Morning had broken . . .
and Pleasant Mountain’s reflection marked a new day.
New life was also in the making as the Variable Dancer Damselflies practiced the fine art of canoodling. I’d never noticed an oviposition aggregation before, but it made sense if it minimized the threats a couple receives from unattached males. Plus, if the spot was good enough for one pair to lay their eggs, then it must be fine for another. And so I learned something new today.
Perhaps it also cut down on predation, though I couldn’t stay long enough to note if the Slaty Skimmer that hung out above turned either pair into breakfast. If so, I hope they at least had a chance to leave their deposits.
That was my morning view, but I changed it up a bit this afternoon and darted across the Hemlock Covered Bridge that spans the Old Course of the Saco River in Fryeburg. Built in 1857 of Paddleford truss construction with supporting laminated wooden arches, the bridge is a quaint and charming reminder of days gone by.
Though reinforced in 1988 so you can drive across, it’s even more fun to glide while admiring the work of our forefathers and . . .
peer out a window at the river from Maine’s oldest remaining covered bridge.
The handiwork of more recent travelers . . .
was also clearly visible.
Down by the Old Course, I spotted a female River Jewelwing, the white dots on its four wings showing off in the day’s light. Just prior, a few sprinkles had fallen and one teeny droplet rolled down her thorax. A few even teenier ones clung to her legs.
With one more look back to reflect upon the bridge, I was then ready to set sail again.
Heading toward Frog Alley, the view across the fields included Mount Kearsarge amid the summer haze that had developed.
Mount Tom was more clearly visible for it was so much closer.
But what I really stopped to look at where those things closer to the ground, like the brilliant pink Dianthus with their petals all spotted and toothed at the tips.
Offering a lighter hue of pink, a bindweed twined its way through the roadside wildflowers.
Also with shades of pink and the yellow complexion of those flowers already pollinated, milkweed was in full bloom and the ants and some flies were making the rounds, but I only saw one honeybee taking advantage of the sweet nectar. It reminded me that the same was true on the milkweed growing in my garden where, at most, I’ve seen four honeybees rather than the usual swarms.
And then there was the subtle yellow of the Sulphur Cinquefoil showing off its cheery face despite a few tear drops. Actually, it may have cried for only a few drops had fallen from the sky and we really do need a soaking rain.
As if taking a cue from the cinquefoil, Clouded Sulphur butterflies flitted and danced along the road.
And then I realized that they kept gathering in groups. It’s a form I’d read about but never observed before–puddling. This was a male habit and apparently their intention was to suck nutrients from the wet ground. I guess even a few raindrops served the purpose.
Before I moved on again, my heart was still as more yellow entered the scene in the form of a striped thorax and I realized I was watching a Dragonhunter Dragonfly. Though it wasn’t so easy to see the tip of tail once it landed, as it flew about in my vicinity it kept its abdomen curved down–a habit of these big guys.
The Fryeburg Bog was my next landing and though I didn’t head out to the water that was more like an over-sized puddle, I found plenty to focus on.
For starters, the Buttonbush had begun to bloom and I loved its otherworldly presentation.
It was there that I saw the smallest of dragons, in the form of the Frosted Whiteface.
At most, he was about 1.5 inches long–quite probably the smallest of the species that I know.
It was there that I also spotted my first Ruby Meadowhawk of this year.
And then there were two! And in the future, obviously, there will be more.
And finally, it was there that I noticed a Song Sparrow had nabbed a butterfly snack–all part of the circle of life.
My final stop on today’s journey was at Popple Hill Brook along Smarts Hill Road in Sweden.
And like the Variable Dancers I’d seen this morning, I found many more beside the brook. Not only was the male’s purple coloring stunning, but notice those silvery legs.
Of course, where there is more than one dragonfly or damselfly, there is love.
As my tour began, it ended–with the Variables dancing to their heart song.
And with that, I flew back to camp, where the mountain’s reflection was conducting its own dance routine as the sun began to slip toward the horizon.
And a few more raindrops produced a rainbow in the eastern sky.
Thanks for taking flight with me on this wonder-filled wander and soaring above some of the areas that are so unique and yet we tend to overlook them.