Along the Air Line... 2002 - June, Part 2
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo

 


I wish I could convey sound and scent, along with the sights of the trail. The thrushes and other birds offer a lot to the soundscape, while the bullfrogs add a twang that makes the bird song seem that much sweeter. One grey morning, I even heard a barred owl. The roses are magnificent and, to my mind at least, exhibit a far more pleasing fragrance than ornamental varieties.

Raymond Brook Marsh is home to these low-growing Pasture or Carolina Roses (Rosa carolina).

Much of the trail is lined with these Multiflora Roses (Rosa multiflora), some with a pink blush at the tips of the petals...

...but most pure white. All are very fragrant - you often smell them before you see them.

This sinister, "space-alien" is actually Catbriar, also known as Greenbriar (Smilax rotundifolia). An evil-looking, invasive vine.

Catbriar packs a nasty surprise for anyone attempting to penetrate a thicket.

A close relative lacks Catbriar's thorns but has its own, distinct nasty streak. The name says it all: Carrion-flower (Smilax herbacea) smells like dead meat.

Pretty interesting inflorescence though.

Wild grapes (Vitis sp.) do damage to the trees and shrubs they entwine, but at least they offer us fruit as recompense.

Green flowers are often easy to miss. I walked by these False Hellebore (Veratrum viride) inflorescences many times before spotting them - despite the fact that the plants are a good four feet tall.

Close up, the individual flowers display their Lily family (Liliaceae) affiliation.

Peppergrass (Lepidium virginicum) is not a grass at all, but a member of the Mustard Family (Cruciferae or Brassicaceae, depending on when you studied botany).

Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron annuus).

The Wild Strawberries (Fragraria virginiana) are ripe, and very tasty, I might add. The berry at the bottom right disappeared shortly after this picture was taken.

Common Mullein has a wonderful scientific name, Verbascum thapsus. Go ahead, say it aloud. Sounds like the name of a bank president from a W.C. Fields movie, or something Daffy Duck would consider despicable.

Hmmm. I seem to recall that these are the fruiting bodies of a Slime Mold, but none of the books I have at hand provide a clue.

Sorry, I don't know snails. Can anyone help with an ID?

This is a Plume Moth (Family Pterophoridae). The hind wings consist of a series of feathery plumes, but are not visible here because they are held folded beneath the extended forewings when at rest.

A skipper - closely related, but distinct from the butterflies. These fast fliers rest with the forewings raised and the hind wings horizontal. There are quite a few similar species in several genera.

I've been so close-focused lately, I decided I'd better step back a moment to gain some perspective. Everything is incredibly lush, thanks to the season and the rains that have erased our long drought.

Thanks too to the Hebron Park & Recreation Department and local volunteers for taking good care of the trail.