Along the Air Line... 2011 - Spring, Part 1
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo



March 23rd. You would hardly know it was spring, given the cold temps and forecast snow.  This pair of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) is hanging about, hopefully to nest.



A Cecropia Moth cocoon, torn open by a bird, I imagine.  Mice tend to chew a round entrance hole.  Given the emergence hole at the top of the cocoon, I suspect the adult moth safely escaped last June.



Catkins, dormant through the winter, are expanding to release their pollen.  These male catkins are on Alder (Alnus sp., probably A. rugosa). Above them, you can see three small reddish female inflorescences.



In close-up view, you can see individual flowers with their rings of stamens.



I think these are Birch (Betula sp.) catkins.



Aspen Leaf (Populus sp.).



March 24th.  An inch or so of snow overnight; thankfully, far less than first predicted.



One of two Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodius) visiting the marsh.



Recently, the beavers have added branches to the top of their lodge.












In slightly warmer sections of the trail, snow melted in abstract patterns that tempt you to look for recognizable shapes.






March 25th.  Mallards (Anas playtrhynchos) in early afternoon.






Turn up your volume to hear a mixed chorus of Spring Peepers and Wood Frogs.  Peepers dominate in the first minute and a half, after which they gradually fade away as Wood Frogs' clucking calls grow more intense.  (Please ignore the mechanical whirr and ticking of the len's image stabilization motor which I forgot to turn off.)



United Distiller's chimney catching the afternoon light.



Ripples on the channel.






Self-portrait in a beetle-shaped bubble.






March 26th.  Another day, another Mallard (Anas playtrhynchos).



March 27th.  A chilly 22 degree morning.  Where's spring?  A pair of Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura) were perched not far from each other.






Optical illusion?  A female Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) perched on...?



I still can't tell what she's sitting on; possibly a film of ice?



March 29th. A male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) atop a nest box.  The female had just been inside and jumped down as I approached.



Another Red-winged Blackbird photo, ho hum, but the main reason for posting it is to show how the Red Maple (Acer rubrum) buds are swelling.



March 30th. A Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodius) catches the warm morning Sunshine.



The female Mallard (Anas playtrhynchos) was back on its invisible perch.  (There has to be a bit of stump just under the water surface.  Part of the same stump can be seen behind the bird.)



Feather detail.