Monday, August 29, 2011

Irene Is Ovah

Irene is over, and the sun has returned to Little Pond. We lost power around 8:00 pm last night, but it was back on by 7:00 am. The Little Androscoggin crested around 7 feet and 1900 cubic feet per second. Remember when I started tracking the stream gauge, the stream height was below 3 feet and the flow was under 40 cubic feet per second. The Rivers are raging- I'll try to get out and photograph one sometime today.

Hopefully Laguardia is back to normal by tomorrow and we'll be able to get home to Ohio without any problems.


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Sunday, August 28, 2011

5:00 Update: Tropical Storm Irene at Little Pond

Irene hit us with plenty of rain, and that's about it. The Mt. Mica station has recorded a whopping 3.9 inches today, and that has the Little Androscoggin River at a record high of 667 cubic feet of water per second- the mean output on this day is a mere 32 cfs, which means there is almost 21 times as much water flowing in the river than normal.
Our pressure is still decreasing, at 29.26 inches. As the storm passes us by, will we drop below 29? We'll see. But all in all, Irene packed much less of a punch than I was expecting.


So far, so good. We have yet to experience high winds but we have had a steady, sometimes driving rain here at Little Pond. The local forecasters are calling for the wind to pick up this afternoon. Weston and I played outside in the rain this morning between cloudbursts. There's nothing quite like swimming in the kiddie pool while it is raining. Let me clarify: Weston played in the pool, I watched outside from underneath a large golf umbrella.

Here's my 12:00 update.

Mt. Mica Observatory:
Temperature: 67.6
Pressure: 29.55 inches
Winds: 6.3 gusting to 8 mph.
Rainfall: 2.64 inches

Little Androscoggin at South Paris:

Gauge Height: 3.05 feet
Discharge: 93 cubic feet per second. (twice as much water since 8am this morning, three times as much water as yesterday evening)

Will the winds come? Will we loose power? I'll check back in at 5:00 p.m. And if that doesn't happen, you'll know that we're in the dark!


The Rain Begins

The rain began sometime overnight. We're getting a steady rain with winds at 12 mph from the NE. the little Androscoggin is up, but not by much. This afternoon we're expecting 20 mph winds with gusts to 40 mph. It looks like we'll be getting plenty of rain.

Mt. Mica Observatory:

Temperature: 65.7
Wind: 12 gusting to 14 mph
Pressure: 29.79 and falling
0.63 inches of rain

Little Androscoggin River near South Paris:
Gauge height: 2.64 feet
Discharge: 46 cubic feet per second.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Red Sky at Night

We're headed to bed soon and the first high clouds from Irene have just reached us. Things are calm at 8:41, but we could hear thunder off in the distance at sunset.

Here are the numbers I'm tracking- there have been no significant changes.

Mt. Mica Observatory:

Temperature: 68.2
Wind: 0 mph gusting to 2 mph
Pressure: 29.94 and steady

Little Androscoggin River near South Paris:
Gauge height: 2.43 feet
Discharge: 31 cubic feet per second.

It will be interesting to see how these numbers change overnight.

Again, our thoughts here in Maine are with those further south, including Megan's grandmother in Manhattan, who are bearing the brunt of this storm.


Waiting for Irene

Today we're experiencing the calm before the storm. Although all of Maine is under a tropical storm warning, we're not freaking out here. I've heard forecasts that predict anywhere from 2-7 inches of rain for this area of western Maine. Tomorrow, we'll be experiencing 30-40 mile per hour sustained winds, with possible gusts up to 60 mph. It's hard believe that our partly cloudy day will digress quickly into a tropical storm.

I'm going to watch several data sources over the next 48 hours to stay informed- the weather station at the Mt. Mica observatory and the USGS stream gauge on the Little Androscoggin River. I need something to do here on "vacation", so when it's going to be raining all day, I might as well watch the weather.

1:30 p.m. Saturday August 27

Mt. Mica:
Temperature: 81.5 degrees
Wind: 0 gusting to 2 mph
Barometric Pressure: 29.94 and falling
Partly cloudy
No precipitation.

Little Androscoggin River:

33 cubic feet per second.

As the day progresses, I'm expecting the pressure to drop, the river to start running higher, and the winds to pick up. Yeah, that's not exactly rocket science, is it?

