it, but the extreme depth of field of the ultra wide renders a scene rich in texture and detail. It would make an excellent 16×20 print to dominate a wall! Processed in Polarr.
While looking for dragonflies and Wood Lilies the other day at Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area in West Kennebunk, Maine, I heard this Downy Woodpecker on the birch and went looking for it. We have Downies in our back yard, of course, and they come to the suet feeder all the time…but it is always special to encounter them “in the wild”, so to speak. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. -.3EV. 1/1000th @ f4 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr.
There is an interesting story behind this image of British Soldier Lichen, taken on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area in West Kennebunk Maine. I was feeling the itch in my shutter button yesterday. It was a strange winter day, with temperatures in the low 50s and snow still on the ground and I thought it would be a waste to stay inside, so I drove out to the Kennebunk Plains to see what I could see. I thought that with the warm weather and light snow coat, others would have been into the parking areas already and made a way for my non-four-wheel-drive hybrid. When I got there, the parking area was completely flooded. I had not counted on the snow melt, which was in high gear. The parking lot was not only flooded over and ice pack, but it actually had a good sized stream flowing through it…much deeper then I though when I turned in. By then I was committed, and I thought, oh well, I will just drive all the way to the other side to dry ground so I can get out of the car (I only had my winter crocks on, which have air holes and are only 3 inches high anyway). Good plan until, right in the middle of the stream, my front driver-side wheel went through the ice that was under water and the car sloped down until the water was right up to the lower sill of the door. And, of course, there I was, well and truly stuck. There was no way my little hybrid was going to climb back up out of that hole in the ice…and I was still in my crocks, but now surrounded by a minimum of 4 inches of water, and that was on the high side of the car. So I pulled out my phone and called AAA. It took a while to explain the situation, but about 40 minutes later a big flatbed tow truck arrived. By then I had climbed across to the passenger seat and out of the car and waded on tiptoes to solid ground at the edge of the parking lot. Of course I took some photos while I waited for the tow truck. This one, of the British Soldier Lichen (in case you have forgotten), is one of them.
The tow truck driver knew his stuff, and despite almost getting stuck when his back tires also went through the ice, he got the chain on a tow point on the frame and winched the car back to solid ground (or ice at least). From there I was able to back around and get out of the parking lot. No harm done. All part of the adventure. And I can not say enough good about the skill of that AAA tow truck driver!
The Lichen shot is at 1/80th @ ISO 100 @ f5 at 86mm equivalent field of view. Processed in Polarr on my Android tablet.
This little oak tree, along the edge of Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area in West Kennebunk Maine is one of my favorite local trees. I took the opportunity, as someone had been ahead of me from the road to the parking area in the new snow and made a way for the car, to walk into the pond to see it in the snow. We had rain for the last few hours after the snow fell, so the snow on the branches of the tree is pretty much frozen in place. This was early morning, and I assume that after two days of sun now, the branches will be bare again, but catching it at the right moment made for an interesting contrast with the Grey bark of the tree.
Sony RX10iii at 30mm equivalent field of view. 1/1000th @ f4.5 @ ISO 100. Program Mode. Processed in Polarr on my Android tablet.
After a wet snow, ending in fairly heavy rain, I did not expect the snow to last into yesterday, but I woke to temperatures in the teens and bright sun on a snow covered landscape. Photoprowl! It was up in the mid 20s by the time I got out, but the sun was still shinning and the snow, with a hard crust from the rain, glistened everywhere. I knew the rain had washed all the snow away on the coast, so I headed inland just on the chance that someone with a heavier 4 wheel drive vehicle had been into the pull-offs on the Kennebunk Plains. And someone had indeed driven into the Day Brook Pond parking all the way, and left such a good trail that I felt safe trusting the Ford hybrid to it. It might be my last chance to walk into Day Brook this winter, if we get much more snow.
This little pine is on the edge of the pond. I looked up as I passed it, and could not resist the sun coming through on the burdened branches.
Sony RX10iii at 62mm equivalent field of view. In-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr on my Android tablet.
Sometimes a Dragonfly is just too freshly emerged to id…which, at least at my level of experience, is the case here. I think it is one of the Meadowhawks, but it was on its maiden flight and I just can’t be sure which one, or even that it is a meadowhawk. It was very patient with me as I worked my way closer and fiddled with the Program Shift for this macro. I hope it woke up and moved on before the hunting Cedar Waxwings found it. 🙂
Sony RX10iii at 1200mm equivalent field of view (2x Clear Image Zoom). Program shift for greater depth of field. f9 @ 1/60th @ ISO 100. I could not really stop down any more, as there was some wind, and the position was awkward to hold the camera steady. Processed in Lightroom.