a blog about what interests me! birds, baskets, butterflies, moths, biking.............

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Birding while Kayaking!

    You can't bird while driving a car. You can't bird while riding a bike. Unless of course you put on the brakes, but you have to be careful there's no one behind you. But, you can easily bird while kayaking, no need for brakes, just stop paddling and grab the binox!

    That's me in the weeds at Manning Lake in Gilmanton, NH.

    The last time I kayaked Manning, there were 4 loons, this time there were 3.

    There was also a ring-billed gull sitting atop a post in the middle of the lake.

    Back in Vermont, there was a record number of Great Egrets at Herrick's Cove in Bellows Falls.We saw 2 in the river/marsh area, then 3 flew over to join them and in the direction they came from, there were 7 more in trees. 12 in all!

    A green heron on a half-submerged log posed for a picture.

   or  2

    These lily pads floating on Mannng Lake were gorgeous! They were very small, probably 2 or 3 inches in diameter, a lovely green above and a rich crimson below.

    Under the water was pretty cool as well. This shot was taken pretty close to the lake's edge.

Monday, July 19, 2010


   I've been photographing all the butterflies in my garden this year. Even though they're all common varieties found in southern Vermont, you can't help but be struck by their beauty.

The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is probably the most common and easiest to photograph as this butterfly lingers a long time on the flower.I don't know if it's a coincidence but most of the butterflies I've photographed are on Echinacea flowers.

    The Black Swallowtail is certainly the most dramatic!

   Monarchs are pretty scarce this year, this is the first one I've seen. I let milkweed grow in my garden to attract them.

   The Painted Lady is another really gorgeous butterfly, open or closed.

   The Great Spangled Fritillary is another large butterfly that's pretty common in my garden.

    A much smaller butterfly is the Pearl Crescent, one of our more common meadow species who also likes to visit the flower garden.

    Here's a pretty tattered Red Admiral.
   This is a Silver Spotted Skipper. I chased him around but couldn't get a picture with his wings open.  

   The Common Wood Nymph is another who wouldn't pose with his wings open.

    A pretty yellow butterfly is the Clouded Sulphur.
    This butterfly is the Northern Pearly Eye. It is not attracted to flowers, rather it favors willow or poplar sap, carrion and scat. It often perches on tree trunks or in this case, sitting on a stump.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Loons on Manning Lake

    On day 2 of my New Hampshire visit, we kayaked around Manning Lake in Gilmanton. For years, Rose has seen a common loon pair, who've nested and raised young. This summer, she saw 3 adult loons hanging out together. When we arrived we saw 3 adult loons in the lake but heard another one in the reeds. That haunting call of the loon is beautiful!

   Loons are water birds, only going ashore to mate and incubate eggs. Their legs are placed far back on their bodies, allowing efficient swimming but only awkward movement on land. One loon was flying overhead, circling the lake until it landed with the others. You can really notice the trailing feet when they fly.


Bike ride NH and ME

   I visited friends in New Hampshire this week. I graduated from UNH in Durham and had lived in York, Maine in the 70s and 80s, so Rose and I decided to do a long bike ride through familiar territory. It was going to be a hot day so we started early in Durham, where we rode over the Scammel Bridge into Dover Point, then into Dover. Our first photo op was at this bridge over the Piscataqua River. You can see how hazy it was but it was cool.

   We crossed into Maine, going through Eliot, South Berwick and into North Berwick where we stopped for a photo op in front of the house Rose and David used to own.

   From here we headed to Ogunquit, along the way going through the tip of York and the bottom of Wells. We rode along the coast, the sun was out now, it was getting hot but there was a cool ocean breeze (a headwind) but better than nothing! We rode along Shore Road through York Cliffs, then Cape Neddick into York Beach, detouring to visit Nubble Light, probably the most photographed lighthouse in Maine.

We rode along York Beach into York Harbor and finally York where we just couldn't resist this photo op!

   Back along the coast through Kittery Point and into Kittery where we crossed the Memorial Bridge into Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

   Through Portsmouth into Newington, via the former Pease Airforce Base then over the bridge into Dover Point, over the Scammel Bridge and back to our car. 65 miles! A great ride!!!!!!!
      I did bring my binoculars, the only notable bird was a female common eider.