Northern Pygmy Clubtail (?): Branch Brook, Kennebunk, Maine, USA. — It is always fun to find a new (to me) dragonfly on my rambles around the back roads of York County Maine. Every time I cross Branch Brook on my eTadpole recumbent trike, which is generally at least once a week as the bridge is on one of my “go to” exercise loops, I think that I should stop and explore the stream for dragonflies…and yesterday, since I was in no great hurry in the unaccustomed heat, I finally did it. I only found two dragonflies, a female Ebony Jewelwing, and this tiny clubtail, which is new to me. Looking at the photos, and considering the location, it is clearly a Pygmy Clubtail, and I am pretty sure it is a Northern. However, the watershed where I found it is one of the few with a confirmed presence of Southern Pygmy Clubtail in Maine, and my AI tools consistently ID it as Southern. To my eye there is more than one strip on the thorax, which, according to Paulson, makes it Northern…but I can not be 100% sure. Anyone who knows better is welcome to chime in. Nikon B700 at 135mm macro and 1440mm telephoto equivalents. Program mode. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Northern Crescent Butterfly: Emmon’s Preserve, Kennebunkport, Maine, USA — I frequently see dragonflies in a mating wheel in flight…mating butterflies less often. It amazes me that mating butterflies, joined as the are back to back, can fly at all, but they do. There were several pairs in the meadows at Emmon’s Preserve when I visited on Sunday. I managed this shot of one with the Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Carol called me from the bedroom where I was setting up for my morning qi gong. I thought she said “I think there is a dead squirrel here…” so I came to look…turns out she said “I think there is a Red Squirrel here…” and, indeed, there was. A highly caffeinated Red Squirrel at that. In the 10 minutes or so it was on our deck, it was everywhere, and into everything…all very rapid…a lightning raid before it scampered off. Red Squirrels must live in the surrounding woodlands, but they only appear in our yard once or twice a year, at least while we are looking. Just as well too, since nothing is safe from a Red Squirrel…we have come to an uneasy truce with our resident Grey Squirrels and Chipmunks (we are host to at least 4 squirrels and what sometimes seems to the hundreds, but is more likely dozens of Eastern Chipmunks), but the Red Squirrel is another beast altogether and no “squirrel proof” feeding solution will even mildly discourage them. Still, they are undeneighably cute with their rusty tail, little round ears and big round eyes…and those little paws…and it was fun to watch one scamper all over our deck and feeders…for a change…once in a great while. Sony Rx10iv at 500-600mm equivalent…through the thermopane glass of our deck door. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. And, of course, before full sun-up so the light was a problem.
Northern Cardinal: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Our neighborhood pair of Northern Cardinals come to our feeders once or twice a day…generally to the feeders out under the pines, but recently more often to the deck right outside our back sliding doors. They are, most often, foraging for spilled seed on the deck and deck rails, but on rare occasions they will settle on the sunflower feeder for long enough for me to get my camera…as in this shot. They will not, of course, allow me to open the door, or even get close to the glass, but if I am careful, again as in this shot, I can have some success shooting through the double pane glass. And of course this was before full sun-up so the light was not the best. With Cardinals I am happy to take what I can get. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 3200 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted): Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farms, Wells, Maine, USA — I started watching birds seriously when we lived in New Mexico, and all my birding habits were formed there, so it is still a shock when I see a Flicker in flight with bright yellow under-wings. 🙂 This one, near the parking area at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farms in Maine, was, as is usual with Flickers, very busy feeding on the ground and had its head down digging for grubs most of the time. I shot a lot of photos of the back of the bird in the grass…to get just a few of the bird with its head up. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Common Green Darner: Sanford Lagoons, Sanford, Maine, USA — Not a great photo as I was at a fair distance and shooting through obstructive foreground plants, but, in my experience, a rare photo. I never…well, almost never…see Common Green Darner perched. They seem to be in perpetual flight, at least during daylight hours. I have a few shots of Green Darner mating wheels, and one of a Green Darner female ovipositing…but this might be only individual I have seen just settled out and resting in many years of looking. And, of course, when I tried to work my way down the bank for a less obstructed view, it was off instantly. Even in flight the Common Green Darner is hard to miss. It is not the largest Dragonfly in North America…the Giant Darner of the Southwest is bigger…but it is certainly the largest we have here in the Northeast, and that green body and bright blue abdomen stand out in almost any light. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Louisiana Waterthrush: Sanford Lagoons, Sanford, Maine, USA — I have known about the Sanford Lagoons (Sanford Sewage Department) for many years…from word of mouth in the birding and dragonfly communities and occasional posts on the internet…but I have only ever visited once, before yesterday. One of the motivations for my switch to the recumbent trike, and then adding electric assist, was to be able to get a bit further out on my frequent explorations, without resorting to the car. The Lagoons are 15 miles from my door, almost exactly, and while I could have ridden the 30 miles round-trip on my upright ebike, those portions of my anatomy in contact with the bike…mostly my seat, wrists, and hands…would not have thanked me by the end of the ride…and it would have kept me off the bike for at least a day after. The recumbent makes it easy, and I still had half a battery charge left when I got home. 🙂 I did not get there until after noon, not the best birding time, but I saw some interesting dragonflies, and a few birds. This was the most unexpected. I was photographing some Cedar Waxwings moving through the tree line at the back of the lagoons when this cheerful bird popped up on a branch just in front of me. Waterthrush! I have only ever seen waterthrushes on very rare occasions…mostly in Ohio at Magee Marsh during spring migration…so it is pretty amazing that my mind supplied at least that much. As to whether it is a Louisiana or a Northern??? Louisiana is the only one on the York County Audubon bird list for Sanford Lagoons, and all 4 of my AI identification aids agree that this is a Louisiana…though I am not certain I could say for sure otherwise. I am sure I do not know the birds well enough to be confident where their range overlaps, as it does…just…here in Southern Maine. We are in the extreme northeast corner of the Louisiana’s range, and well with the range of Northern. All things considered I am calling it a Louisiana until someone who knows better convinces me it is not. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 640 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Cedar Waxwing: Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farms, Wells, Maine, USA — I rode my trike down to Laudholm Farms to check on the bog orchids and was delighted to find that the resident Cedar Waxwings are back and showing along the trails again. This one was evidently an outlier of a large flock that was active where I have seen them before, below the old orchard on either edge of the Maple Swamp. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Bobolink: Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farms, Wells, Maine, USA — I am certain Bobolinks must nest in other fields in Southern Maine, but I find them every year in the big meadow on the crest of the hill at Laudholm Farms. This year they are down over the brow of the hill, rather in the reduced flat to left of the trail were I generally see them…but they are there. Difficult light the afternoon I found them, but still a great bird. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Grass Pink Orchid: Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farms, Wells, Maine, USA — The Tuberous Grass Pink Orchid is, according to my bit of morning research, among the most wide spread of its genus…occurring in both wet bogs and moist prairies across most of south east Canada and the north eastern US. I found these in the tiny remnant bog that is preserved at the Wells Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farms here in Wells. Both Grass Pink and Rose Pagonia grow there…though the Rose Pagonia seems to be fewer and fewer year to year. The Grass Pink is doing well…and there are many blooms this season. It is a beautiful flower…only about 2 inches across, but growing in clusters on single stems above the moss. As you see, the orchid hangs “upside down” due to the twist in the stem. Nikon B700, telephoto macro at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.