Along the Air Line... 2008-2009 - Winter, Part 2
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo

 

 

January 22nd. Bitter cold but still at sunrise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 24th. 35 degrees and gusty.

 

 

Lots of insects were out on the surface of the snow near the trailhead. This is a Crane Fly (Family Tipulidae).

 

 

The largest of today's insects, this Crane Fly was roughly 1cm long.

 

 

While editing these photos, I noticed a Springtail (Order Collembola) in the image (lower right).

 

 

This Springtail was less than 2mm long.

 

 

I saw hundreds of Winter Stoneflies (Family Nemouridae), the largest perhaps 7mm long; most somewhat less.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were several Chironomid Midges...

 

 

...and one lone Ant (Family Formicidae).

 

 

Excepting this Ant and the Springtail, all these insects probably emerged from a nearby creek, and the prevailing wind carried them up onto the trail nearby. The insects were active, walking over the snow and occasionally attempting to fly.

How do insects survive in such harsh conditions? This article on Snow Flies supplies some answers. Thanks to Dr. Richard Brown of Mississippi State for sharing the link.

 

 

White Oak leaf in the snow.

 

 

January 25th. Clear blue skies and single digit temperatures A rare walk across the ice to view the marsh from the far side.

 

 

 

 

 

Odd to view familiar landmarks up close; normally seen only from afar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remnants of barbed wire give evidence of a time before the marsh invaded forest and pasture.

 

 

 

 

 

Four mountain bikers from Colchester have carved a serpentine track for themselves out in the marsh.

 

 

 

 

 

(Hey guys, contact me and I'll share the print-resolution versions of my pictures of you.)

 

 

January 26th. Sunrise.