Green Darner Dragonfly: SMMC drainage ponds, Kennebunk, Maine, USA, June 2022 — Dragonfly activity at the drainage ponds at Southern Maine Medical Center has been low this month until yesterday, when suddenly the air above the ponds is alive with dragons of several different species. Green Darners, the largest of the North American dragonflies, have been back in the area at least since early May, in small numbers, around most ponds. During daylight, Darners are pretty much in constant flight…and they are fast!…so they are particularly difficult to photograph, unless they are mating or ovipositing as they are here. The female is injecting an egg into the waterlogged reed stem below waterline. It will go through up to 13 different morphs, getting larger each time, until it crawls out of the water to emerge as a flying dragon. Since these are mating in June already, they are most likely migrant darners. The nymphs will finish their cycle and emerge in late August or September and head south…where they will mate during the winter, and the next generation will move back north in early spring. The Green Darners we see mating here in southern Maine in July and August are resident darners. They will remain in nymph form for a full year, to emerge in July or August next year. Odd, yes, but it seems to work for the darners. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 160 @ f4 @ 1/500th. Minus .3EV exposure compensation.
I photograph this scene almost every year…some years I have been traveling and missed Iris season altogether, and some years I just get the timing off, but most years I manage at least one stop by the little pond along Rt. 9 between the end of Brown Street and the Wells Town line, while the Iris is in bloom. Some years I hit it on a sunny day with amazing clouds behind the trees. Some years, like this one, the sky is mostly overcast and the light subdued. It is always beautiful. iPhone SE with Sirui 18mm equivalent lens. Processed in Apple Photos.
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.
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. )
Green Heron: Quest Ponds at Southern Maine Medical Center, Kennebunk. Maine, USA — I stopped by the drainage ponds at SMMC here in Kennebunk to check for new dragonflies, and to see if there were any spreadwings. Spreadwings have been noticeably absent so far this season. While there I was surprised when this Green Heron took off from under the reeds and landed on the lone rock in the pond. It sat there for long enough for a series of photos and then took off, likely for one of the other ponds around the edge of the parking lot or for the marshy area between lots. It is the first time I have see a Green Heron at these ponds, but it is first time in several years. It was overcast so not enough light to bring out the green highlights in the wings, but still a handsome bird. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Shutter program at 1/400th. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Slaty Skimmer: Alwive Pond, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I think most dragonflies are beautiful…in a steampunk kind of way…but sometimes dragonfly photography is not all about the dragonfly. This Slaty Skimmer kept perching on the pickerel weed which makes a dense mat in the waters along the shore of Alwive Pond in Kennebunk Maine, and I could not resist taking way too many photos, trying to capture the contrast, both in color and structure, between the dragon and the delicate flowers…it was only in processing that I discovered the beauty of the background…which really “makes” the shot. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Shutter mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Mallard Ducks: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — The golden hour comes earlier and earlier as fall moves on toward winter in southern Maine. This group of Mallards in the marshy area behind Roger’s Pond Park in Kennebunk seem to float on molten gold…and have a touch of gold in the plumage. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 160 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Mallard, Roger’s Pond, Kennebunk, ME, USA — Just a female Mallard…but in an interesting pose and with the rippled reflections of the turning oaks on the water. Sometimes it just all comes together in an unexpected way…and if you happen to be pointing the camera in the right direction you get a shot that goes well beyond expectations. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 320 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
I don’t often feature a landscape for my Pic of the day, but if I am going to, it is most likely in the fall. Autumn in Maine is always (almost) an amazing show of defiance to the coming winter, or homage to the passing summer…and always worth celebrating. This is a favorite spot for fall photos (any season actually)…a little pond along Rt. 9 just north of the Wells Town border, caught here just pack peek color and under an interesting sky. Sony a6500 with the 18mm ultra-wide combo lens set. Program with auto HDR. Nominal exposure: ISO 100 @ f13 @ 1/60th. -1EV to hold the sky. Program shift for depth of field. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Another very common dragonfly all over southern Maine, but especially at the ponds on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area: Slaty Skimmer. Not the most attractive dragon, and very similar to the much more showy (at least in flight) Spangled Skimmer with which it shares habitat. Still, it has an understated elegance all its own. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.