Late this morning with the skies partly cloudy and the temperature near 80 F, I made the short drive to the Cilley Family Forest in Greenfield. One of my favorite places to look for odes, this plot of conserved land along Powder Mill Pond (a dammed section of the Contoocook River was once part of the Robertson farm; the Robertson’s) are Joan’s cousins.
I spent about two hours there and walked the road down to the river, the trail along the river to the railroad and along the tracks across the bridge and almost to Elmwood Junction. Of course, I also walked the route in reverse back to my truck!!!
Along the road the most common odes were chalk-fronted corporals; mostly males but a few females were observed. There were not many odes along the shady trail but when I ventured down to the waters edge I found small numbers of damselflies.
Along the railroad bed, the most common ode was an Emerald… that was obvious from the bright green eyes. There were dozens of these critters all along the rail bed, but they were all in constant motion. I watched one individual for more than five minutes patrolling about fifty feet of the rails. It never stopped flying in that interval; very frustrating to this photographer of perched odes!
Finally, shortly after I turned around to head back to the truck, I saw one land and was able to make photographs. The individual I photographed was a female Racket-tailed Emerald (see below) and thus I assume that all of the others I saw were the same species.
After about an hour’s R&R at home to get refueled and re-hydrated I headed out again, this time on foot. By this time, the skies were partly cloudy and the temperature was still about 80 F. I walked up Brimstone Corner Road and down Castor Lane, the road through the Harris Center property near our house. As it was earlier, chalk-fronted corporals were common in every sunny spot along the road. As I neared the spot where the water leaving the beaver pond goes under the road, I was glad to see two Ebony Jewelwings flutter up into the trees. This species is often present in large numbers in the small stream below the beaver dam. Alas, there were no more Jewelwings to be found today; I imagine that it is still a bit too early for them.
However, around to pool below the beaver dam, there were many chalk-fronted corporals sunning themselves on the rocks as well as a few immature male Common Whitetails and a single female Hudsonian Whiteface. There were also several Eastern Forktails of both sexes present in the grass near the pool.
Eventually, I moved on up the road to a sunny and sandy clearing where there are often odes. However, there were none present today. As I was standing there mulling things over, I noticed several small depressions in the sandy soil and thought to myself…. “hmmm, looks like a turtle started to dig a nest”. Looking up, I was surprised to find, not more than a dozen feet from where I stood, a snapping turtle staring up at me! Of course, I made a few photographs; all of which were compromises because of the low, sparse vegetation present in the area.
Eventually, I headed down the road for several hundred feet in search of more odes. However, the mosquitoes were coming out and so I turned around to head back home.
Much to my surprise, again (!), I was met by the turtle ambling up the middle of the road towards me… it had gone about fifty feet from where I first saw it. The turtle froze in its tracks. I dropped to my knees and made several more, very satisfactory photos of the turtle without any plant matter in the way.
After my second turtle encounter, I hightailed home swatting mosquitoes all the way.