Hopkinton Lake

Hopkinton Lake was my kayaking destination for Wednesday. I remember canoeing it many years ago with Jann and getting some decent shots of Great Blue Herons in the slide film days.

On the way there I checked out the Sandhill Crane. Again it was fairly near the highway. I took a few photos out my car window and moved on. It was early so the whole field was still in shade. The low contrast of shade can be great for showing colors.


I was on the water before 7 am.


A few minutes after 7 am I found a Great Blue Heron standing in the warm early light.


The next GBH was in the shade. I slowly circled it and got some close-in photos of it with two very different backgrounds.



A bit farther along I got a GBH in flight.


I kayaked under the 202/9 bridge and got well beyond it to the south. A large bird flew overhead and I started shooting. It hit the water very far from me and came up with a fish. The photo below showing “Two Fishermen” is highly cropped and hence poor quality.


Here are two photos of the Bald Eagle carrying its fish, again from a long way away.



I saw where it landed, quite far from me. I slowly paddled in that direction, approaching as slowly and quietly as possible. I suspect it saw me before I got very close. But I got a few photos.


Then it decided to head farther south.



I paddled to the far end of the area and got a photo of the eagle with a nice reflection of its white head.


I headed back under the bridge and thought I saw something break the water’s surface very briefly. I slowly approached the area with camera ready. It was something — a snapping turtle.


There were still more herons to photograph. I’m estimating I saw 15, but I might be double counting, as I headed out and back. There seemed to be more on the way back and many seemed quite unconcerned by my presence.



To complement the snapping turtle I got a pair of painted turtles.


I saw a GBH in a “cul de sac” near Elm Brook Park. It was quite far away but I headed toward it. I suspected that if it flew its path would be toward me rather than away from me into the nearby trees. I had my camera set for 10 shots/second and held the shutter release down when it launched. Here are 10 of the 32 photos I took as it flew by. I continue to love the 200-shot, 14-bit raw buffer of this camera.

The world already has many more Great Blue Heron photos than it needs. But here is one more, the last for this blog, except of course for the slide show that follows.


I was back at the launch site around 10 am.


Before loading my kayak on my car I got a photo of a dragonfly with somewhat worn wings. In any case, they only live only a very short time.


As a special bonus, and I headed NW on I-93 late morning I saw around 6 Nighthawks flying fairly low over the road. My camera was on my seat next to me, but at 65 mph I thought better of it.

Here are a few more of the photos I took this very enjoyable morning.

Sandhill Crane

I had to make a very early trip to the Manchester Airport yesterday morning.  Here is a photo of the rest stop on the opposite side of I-93 in Hooksett at 5:33 am on Saturday morning.


Since I was passing through Hopkinton on my way home, I decided to see if I could get lucky with the Sandhill Crane that has been in West Hopkinton for over a month now. When I arrived the bird was in the sun near the middle of the large field along Rt. 127.

By the time I had parked, using my car as a blind, and raised my camera to my eye, the crane had moved into the shade.  This was great as it gave me the chance to get a few photos with lower contrast than with the early sunlight. The shade coupled with the blue sky gave the scene a blue tint.


Then the crane moved a short distance into a sunny area.


The crane was slowly working its way farther back in the field, perhaps concerned with my presence. I hoped I had captured some decent photos, but in any case I moved on. I almost never chimp¹. I only glance at my monitor to check exposure, not to check composition or whether I got the shot. In the field I want to be spending my time observing and photographing.

Here are a few more photos I took during the three minutes I spent with the crane.

It was still early, just after 7 am, so I decided to hike into the nearby Elm Brook Recreation area. A short way in I heard geese overhead and grabbed a few shots as Canadas flew over heading south. I decided to hike the nature trail loop. From there I photographed a lit tree with mist on Hopkinton Lake.



I also got a photo of two fishermen in the early light.


Below is a scene along the nature trail.



Back out in the fields, I found a curious Song Sparrow.


Finally, for good measure, a waterlily.


It was only 8 am as I walked back to my car. I passed the covered picnic pavilions and remembered back quite a few years ago when I kayaked OVER the top of them. After all this is a flood control area designed to hold water and release it slowly to prevent flooding downstream. Hopkinton Lake protects the communities of Concord, Boscawen, Canterbury, and Bow.

  1. Chimp — To review an image on the LCD screen of a digital camera after taking a photograph. In common usage among press photographers. The act was dubbed chimping after photographers were caught making monkey-like noises when they reviewed a good shot in their cameras.




More Hummingbird Moth Photos

Jann and I discovered a pair of hummingbird moths in a New London garden a week ago.  We were passing nearby a few days later, so we decided to check out the garden again.  Sure enough a hummingbird moth was working the bee balm. I was with the moth for seven minutes this time.

Here is a sequence of photos showing the moth approaching the flower with its proboscis curled and then extending it to drink the nectar.

Here is a sequence of photos showing the moth well into the flower then backing out and curling its proboscis. The time span from the first to the fourth photo is 0.3 sec.  These guys move fast.

Here are a few more photos of this amazing insect from my second visit to this garden. In one you can barely see the wings.  This gives a feeling for how it look with the naked eye.

For those who care,  the images on this page were shot at 1/2000 sec. at f/5/6 or f/8.

Loon Chick in Ugly Stage

The loon chick on Lake Sunapee has entered its “ugly” stage of partial molt. This was taken early afternoon yesterday. You can see the earlier, cuter version of this chick HERE.