Well… I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how WordPress tells you what people are typing into search engines to find your site. “Dragonfly eggs” is a big one that sends people to me. Up until today, I only had one picture of dragonfly eggs. Today, I am happy to report, I have more.
If you were a female dragonfly, today was the perfect day for egg-laying: it was hot and sunny. I took the Program Assistants and counselors out to do a Dragonfly Survey after lunch, and they caught two dragonflies that were just pumping out the egges.
Take a look at this Eastern Pondhawk female. In fact, click on the picture to see the large view. The eggs were pouring out of her!
Later, we hiked over to a different pond where the Meadowhawks were flying. Click on this photo to see a larger view of these eggs… They were spilling out like overproduction on an assembly line in the factory!
(I’ll probably cross-post these photos on my Survey blog some time tomorrow.)
We’re not JUST dragonfly nerds! While we were out, we also saw a Goldfinch nest, and a Monarch Caterpillar.
The counselors at Camp Timbercrest all get to go home on Fridays; they have to return by noon on Sunday. I went down early enough last Friday to see the program for parents, then had to wait while the staff had a meeting before I could take my counselors home. I walked down to the shore of Keyser Lake and found this Monarch probing for nectar from a Swamp Milkweed.
My oldest daughter’s camp name is Butterfly. Like this Monarch, my Butterfly sips nourishment from this camp. Like this Monarch, my Butterfly will be taking flight for parts unknown as summer winds to a close.
Last night, our backyard was filled with family and friends celebrating Emily’s highschool graduation and wishing her well as she prepares to take off for college. Naturally, I have mixed feelings. I will miss her. Yet I know it is time. I will be envious, because I remember how exciting my college days were. I will be worried… but only a little. She’ll do fine, I have no doubt.
Someone asked me recently what my favorite flower is. That used to be a no-brainer for me: Daffodils. I love the dual yellow. They are so bright and cheery after a long winter. They were my favorite… and I still love them.
Still… when the question was asked, my mind started flipping through dozens… maybe hundreds of flowers that I have been photographing over the last couple of years.
I can’t pick just one. Each flower has its own unique beauty and a context for being a favorite. Hmm… do I have a favorite early spring flower? Woodland flower? Field flower? Roadside flower? Garden flower? Cut flower? Corsage/Boutineer flower? Mid-summer flower? Composite flower? Which is my favorite for its color? It’s fragrance? It’s shape? It’s form?
Here’s a little Hall of Fame: Jennifer’s Favorites…
My Favorite Dramatic Flower:
Day Lily in My Garden
My Favorite Flower with Contrasting Colors:
Asters on a Rainy Day at College Park
My Favorite Spring Ephemeral:
White Trillium at Long Point State Park
My Favorite Combination of Pinks:
Crown Vetch at College Park
My Favorite Composite Flower:
Black-Eyed Susan at the Gravel Pit
My Favorite Woodland Flower:
Common Wood Sorrel at Camp Timbercrest
Those are some of my favorites… but be warned… the list is ever changing.
Right now, taking pictures is my obsession. Sometimes I photograph flowers because I’m learning their names and the pictures aren’t anything artisically noteworthy. But sometimes, I find a flower standing in just the right spot, with the perfect background and the perfect light… That’s my favorite.
I’ve been working on my Hike Chautauqua blog a lot lately. I’ve now finished all the parks that are good quick destinations – picnic facilities and short hikes.
The last three County locations are more difficult: 2 overland trails that will take several days to hike… and a 52-mile waterway trail. I don’t have much experience canoeing… so that one will be difficult. Maybe Sue will tackle it with me?
Lately, I never know what to expect on the weekends. It’s hard to make plans. My daughters are both at Camp Timbercrest all summer and come home only on the weekends. My sister is in town from Florida. We try to get The Cousins together as much as possible, but between also trying to see friends, see the latest Harry Potter movie, read the latest Harry Potter book, get shopping done, do laundry, attend everyone’s graduation parties… well… I just sort of wait for my taxi-driver instructions to find out what my day holds. I didn’t know if there would be any time this weekend for tromping around in the woods.
When 7:30 rolled around and two were still sleeping and the other was devouring Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I decided I had time to research another page for my Hike Chautauqua blog. The John Luensman Overview Park has a beautiful view of Lake Erie and a nice interpreted 1 mile trail. It made for a pleasant way to start the day. (I’m still working on the page for that park…) On the way back down the hill, there’s a spot from which you can see both Chautauqua Lake and Lake Erie. I stopped and took several photos and made my first panorama from them:
It’s pretty hard to see the lakes in this small version of the photo. Click on the photo to see a larger view!