I've been a weather buff for a long time- the questions really are: just how much rain will be get? How long will we experience 30-40 mph winds? Will those winds take out any of the trees lining the driveway and adjacent power lines that lead back to the house? Fortunately, our experience here will be relatively minor to what's going on in North Carolina right now.

I'll check back with updated stats before I head to bed.


Friday, August 26, 2011

White Admiral: the Red-Spotted Purple of the North

Here in Maine there aren't any red-spotted purple butterflies. Or are there? What we know in Ohio as a red-spotted purple butterfly does not have distinctive white wing bars like this individual I photographed today. This is the white admiral. It's the same species, but a different subspecies that replaces our red-spotted purples further north in places like Maine and Canada.

It looks as if someone took a paintbrush to a red-spotted purple's wings.

We had a beautiful sunny day and it's hard to believe that Hurricane Irene is headed our way. By the time it makes it, most of the energy will be gone from the storm. Although we were originally scheduled to fly out Sunday morning, our flights were cancelled this afternoon. We re-booked to travel home on Tuesday. Irene, we're waiting for you.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

On the Surface

We're at my in-law's place in Maine, tenuously trying to figure out if we're going to be able to fly out on Sunday morning as planned. Right now we're operating under the "we'll see" mantra. Irene may alter our plans.

I've been regularly visiting Maine since late 2005, when Megan and I first met. Her in-law's place is an awesome playground for any naturalist. With over 50 acres of woods, streams, marshes and ponds, I am in heaven here. A few years ago, I made a short film of Little Pond- if you have a few minutes and you'd like to get the full experience, you can find it here.

Photographically speaking, it isn't difficult to find new and interesting photographic subjects. BUT, it is really easy to take the same photographs over and over, which leads me to today's story.

Although I've photographed the floating leaves of watershield before, I've never really done it well. Today's overcast skies and rain led me to these two floating leaves. But one image didn't tell the whole story. Just what are those black dots?

As I leaned over the edge of the dock on my stomach, I had my answer. Yes, some of the spots were discoloration in the leaf tissue, but most of the spots had tiny legs. They look to be some type of insect nymph, but I'm not eve sure what family they might belong to. That will have to wait until we get back and I can have a better look at them. And that brings me back to Hurricane Irene- I'm closely following the Hurricane track to see if there's any possibility of us flying out on Sunday- we'll see!

Stay safe-


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Slaty Skimmer up North

There's no place like Maine in the summer time. Megan and I have traveled with the boys on a brief trip see their grandparents. Dragonflies abound. Here's a close-up of the slaty skimmer, a very common species here at Little Pond.


Monday, August 22, 2011

And Now for an Interruption

It's taken me almost two years to click through twenty four exposures of Kodak T-MAX 400, but a few weeks ago, I finally finished a roll.  I've never developed my own film.  But thanks to the help of friend James, I'm an expert (yeah right).  With his help yesterday, I developed my  first roll of film.  He was kind enough to drop off the negatives this evening after an overnight drying session, and bam, I popped them in the scanner.  Here's Weston's best "I'm cold daddy why are we outside are you crazy!?!" look.  I snapped this sometime last winter, as several of the other frames show a very pregnant Megan. 

I'm not sure how often I'll shoot and develop my own film. But it has taught me this: take the necessary time with every frame, digital or analog, so that I capture the very best image possible.


P.S.  Ok- How I missed the extra little black bar on the right side of the frame, I do not know.  I'm not fixing it!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Crab Spider on Common Ragweed

August 18, 2011
Another weekend down- it was busy, I'm exhausted.  I'm off to bed.  Here's the plant that you millions of Ohioans will unknowingly curse this week.  I know I will.  I was sneezing so often I could barely take this photo, despite my daily claritin regimen. 


Monday, August 15, 2011

Royal River Cruiser, Macromia taeniolata

Delaware Wildlife Area, August 15, 2011
Welcome to Monday everyone.  It's not every Monday that I photograph a new-to-me species of dragonfly, but today I just happened to get lucky.  If my identification passes muster with experts, I believe this is a royal river cruiser, Macromia taeniolata.  This is a pretty darn nice looking bug, isn't it?

I have made a habit of bringing my full camera rig to work every day, and during my lunch break, I take short photographic forays around the adjacent fields and forests.  Today I hit the jackpot.  I had spotted a dark dragon flying around above me as I was photographing ambush bugs, but it was high, far away, and it wasn't stopping to perch.  As I walked back to the office, a dragon zipped from behind me and landed in the edge of the old field, just 15 feet or so from my camera.  I set up, moved in slowly, and bam, I got some shots that I can be proud of.

