Along the Air Line... 2010 - Spring, Part 11
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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May 10th. Yellow Pond Lilies or Bullhead Lilies (Nuphar variegatum) are blooming in the marsh.  Beavers come out in the evening to munch the blossoms like lollipops.



May 11th.  An Assasin Bug (Family Reduviidae).



A brief afternoon walk on the Colchester Spur just west of Old Amston Road. Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum).






Dame's Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) comes in white, pink, and purple.  It's a "garden escape" in the Mustard family (Cruciferae or Brassicaceae depending on when you learned your Botany).  It's gowing adjacent to Old Amston Road close to the trail.












Adjacent to the trail and along Old Amston Road is an enormous auto graveyard, "featuring" some ancient relicts like this Edsel and Mercury wagon from the late 50s.  While car nuts would have a field day, to most the place is an eyesore.



Here's what it looks like from the air.  It goes further to the right as well.  Note the proximity to wetlands.  The view from the trail is masked by an opaque green fence.



May 16th. A group of young and/or female Hooded Mergansers (Lophodytes cucullatus) could be briefly viewed through trailside shrubs.



One by one, they accelerated to takeoff speed.



Immature Red-Winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) including this male hop from lily pad to lily pad, capturing invertebrates.






A male Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia).  Still haven't found any nests.



This Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodius) came in calling loudly before...



...pulling up for a gentle landing.












May 17th.  False Solomon's-Seal (Smilacina racemosa) is in full bloom.






Flowers show the plant's Lily family affiliation.



I've seen several Red Admirals (Vanessa atalanta) this spring.  In some years, they're more abundant than others.  They overwinter further south and spread into Connecticut through the warmer months.



I also saw several American Ladies (Vanessa virginiensis).  Like the Red Admiral, adults do not survive our winters; instead they expand their range north into Connecticut each spring.






May 18th. First Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor) of the year.



Lesser Stitchwort (Stellaria graminea), a Chickweed.



Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) is just opening.



Close up, the flowers are quite remarkable.



True Solomon's-Seal (Polygonatum biflorum) has pendulous paired blossoms at each leaf node. The earliest blossoms are at the base of the stalk, with unopened buds near the tip.