Spotted Spreadwing: SMHC drainage ponds, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Though we seemed to get off to a slow start, it has turned out to be a pretty good summer for Odonata. The little drainage pond at the end of the Southern Maine Health Care parking lot is always productive. There were quite a few Spotted Spreadwings in mating wheels around the pond and I managed to get shots of a few. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode with some birds and wildlife tweaks. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f6.5 @ 1/125th. -.3 EV.
Monarchs and Northern Blazing Star, Laudholm Farms, Wells, Maine, USA — I stopped by the National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farms the other day while out on my eTrike. The staff have planted a native species garden near the entry kiosk and they have a few Northern Blazing Star plants which are exceptionally tall and full, probably because they get watered every day. They are attracting Monarchs. (They also have a field of Milkweed down below the farm buildings so they are working both ends of the Monarch cycle 🙂 Because there was only the one stand of Blazing Star there was a lot of interaction between the Monarchs…that swirling chase they do…and they were often on two sides of the same plant…making for a great photo op. Nikon B700 at ~ 1125mm equivalent. Program mode with some custom tweaks for birds and wildlife. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f5.6 @ 1/250th.
Widow Skimmer: SMMC drainage pond, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Sometimes it is as much about the setting as it is the dragonfly. This Widow Skimmer was guarding its perch from a Slaty Skimmer, which wanted to take it over. The sparkles off the water behind make for a striking photo. I think. Nikon B700. Program at 1440mm equivalent and ISO 100 @ f6.5 @ 1/320th with -.3 EV exposure compensation. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Northern Blazing Star, Kennebunk Plains, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — This one of the denser stands of Northern Blazing Star on the Kennebunk Plains this year. Blazing Star is a fire dependent plant of glacial sand plains and is very restricted by just how little of that habitat remains undeveloped, both in Maine and all across the northern states to the Rocky Mountains. We are blessed that the Kennebunk Plains were kept open, first for wild blueberry production, and then as a Nature Conservancy Preserve, and that it is managed, in part, for fire dependent species like the Blazing Star. Stands like this one are getting harder and harder to find. Having it, basically, in my backyard (a short trike ride away) is very special. I used moderate telephoto, 107mm equivalent, on Nikon B700 to compass the image slight to show the stand to best effect. Program mode. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4.5 @ 1/1000th.
Goldenrod and Northern Blazing Star: Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Now that the heat wave has broken and the air quality is rising here in Southern Maine, I was able to get out to the Kennebunk Plains on my trike to see how this year’s crop of Northern Blazing Star is coming on. As I suspect from early blooms, it is a good year for Blazing Star. From Rt. 99 as you drive by, large sections of the Plains look purple with the flowers standing above the grasses. If you walk out any of the roads (all roads on the Plains are now closed to vehicle traffic, except the short section that gives access to the parking on the south side of Rt. 99) you will find that the stands are mostly not as dense as they look form Rt. 99. They never are, but they are impressive enough as it is. Goldenrod is also in full bloom, and the combination, where they grow together, provides a very striking contrast in color and form. Frame the pair from a low angle against the August sky and you have an image worth remembering 🙂 Nikon B700 at 71mm equivalent with macro engaged. ISO 100 @ f4.5 @ 1/1000th. -.3 EV exposure compensation. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
American Robin, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA — Needs must. After breakfast at our hotel in Santa Fe I had a poke around the parking lots of the adjacent buildings to see what I could find for today. I saw a couple of uncooperative butterflies and this Robin singing in the top of a tree. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Clouded Sulphur: Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Maine, USA — Monarchs are not the only butterflies to be happy to see the Northern Blazing Star in bloom. While there were not as many Clouded Sulphurs as Monarchs, there were still good numbers, and the numbers will increase as the full bloom comes on. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Northern Mockingbird: Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — This juvenile Northern Mockingbird had me going for a few moments. In the excitement of first seeing it and getting off a set of record shots while it was still partially obscured by foliage, I tried to make it into all kinds of other species…with that (abnormally?) long tail and speckled breast…but then it hopped up onto a more exposed branch and I had to settle for a young Mockingbird…especially as I have seen the adults in the area all summer. It was hyperactive and gave me all sorts of poses in the few moments before it moved on. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Monarch Butterfly: Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — More of the Monarchs among the early Northern Blazing Star on the Kennebunk Plains. A study in color contrasts. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Monarch Butterfly on Northern Blazing Star: Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — The first early blooms of Northern Blazing Star are just opening right now. It looks like a very good year for Blazing Star on the Kennebunk Plains as there dense stands of plants about to bloom over wide areas of the plains. Already the insects are gathering. I saw more Monarchs than I have seen in several years yesterday, even in my short hike through one section, as well as a couple of Cloudy Sulphurs and Wood Nymphs, hundreds of Bumble Bees and wasps, and some very large and very loud hornet like things. The Monarchs, in particular, are beautiful feeding on the Blazing Star. For those who don’t know, Blazing Star is a threatened and protected species across most of its historical range, and here in Maine. The Kennebunk Plains are managed, in part, for Blazing Star. I leave on Monday for a week in New Mexico and I hope the full bloom is still going on when I return. Blazing Star and the insects it attracts in August always make for one of my favorites times of year on the Plains. Nikon B700 at 610mm equivalent. Program mode. Spot focus. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.