Although the Ohio Odonata Website isn't completely up-to-date, this sighting could turn out to be a new species for Delaware County.  Normally this species is found relentlessy cruising up and down rivers, but they apparently do break away from time to time to explore adjacent uplands like this individual was doing today.  The main take away from today's photograph?  Never leave home without my good camera!


Friday, August 12, 2011

The Friendliest Spiders That You'll Ever Meet

Have a happy weekend- from a crab spider.  Yet another really fascinating creature that I photographed on my lunchbreaks this week.  I guess being in the office can have its benefits?

I have quite a fondness for crab spiders.   How many spiders actually have a face that resembles that of a human?  I have photographed  several over the years, including one lying in wait on daisy fleabane and another that was colored paper white.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Can you Tell I'm on a Roll? Leafhoppers!

I photographed these two species yesterday for the first time- I hope I find more today, they're really cool.  The diversity of insects, creatures that are so tiny and overlooked, is truly amazing.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mating Ambush Bugs

Yesterday evening about this time I saw Seabrooke Leckie's find of the day- a mating pair of ambush bugs.  Love must be in the air, because today I came across a pair here in Ohio.  I love how these insects just appear to stare right into the camera.  They have that look like they're looking right through you- as if you weren't even there.  Take a look at this one  that was our "pet" two years ago- it has the same stare, it's just bright yellow.


Peck's Skipper

I think- Let me have it if I'm wrong!  Nectaring on teasel.  This one is also from my lunchtime photo foray this past Monday.


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Katydid, Profile

Yesterday's Katydid, this time, a side view.  Has anyone heard about any Pink Katydids being discovered this year? 



Surprise!  A quick mid-week post.  Here's some type of katydid that I found on my lunch break yesterday.  The insects are going crazy right now- their songs are almost deafening.


Sunday, August 07, 2011

Peach Picking at Legend Hills Orchard

I think it's now official- the Arbour family has a favorite orchard.  Legend Hills Orchard, near Utica, Ohio has officially become stitched into our family fabric.  Weston loves going to the place where the "yum yums" hang from trees, and we hope Brody will too.  I checked back on the blog to see when we started coming here.  I'm not sure exactly how early it was, but I did  find a post showing Megan and I picking apples in 2007.

We were just one-year-married at that time, basically still newlyweds.  Now, we've got two boys that follow us around everywhere we go.  It's amazing how our lives have changed- for the better.  Caring for two little hungry mouths- getting them to sleep, to stop crying, changing their diapers, and now potty training  is all, well, a struggle. Sometimes we are so busy it's hard to remember that there was ever a time in our lives where we had to look for something to keep us entertained.  Now we long for that little bit of extra time, but it usually doesn't happen.  And that's OK- because one day I'm sure we'll be asking ourselves how the boys grew up so fast.  Maybe it was because they ate a ton of peaches?!


Saturday, August 06, 2011

Farewell to Rocky Mountain National Park

The calendar tells me its August, but I'm not quite sure I believe it.  Do you?  Yes- it's been ridiculously hot outside for a long time.  But I'm just not ready for it to be the last month full of summer.  Unfortunately, I don't have a choice- so it's be ready or nothing. 

I hope you've enjoyed my Colorado images.  I spent ALOT of time photographing in the park, and I wanted to take the time to carefully select my best images and present them here.  So much of blogging typically involves the day-to-day activities. But I wanted to take the time to explore a photographic topic in depth.  I hope you've been enjoying it.  If you haven't- let me know with a comment or e-mail.

With these four images, I'll be bringing the Rocky Mountain National Park images to a close.  On our last full day in the park, I wanted to capture some dragonfly and damselfy images.  I went to Lily Lake to see if I could find dragons and damsels- and I did.  I also found fly fisherman, picnicers, wedding parties being photographed, and plenty of day hikers.  I had spent most of my time in the park during the week, but when I hit this spot on a Saturday, I got a taste of just how much the locals use RMNP as a quick getaway from the local cities.

The last image is perhaps one of my favorites from the trip- A lone ponderosa pine, growing in granitic bedrock, overlooking the snowcapped mountains that lead to Long's Peak.  Rocky Mountain National Park is a spectacular place.  Scenic and wildlife photographic opportunities abound.  I hope we are able to return soon.