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.
Song Sparrow, Emmon’s Preserve, Kennebunkport, Maine, USA — I went out to Emmon’s Preserve yesterday looking for dragonflies and whatever else I might see…and found numbers of Song Sparrows around the edge of the big meadow behind the Land Trust building. This one was particularly perky and posed nicely for me. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
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.
Ebony Jewelwing, Emmon’s Preserve, Kennebunkport, Maine — As it happens I am better acquainted with ebony, the wood, than most. I apprenticed for six months with a violin bow maker, and spent most of my time making “frogs”…the part of the bow at the end where you grip that holds the hair and moves to adjust the tension of the bow. The frog is made of ebony. So when I tell you that the wings of the Ebony Jewelwing have a texture very close to real ebony, you can believe me. Both have the subtle “grain” of just lighter streaks…which is hard to capture in a photo. It took some fancy luminance masking in Polarr to bring up the texture in the wings in this photo, without throwing the rest of the exposure all out of wack. No credit to me. Polarr makes it easy. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
I was hunting for dragonflies at Emmon’s Preserve in Kennebunkport, Maine, when this Song Sparrow popped up beside me, just above eye-level and practically within arms reach. It proceeded to chitter at me. It did not burst into full song…but it definitely wanted my attention, so I gave it. We had a little face off over the next few moments. It changed perches but still seemed to regard me with some interest. Not sure what was going on there, but it was interesting. I am not about to ignore simple gifts…and this song sparrow so close was just that! Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Eight-spotted Forester and White-striped Black Moths, Emmon’s Preserve, Kennebunkport, Maine, USA. I went out to Emmon’s Preserve yesterday on my eBike, to see about early dragonflies, but mostly to see if the field of Lupine up the road from there was in full bloom yet. I found these two moths in one corner of the meadow above the Land Trust buildings. Two little back moths. There were quite a few of the White-striped Blacks, but I only saw the one Forester. I had to look them both up, as they were new to me. They are distinctive enough so that it was an easy search on the internet. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
There is a poem that goes with this:
I went out for Trout Lily today.
Lily season in the Maine woods,
and I was inspired by photos
posted by other stay-at-home
friend photographers around
the country. I braved the Black
Flies (that’s me risking, truth to
be told, a severe allergic reaction),
pedaled almost 10 miles to the
trail head in Emmon’s Preserve,
hiked in and there they were,
right where I expected them…
clusters of bright yellow flowers,
nodding, showing the red-orange
on the backs of their petals, over
dark green brown-dappled leaves.
Perfection. I took, as you might
expect, a lot of photos, and made
it down to the river to check the falls,
then walked back to the bike and
peddled the 10 miles home.
That’s it. Trout Lily mission
accomplished for 2020, despite
the pandemic’s best efforts.
There have been a few years where I missed the Trout Lilies altogether, because they always bloom so much earlier than I expect. I was happy to be prompted by friends in Concord, New Hampshire, inland and slightly south of us, where the lilies were in bloom a week ago, and by photos from other parts of the country. And, as a bonus, we had temps in the 60s and on and off sun yesterday. Perfect to get out on the ebike. Sony Rx10iv at 24mm equivalent. HDR mode. Nominal exposure ISO 100 @ 1/250th. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
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.
The Common Whitetail is not a particularly elegant dragonfly, and, true to its name, it can be among the most common dragons on the wing in early summer, but it is still a fascinating creature. This, taken at Emmon’s Preserve in rural Kennebunkport, is an immature male, which has not developed the pruinose on the tail that will turn it white with time. (Pruinosity is a waxy power that forms on the surface of the dragonfly.) Females don’t have the solid black bars across the wings. This one was posed so nicely for a perfect portrait shot. Sony RX10iv at 1200mm equivalent (600 optical plus 2x Clear Image Zoom). Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
I have been seeing Tiger Swallowtails in the forest for several weeks now, and not been able to get one to light long enough for a photo. I have pretty much stopped chasing them. Yesterday, this one was sipping minerals on Gravely Brook Road near Emmon’s Preserve in rural Kennebunkport. I have had success in similar situations in the past, so I stopped my ebike and, with patience, caught it several times in several different poses. Since we are here in Maine, at the northern edge of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail range, and the southern edge of the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail range, it is impossible for me to tell which it is. It might be possible for someone who really knows…but not for me. Canadian is supposed be, on average, smaller than Eastern…but with a single specimen size is hard to judge. All I know is that it is big and bright and beautiful! Sony RX10iv at 1200mm equivalent (600 optical plus 2x Clear Image Zoom). Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.