Along the Air Line... 2011 - Fall, Part 2
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo



September 30th. Sunshine on a cool morning raised some mist over the marsh.



Late in the afternoon, New England Asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) at the Route 85 trail head.



New York Asters (Symphyotrichum novae-belgii) beside the marsh.



Wooly Aphids (Family Aphididae, Subfamily Eriosomatinae) congregate on the bark of shrubs at this time of year.



The waxy tendrils they exude from their bodies serve as protection for the cluster.



Fresh Red Oak (Quercus rubra) leaves on a recently mowed seedling.



October 1st.  A Poplar Tentmaker (Clostera inclusa) on Alder.  The caterpillar was enclosed in a terminal tent of leaves and silk, presumable venturing out to feed.  (I pulled open the enclosure for this photo.  Several others were empty, suggesting that the caterpillars had gone elsewhere, probably to pupate.)



It strips leaves leaving only the midrib.



A massive White Pine (Pinus strobis) on a disused side trail.






October 3rd.  Sunrise as I approached the trail along Route 85.



Nice to see sunshine, though clouds and rain returned later.



October 4th.  Another sunrise through clouds.  (Raining elsewhere in the State.)



A quick stop at Cranberry Bog reveals that repairs on the dike and outflow baffle are complete.



A maintenance access point is provided.



Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) on patrol...



And off to the races!



A nearby Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) family seems unimpressed.



October 5th.  Yesterday's raindrops linger on oak leaves.






A male Eastern Yellow Jacket wasp (Vespula maculifrons).



Evening Primrose (Oenothera sp.).



Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria var. formosa).



Lily pads catching the morning sun.



A distant hawk that has been around the marsh lately.



My best guess is an immature Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus).



A couple of fall Warblers, but I won't guess which.






An afternoon walk on the Colchester Spur.  Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) is doing well in a small marsh there.



Meadowhawks (Sympetrum sp.) are an abundant fall dragonfly.  Males are mostly red.






Females mostly brown.






This looks like a Green Frog (Rana clamitans) in a trailside ditch.



October 6th.  Mist rising into the coolest morning air so far.  (Touches of first frost elsewhere.)



Sunshine was welcome.






Giant Reed Grass (Phragmites australis), an invasive species.



So far, it only exists as a small patch on Raymond Brook Marsh, however it has run rampant on several other marshes along the trail.



A Crane Fly (Family Tipulidae).



Completely harmless despite being called a giant mosquito by some.



October 8th.  Lighter mist above the marsh as temps a bit warmer than the past several days.



Some of the 60 or so migrating Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) that spent the night on the marsh.



They took off in groups of varying size, probably heading to glean nearby corn fields before turning south.






I know some are annoyed by the toilet habits of resident birds on golf courses, ball fields, etc., but there's no getting over their magnificence in flight.  Besides, they were here first.



I enjoy seeing the last drops of water cascading off their feathers as they gain speed and altitude.






Another batch taking off straight towards me.



Here's wishing them Godspeed on their perilous journeys.



Warblers are visiting the marsh in flocks as they migrate through.  They're tough to photograph: hidden in foliage and always on the move.



Most seem to be Yellow-rumped Warblers (Dendroica coronata).  I was able to see the yellow rump in flight and in photos too poor to post.



I'm pretty sure they were feeding on dried Poison Ivy berries.



October 9th.  Good confirmation that the warblers are feeding on Poison Ivy berries.






Nice warm colors after dawn.






This is about as strong as fall color gets in the marsh.






A Woolly Bear (Pyrrharctia isabella), caterpillar of the Isabella Tiger Moth.