You know, changing the clocks, dark until well after coffee time, frost every night…and, in the fields and forest, the Bittersweet fruiting out. You have to suspect that anything that gaudy that grows so prolifically and saps the life out of native trees and overwhelms native bushes is invasive…and indeed, this is Asiatic Bittersweet, and pure bitter for our natural habits…nothing sweet about it. I photographed this plant climbing all over the fence lines at Laudholm Farms in Wells, Maine. iPhone SE with Sirui 10x macro lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.
The leaves are all pretty much off the maples and birches, leaving the understory to carry on autumn alone. This is a mass of Barberry…Japanese Barberry, and unfortunately invasive and well established along the trails at Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farms. Or maybe not so unfortunately, as it turns out. Tom’s of Maine is currently studying the plant to see if they can make an old herbal recipe for throat care from it, as our ancestors did from the once native Common Barberry. We still have isolated clumps of Common Barberry, but after a concerted effort by the CCC to eradicate it as a “wheat rust” host, and the success of the Japanese Barberry invasion, there is not much left…certainly not enough to harvest for a throat spray. It is Barberry root that contains the active ingredient, so maybe Tom’s will solve the Barberry problem at Laudholm over the coming years. They have already funded the removal of thousands of plants and their replacement with Mountain Laurel and Red Cedar (depending on how wet the soil is). Maybe in 10 years this autumn understory color will be no more. We can hope. And untold thousands of throats will thank us (or Tom’s at any rate). iPhone SE with Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.
Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly: Kennebunk and Wells, Maine, USA — The Autumn Meadowhawk is the only dragonfly flying this first week in November here in southern Maine, but there are still fair numbers to be seen, almost anywhere where there is water nearby. The top one was along the Kennebunk Bridle Path where it crosses a more or less fresh water marsh beside the Mousam River. There are always dragonflies there and it is one of my favorite places to look for them. The bottom one was taken in the deep woods at Laudholm Farms, with only a little stream nearby, not a place I would particularly look for any kind of dragonfly. And not only are they still flying, I had a mating pair land on my chest (I was wearing a bight yellow hoodie for hunting season safety and perhaps the color attracted them). Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos and assembled in FrameMagic. ISO 100 @ f4.5 and f4 @ 1/1000th and 1/500th.
We had a lot of rain with this last storm. The neighbor’s yard had a small pond in it, which I have not seen in at least 10 years, the pond along Route 9 south of Brown Street was over its banks, which I have never seen before, and, as you see from the photo, the Branch Brook Marsh right on the Wells Town line was completely under water…and though I don’t have a photo of the other side of the road, it was completely flooded as well, as far as you could see out toward the sea. That is a lot of water. In this shot, which is a short sweep panorama with the iPhone SE and the Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens, if you did not know better you would think you were looking at a lake. The water is only inches, a foot at most, deep over the matted grasses of the marsh. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.
The sun was already behind this bank of oncoming clouds by the time I was on my way back to the car on my last hike at Laudholm Farms. I have never known exactly if those farm buildings just down the hill from the big yellow house and barns that is now home of the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve were part of the original Laudholm Farms, or just a neighbor. When looking at the photo this morning the word that came to mind was “bucolic”…so of course I had to look bucolic up to make sure I was using it right…and because that is just me. (I used to have difficulty looking up the spelling of words in a dictionary, which, as a hopeless speller, I spent a lot of time doing before spell-check was a thing, because I would get literally lost in the words. I would get caught on a definition (often not the definition I was looking for) and have to trace back all its associations and roots…and that of course would lead me to the discovery of new words, which I would have to explore, etc. I could loose a half hour between “thistle” and its spelling. Any day.) So bucolic. “Ox keeper” or “ox herd”…by extension “shepherds” and “herdsmen” of all sorts. And by further association, the countryside in an idealized fashion. The way we would see it in a painting or in this photo. The beauty, the quaintness, the charm, without the awkward barnyard smells and the stinging wind in our face and the chapped lips…if you know what I mean. The sanitized version of country life. So yes, the farm seen from the hill under the racing clouds over the cleared fields and against the backdrop of the forest with its fall colors is bucolic. iPhone SE with the Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.
As I have mentioned several times now, we don‘t seem to have had as much red in our foliage this autumn as I remember in the past. That does not mean, however, that we had had no red at all 🙂 And, what red there is, really stands out! This is at Laudholm Farms in Wells, Maine. iPhone SE with the Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.
I posted a few shots of the Red Squirrel I encountered on the way out of Alwive Pond Preserve, but I did not post any photos of the pond itself. 🙂 iPhone SE with Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos. Alwive Pond is part of the the Alwive Pond Preserve, maintained by the Kennebunk Land Trust, in Kennebunk, Maine, USA. (There seems to be some dispute as to how to spell “Alewife”. Kennebunk Land Trust, the owner of the property, spells it Alewive, which is also the name of a road in the area. The State of Maine spells it Alewife and that is how it is on Apple and Google Maps…except that the Department of Inland Fisheries spells it Alewive when referring to the fish. ?? Apparently I am the only one who spells it Alwive. It is, by the way, when referring to a human, a female brewer, or the wife of a brewer, as in ale wife…when referring to fish, it is a species of herring that runs up rivers and books in the spring, and is harvested with standing cone shaped nets…we see them in the spring here in Southern Maine on some of our rivers. )
Laudholm Farms, Wells Maine, USA — Monarch butterflies are struggling in North America, largely because this plant is struggling. If Laudholm Farms is anything to go by, Milkweed is struggling even where an effort is being made to make space for it. I remember the Milkweed meadow at Laudholm being thick with Milkweed when they first set it aside…but this year there were only a few plants that made it all the way to pods. I am not sure what is going on. On the other hand, it seemed to be a good year for Monarch in Southern Maine. I saw quite a few on the Kennebunk Plains during the Blazing Star bloom. Anyway, I have been fascinated by the silky fluff of Milkweed seeds and the leather hunks since I was a boy. iPhone SE with Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.
If you stand on the bench at the Webhannet Marsh overlook at Laudholm Farms, in the fall, you can see over the reeds to the border of trees in their full autumn splendor. Add a spectacular October sky and there you go! iPhone SE with Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.
What a day! The best that fall 2021 has to offer. Great sky, some color in the trees, and the open expanse of the remnant bog at Laudholm Farms in Wells, Maine, USA. This is a “sweep panorama” with the iPhone SE and the Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. A lotta pixels in there! Apple Camera app. Processed in Apple Photos.