When I got home, I learned that I would have to take Emily to a graduation party that just happened to be 2 blocks from Audubon’s Bentley Sanctuary. Cool! I could drop her off, walk a trail, then head back to the party to pick her up. I went to see what wildflowers were blooming and found a few. The Garlic Mustard was valiantly attempting a few more blooms near the stems. There was also Purple Loosestrife near the stream, 2 varieties of Enchanter’s Nightshade, Nipplewort, and some Hemp Nettle, among other things.
My favorite part of the walk, though, was when I came to a bend in the creek and found it swarming with Ebony Jewelwings – a broadwinged damselfly. There were dozens and dozens of them. I found a nice spot on the creek where there was some relatively dry gravel and a log in the sun where several would land at one time. I sat on the gravel in hopes of getting some closeup shots. They didn’t seem the least bit afraid of me. In fact, they kept landing on me. I wish someone had been with me to take a photo of me on the gravel covered with damselflies. I could have sat there for hours.
I sure crammed in a lot of cool nature moments for a day when I didn’t think I’d even have time to get out of the car!
I didn’t sleep well last night. I was kinda dragging after work. Still, I felt the need to take a walk. I went over to the bench on the far side of Big Pond. Saw Great Blue Herons, a Green Heron, Kingfishers, swallows (not sure what kind), and a couple of Bald Eagles. Didn’t have my camera, though. Just as well, since I got rained on on the way out… Soft, gentle, warm rain… didn’t bother me a bit.
After I got home, after dinner… I still felt the need to walk (with my camera this time!)… I checked the radar and it looked like I could avoid raindrops between 7 and 8pm. I chose the Girl Scout Council office property on Horton Hill because it’s mainly open and the light would be better there than in the woods. The bees seemed to be taking advantage of the break in the rain, too… they were all over these purple flowers… some kind of knapweed or thistle, I think.
The red raspberries were ripe and yummy. I ate handfuls. Is there anything more delicious in the world than fresh, ripe, red raspberries?
I couldn’t resist snapping a couple of old favroites: Queen Anne’s Lace and Buttercup.
Summer sure can be beautiful… But I’m still “Winterwoman…”
This week, I don’t have a group of children of my own to supervise. Instead, I’m in charge of the whole camp – overseeing three other counselors and their campers. Yesterday I had to deal with a girl who had scraped her neck, a boy who had a sliver on the back of his leg, another boy who had been stung 12 times, and a staff person who had to go to the hospital with a broken finger.
I wasn’t too excited when they called up to my office this afternoon to say they needed me downstairs. But today, instead of medical emergencies, they brought me a beautiful female Common Green Darner. She was just newly emerged, her wings still shimmery and a little fragile. I took several pictures of her in my hand. Then I put her on a goldenrod plant and she let me take several more shots while she recovered from the shock of so much attention.
Isn’t she pretty? Today being camp director was OK. (Though I still don’t have my paperwork done… Oh well… aren’t dragonflies more important?)
We are busy into the Day Camp season at the Nature Center. Of course I take my camera when I’m out with kids. Because I want to be able to post pictures of the kids right away without taking much time to process, I often switch my camera over to JPG mode, instead of RAW. My friend Tom told me, “Once you start shooting in RAW mode, you’ll never go back.” I agree with him in that the pictures are far better quality as your camera captures more information in RAW mode. And, of course, I couldn’t take my time with shots, because my main priority was supervising other people’s children. Still, I was able to take some nice photos of flowers and critters while on my trips with kids last week. I’ve been going through some of them this morning and thought I’d post a few.
While the kids were building rock towers at Arkwright Falls, I lay down on my belly and snapped a few shots through the surface of the water. I don’t think I had the closeup filter on for the leaf, but I certainly did for the little critters. I’m not sure of the species of either the macroinvertebrate or the salamander. But it was cool trying to photograph them in their natural setting… OK, I did have to pick up rocks to reveal them, and then snap really fast before they skittered back under the rocks.
At Chautauqua Gorge, I was able to sneak a few shots of wildflowers and critters while the kids were wading. It was such a hot day… they just wanted to get wet. So I let ’em… while I played with my camera…
Often the kids would bring me critters to photograph, so I have many in-hand shots:
So, dear parents… Now that you know what I’m REALLY doing out there with your children, will you send them again next year?
For over 25 years I’ve had this idea that I should write a book on the trails of Chautauqua County. Well, I’m finally starting… I’m going to blog about the trails first as I gather information. I hope you all will give me some feedback.
Also, let me know what your favorite hiking guides are and why you like them. What features do you look for in a hiking guide?
Thanks in advance for your shared wisdom and suggestions!
I found your watch at Arkwright Falls on Friday, July 13th under a rock at the swimming hole. Describe it to me well enough that I believe it is yours, and we’ll find a way to get it to you. My email is constructed by smashing my first and last names together like so: JenniferSchlick, adding the cute little @ symbol, then writing excite.com.