A few days ago after my work day was through I spent a few hours at Mirror Lake, reading and swimming. I spotted this dragon fly cruising around, and managed to snap a few photos. It is quite a marvel in the middle of the summer to watch them picking off mosquitoes mid-flight. Incredible fliers and predators, certainly little terrors of the skies for anything smaller than them.
I have been hoping to see a spring salamander at some point this summer, but never had the chance until yesterday. A fellow REU student called me up when I was at Pleasant View when this little fellow was spotted (thanks Kaitlin!) at Norris Brook, in the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest. Luckily I was able to get over there to see this awesome little creature. It was very shaded, so I used the built-in flash on the lowest setting.
Over the weekend, I spent time with my twin brother. We hiked up to Guinea Pond, near the Sandwich Range Wilderness in the White Mountain National Forest. It was easily one of the nicest days yet this summer. The pond itself lacked any decent shoreline or access to the main portion of the pond. So we inflated the trail raft and waded through the mucky/bog-like area until it was deep enough to use the raft.
On the way back, while passing through a power transmission line clearing, we noticed two green snakes laying among some grass along the edge of the path. If they had not moved, we would never have spotted them. Below is a photo of one climbing a little spruce.
Yesterday a bunch of fellow REU students here at Pleasant View Farm found this cute little mouse (thanks Kaitlin!) in the driveway/yard. It was very small, maybe two inches long, not counting the tail. It seemed almost disoriented, or just unafraid, allowing us to get very close and without running away. It eventually started to move towards the forest, and we let it be. Hopefully it is okay.
Today I hiked up the Nancy Brook Trail and collected water samples from Nancy Pond and Norcoss Pond. The Nancy Brook Research Natural Area consists of one of the largest remaining old-growth forests, of Red Spruce and Balsam Fir, in New England.
Along the trail there is the Nancy Brook Cascades (see right), I did not have a tripod, so I did my best using a boulder. The cascades flow into a small pool, forming an incredible little spot, perfect for a snack on the way up.
From the north end of Norcross there is a wonderful view of the Pemi Wilderness (see above). Looking upon Norcross from the south on the Nancy Brook Trail, it almost looks like the pond stops right at the edge of a cliff (see below) but it is actually the start of the outlet heading into the valley. I paused for a brief peaceful lunch on the ledge looking out into the pemi.
The Nancy Pond, brook, cascades, and the mountain were named for Nancy Burton who died in the area in 1778, it is an interesting and tragic story- http://www.hikenewengland.com
I spent this past Saturday and Sunday along the seacoast. I explored the rocks near Odiorne State Park with Jacqui. It was a very humid, hazy, and hot day, we spent some time along the water, flipping rocks over and looking at the crabs and other creatures. The usual sea breeze seemed very muted, making the humid air feel much thicker, however it was still fun to prowl around the interesting ecosystem along the shore. That evening we went out on a sunset boat tour/cruise along the Piscataqua River and Portsmouth Harbor. It was only the third time I’ve been out on a boat in the ocean (still not quite the open ocean). I didn’t take too many photos while on the boat, but above is a shot of another cruise in the harbor as seen from the ship I was on. The Piscataqua river apparently has the second (to the Columbia River) strongest tidal currents in North America.
I have a huge backlog of photos from my summer thus far working in the Whites. I’ve been experimenting more with macro photography, and a bit of night shooting as well.
Here are a few spider photos I shot the other day, a bit a dark since it was evening and in the forest, and I was without the tripod. They were both photographed from the same spot I was sitting at (somewhere by mirror lake). It can be a fun and interesting exercise to see how much one can find to photograph while sitting or remaining in one spot. For me at least, it helps to provide a different perspective, and I may end up finding all sorts of interesting little things that I might have overlooked before.
This odd looking white plant known as “indian pipe,”(Monotropa uniflora) has some distinct characteristics. The white color comes from a lack of chlorophyll, so it cannot photosynthesis and produce it’s own food. It’s roots are surrounded by fungi mycelium, where it parasitically removes nutrients from the fungi. What an unreal plant!
As I was driving south on route 116, en route to Long Pond, I noticed this young bull moose standing just off the left side of the road on the edge of a very wet and muddy portion of the forest. I grabbed my camera, which had my 60mm lens on it, and I walked gently down the road, across from the moose, stopping and snapping photos every few feet. When I reached a point directly across from it started paying more attention to me. I stepped a few feet into the road and examined the awkward-looking, yet beautiful creature. It seemed young and somewhat small (for a moose!), reaching just over my head (I am 6’2), including its small fuzzy antlers. After a minute or two, it started
walking along the road, then it looked at me and began ambling directly toward me. I was surprised, and backed up slowly, and then faster as it started to take bigger steps, I attempted to snap a few photos as I moved back toward the car, most of which ended up blurry (see photo just above). I figured that it must have simply been curious, and since it was not rutting season I was not too worried. It came to within about five or six feet as it sauntered off into a well-worn animal trail, which I realized I had been blocking as I was backing up.
It looks like the moose may have large tics or piles of tics on it’s coat (see side view below).
Today I collected samples from seven ponds/lakes: Forest Lake, Burns Pond, Clark Pond, Martin Meadow Pond, Blood Pond, Mirror Lake (not the HBEF one), and Long Pond. With the exception of Long Pond, all of the ponds were in the Whitefield/Lancaster area of New Hampshire. I used a tool I have for sampling, a very small inflatable raft, which I am able to hike to ponds with. It is especially useful for ponds which I would rather not wade too far into, or at all, such as ones full of leeches.
Clark Pond (below) was especially beautiful and calm in the morning, I could have spent all day exploring the area.