Along the Air Line... 2011 - Spring, Part 13
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

mHome Page
Stan Malcolm Photo



June 13th. The first male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) I've seen swimming in months.  (Others have been swiftly flying overhead.)



Nearby was a female with some of her chicks.



Several Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodius) are back in residence on the marsh.









June 15th. Several purple sticky traps have been hung in Ash trees along the trail (and at many other roadside locations across the state).



The tag attached to the cord explains the trap's purpose - detection of the Emerald Ash Borer.  Learn more at



If you have Ash trees on your property, please check them for adult beetles feeding on leaves, or D-shaped emergence tunnels in the bark.  Please also avoid bringing firewood into Connecticut from nearby affected states like New York and Pennsylvania.



You can easily identify Ash trees at this time of year by their distinctive winged seeds.



Along the trail, you may see plants with shriveled black leaves.  The entire plant may be affected, or just portions.  Online sources list the cause as dessication due to drought, though with 4.5 inches of rain in the last week, this seems an unlikely cazuse in this case.  I'm also not sure why adjacent plants or plant portions do and do not exhibit the problem.



The plant is Wild Indigo (Baptisa tinctoria) and should look more like this, with clusters of yellow pea-like flowers coming soon.  Native Americans used extracts from the plant as a treatment for infected wounds.



 A late morning walk from Grayville Road west to the Jeremy River bridge.  Red Clover (Trifolium pratense).






Several Red-spotted Purples (Limenites arthemis astyanax) were sunning.



The metallic blue in their wings is stunning.



A Flower Fly (Family Syrphidae) on Common Fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus).



A Dark Firefly (Lucidota atra).  They lack lights and are active by day, communicating instead by pheremones.  (I could smell this one from several feet away.)



The antennae are more prominent than on fireflies that communicate using lights.  Presumably, the antennae act as receptors for pheremones.



A Beardtongue (Penstemon sp.).












A Skipper (Family Hesperiidae), but I won't guess which one.



Judging by the missing scales on the thorax, abdomen, and wing margins, this specimen is quite old as butterflies go.



June 16th.  Swamp Azalea (Rhododendron viscosum) is blooming and very fragrant, though most blossoms show brown spotting from the rainy weather.



Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) are feeding on unripe Serviceberries.

Observed this morning, but not photographed, was my first sighting of a Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola). 
See the Peterson Field Guide (page 128 in my 2002 edition).