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

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Stan Malcolm Photo



April 1st.  Last remnant's of the Nor'easter that petered out, thankfully.






Mallards and Wood Ducks in the far distance.



Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) are easily spooked.



A Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia).









Nice color on this male American Robin (Turdus migratorius).



A Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodius) perched far across the marsh.



Is it possible for a bird to look grumpy?



First green shoots in the Hummock Sedge (Carex stricta).



Speckled red Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) spathes have opended to reveal the yellow flowers (such as they are) on the rounded spadix inside.  Beside the spathes are the first tips of what will soon be unfolding green leaves.



April 2nd. Leaf buds are swelling on Multiflora Roses (Rosa multiflora)...



...and Morrow's Honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii).



A Stonefly (Family Nemouridae); a bit larger than the ones I photographed last winter..









April 3rd.  Mid thirties just after dawn.  Warm Sunshine!



Remarkable to see a Beaver (Castor canadensis) out in full daylight - and quite close.















Starting to splash and dive.



Slam!  You can see a webbed hind foot amid the splash.






Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia).






Just before noon, I walked east from Old Hartford Road in Colchester to a vernal pool where Wood Frogs (Rana sylvatica) were in chorus.















Listen to the Wood Frog.



April 6th.   The trail remains bleak and brown, but some careful searching reveals some green.  Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) spathes are past their prime while leaves are rapidly expanding.



Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are welcome for their color and growth habit.  Crush a stem for an aroma treat!






(Hmm, I'm not sure what this is.  I'll work on it.)



Mustard (Brassica sp.) leaves are ahead of the blossoms.



DEP is gearing up for this year's version of No Child Left Inside.  This time the theme is the Great Park Pursuit Recreation Challenge.  After picking up their "passport", participants should look for the Great Park Pursuit Outdoor Adventure Challenge Box located on or behind the park's regulations board.  Simply unlock the padlock with the secret combination and stamp your passport.



A mid-day walk near the brownstone bridge over River Road to check on the Trailing Arbutus (Epigaea repens). It looks healthy despite the harsh winter.



Last year, it was in full bloom by April 3rd.  This year it still has several days to go.



Looking out from the Blackledge River Bridge.



The water below, rushing over the rocky riverbed.



Back to the trail near Raymond Brook Marsh where Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica) egg masses have been deposited in the temporary pools of the trailside ditch.



I used a polarizing filter to cut surface reflections.



A Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) over the marsh.






At last, lots of Tree Swallows (Pachycineta bicolor) were back, hunting insects over the marsh.



Aerial acrobats.



Among the Tree Swallows was this Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica), distinguished by its rust belly and deeply forked tail.



One of the Tree Swallows briefly examined a woodpecker hole as a potential nest site.






Another dead tree nearby offers more accomodations.