Sunday, July 27, 2008

Moving At The Speed Of Summer

I've had enough of trying to fight the summer. Instead of fighting it, I'll just move at the speed that the summer dictates.

I've taken the same approach with my summer birding. Instead of struggling to find the birds, I'll let them find me. On Saturday, I visited the Pine Brook Bog in East Hampton. When I first arrived, there didn't seem to be many birds around. Great Blue Herons, a few Wood Ducks, and an Eastern Phoebe were the only species to get my attention. I leaned back against my truck for a few minutes and listened to a New York sports station as the callers talked about the Yankees and Red Sox Series that is going on this weekend. That's when I noticed a big, dark, butterfly playing hopscotch across the sandy soil. I didn't come looking for butterflies but the butterfly was there. So why should I ignore it? I don't know much about butterflies but I do recall someone telling me last year that this particular species is a Spicebush Swallowtail. Feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken.
After watching the butterfly for a while, a dragonfly landed on my antenna. I'm probably less interested in dragonflies than I am in butterflies. After all I'm looking for birds-right? The thing is, with the current heat and humidity , I was not about to go bushwhacking through the woods. At the same time I was listening to callers arguing about the Red Sox and Yankees on the radio, two dragonflies were fighting to gain position on top of my truck antenna. I'm not sure what species these dragonflies are. I think the top and bottom photo might be the same species even though they look very different because of the variation in lighting.
This one almost looks like it has a smile on its face is it happy because its summer or because it won the battle for control of the antenna?
Do you know what species of dragonfly this is?

I never did get very close to the birds this weekend.
How many Great Blue herons can you find in this photo?

I never seem to be able to get close-up photos of Belted Kingfishers. I'm thinking that this is a male because it doesn't show the rusty orange color on the breast that the female has. Most of the time it's the males that end up with the flashy colors so Belted Kingfishers are different in that way.
I also made a visit to The Rocky Hill Meadows which is a series of farm fields along the Connecticut River. Unfortunately for me, the roads were flooded out from all the rain we had . For the next couple of months, the meadows are a great place to observe migrating shorebirds. I took a short walk along a nearby trail there and was scolded by a House Wren. It didn't take much convincing for me to turn around and head back to my truck.
On the way back, I came across a nice patch of black raspberries. Shortly after I took this photo, the raspberries mysteriously disappeared.
click to play
I made a brief visit to the Portland Fairgrounds this morning. I was impressed with the the swarm of swallows feeding on the wing as they skimmed across a giant rain puddle. I'm not very good at trying to identify swallows that are in the midst of flight. The usual species at these fairgrounds include Tree Swallows, Northern Rough-winged Swallows, and Barn Swallows.

click to play
I caught these Barn Swallows in the middle of a conversation but it looks like one of them is doing most of the talking.
So that was it for this weekend. A few birds, a couple of dragonflies, one butterfly and a bush full of fruit- (I'm not taking a crack at our president-I would never say that Bush was full of fruit). I put in minimal effort and just enjoyed watching whatever happened to be in front of me at the time. Summertime and the living is easy.


Mary said...

That's the way to go, Larry. Summer offers what it can. Red Sox or the Yankees? Whatever.

With few birds, summer offers dragonflies, butterflies, and hummingbirds. (Here at home). It's been a pot of non-luck with birds this summer but...a visit to the big pond is entertaining now and then and I know you take advantage of every opportunity.

Hey, RELAX and enjoy whatever attaches to your antenna. I want to add that I'm so freaking jealous of your swallows. OSSUM.


troutbirder said...

A fruitlike Bush would be too kind. I like the summer approach your've adopted. I think I will try it.

Jayne said...

Summer has been lazy and hazy here as well. Fewer birds at the feeder, scorching heat, and just being quiet and listening more instead of seeking. Great post Larry. :c)

Ruth said...

I see three GBHs but there could be more. I look across the swamp near our home and see maybe one or two and then use my binoculars and they jump out. There were 10 last week one evening. I am enjoying butterflies and dragonflies this year. Yours is a beauty!

Mongoose said...

I can never get close-ups of the kingfishers either, they don't seem to sit still long enough for the zoom to extend. Can't wait for my new camera!

Larry said...

Mary-Thanks-The Swallows are prety cool aren't they.-Usually pieces of garbage off the side of the highway attaches to my antenna.

troutbirder-I messed up that little play on words by leaving a word out.-oops!

Jayne-Thanks-we agree on that one.

ruth-You found them!-I noticed three also.

mongoose-Hope you enjoy your new camera.-I'll look forward to getting a better camera some day.

Lana Gramlich said...

I really enjoyed this post!
Yes, that's a spicebush swallowtail butterfly--we have them in my neck of the swamp, too. Can't help with the dragonfly, unfortunately. Thanks for bringing me along on your hike today--I had a great time. :)

Kathie Brown said...

Larry, those videos are amazing. I love the talking barn swallows! I could hear the blue jays calling in the backround of the other one, a sound I miss here in AZ. Looks like a successful summer weekend to me!

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

It IS time to let summer dictate our speeds! I feel the same.

Love your kingfisher- I've never gotten a photo of one of those buggers.

Where did the berries go?

You first swallow video is really realaxing, kind of mesmerizing to watch.

The second swallow video OBVIOUSLY shows Mom chewing out the family for leaving their clothes on the floor, not putting their dirty dishes in the dishwasher, leaving shoes in the middle of the hall, not putting their junk away... I mean what is she- a MAID?

Larry said...

lana-Thanks-I got word from someone that the dragonfly is most likely a juvenile male Blue Dasher.

Kathiebirds-Thanks-You've got plenty of nice birds out that way.-The swallows are interesting to listen to.

Lynne-I want a really good kingfisher photo or video-something to work on.

-I may have eatn the berries-I don't remember now-Saturday was so long ago.

Nice take on the swallow video-I got a chuckle out of that one.

Marie Louise said...

Hi Larry - I would definitely take advantage of any flying creature that comes your way. I very much enjoyed the photos of your insects as well. What a beautiful butterfly - and dragonflies are downright prehistoric!

Unknown said...

When life gives you butterflies, photograph them. Or some such.
I tried a bit of birding last week in Iowa but by the time I got out the heat was on and the birds were getting lazy.

Leedra said...

This is how you get started on photographing things you have not been interested in before. I agree the butterfly is a Spicebush Swallowtail. No idea on the dragonfly, but really like the 1st photo of it.

Nan said...

I love the swallow videos. The second one seemed like a stern old-fashioned father giving a lecture to uninterested children, finally getting disgusted and flying away.:<)

Larry said...

marie louise-Glad you liked the photos.I'm not a photographer but I have watched some photographers at work.-They sem to be able to visualize what will make a good photo before they actually take the picture.

Sarala-With ur past heat wave, I was getting lazier than the birds but with the cool weather coming back-I'll be ready to do do some more intense birding.

leedra-Thanks-One nice thing about dragonflies is that they usually stick around to take a photo of

nan-Nice characterization! I'm not sure what the bird was saying but there was definitely some communication going on there.