Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge

On Saturday, Jacqui and I visited Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Newington/Portsmouth area of NH. It it is part of what once use to be Pease Air Force Base (where there are now twenty-something superfund sites), it is an important bird migration habitat, and has some very beautiful forest and wetland habitats.

The ferns on the left are starting to turn yellow as winter is approaching, it was a very warm and pleasant autumn day. The spores (all the black dots) are clearly visible.

Below is gorgeous little red dragonfly, which was constantly flying and hunting around the edge of the wetland, often stopping and pausing on the ferns, tree barks, and my t-shirt.

a BIG spider


Last week on my birthday I found some time to take a short walk in college woods. I went by what I call the ‘turtle log,’ a white pine that fell into the oyster river, I nearly always find painted turtles soaking up the sun on the old tree. I once counted eleven or twelve turtles on it at one time. It is a very popular spot, however it is exceptionally difficult to sneak up on to get a decent photo, since the brush is very thick, the slightest noise sends the turtles plopping into the water, a comical sight. They scoot a little bit and then roll off and fall into the water with a splash and are out of sight in an instant.
I walked out onto the log, the few turtles that were on it had already fled. I was just exploring, and hoping to be fortunate enough to spot one in the water. As I walked back down the log toward the shore area after exploring, I caught my breath as I spotted a huge spider on a little shrub, a shrub which I brushed past as I walked onto the log. I was clearly unaware of my surroundings to have missed such a beast. The spider was perched along it’s nest or web, a cluster of leaves woven together. With it’s legs stretched out it was undoubtedly close to the size of my palm (what does it eat, chipmunks?). I snapped a few photos, but there is not much of a scale in the photo to the right, but it was easily the largest spider I have seen in years.

first day of autumn and a hawk along 155a


Yesterday as I was driving along 155a, I noticed this beautiful hawk perched above a field that was in the process of being hayed. It was probably 30 ft up in the tree or so, I used my Tamron telephoto lens to capture this image.
Today is the official beginning of autumn, and the last few weeks have certainly felt like fall was starting, it has been great weather. Comfortable breezy days with chilly nights perfect for sleeping. Throughout the seacoast, the red maples which are especially stressed in wetlands have turned a vibrant red, a foreshadowing of what will happen as the chlorophyll breaks down in the rest of the decidous trees throughout new england.
Below is a photo I took a year or two ago wandering through college woods. I will have to upload some foliage photos this season.

Foliage in a Jar


These jars are filled with ground-up foliage samples. They remind me of herbs or spices. I took these at the lab I work at on campus, which focuses on forest ecosystem research. I really enjoy the pattern of the jars, filled with the earth-tone colors. The colors tend to vary depending upon where the samples originate from, the species, and the time of year they were collect (alive or dead, conifer or deciduous). I probably ground hundreds of these samples before I really noticed the beauty. I wanted to photograph samples like these for ages, and I finally had my chance last week when I had my camera with me.

Two Nights in the Whites

Last weekend I spent two nights out in the Pemigewasset Wilderness in the White Mountain National Forest with my twin brother and one of my best friends. It was a beautiful week with amazing weather. Both nights the moon was close to full with a sky clear, it was sometimes difficult to sleep it was so bright!
Above is the Pemi River in the morning. Below is our pasta dinner cooking the second night.