Along the Air Line... 2011 - Summer, Part 5
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo



July 11th. Very foggy.  There's only one bird this could be: a Great-horned Owl (Bubo virginianus).















Sunny and 90+ by afternoon in the marsh.  A male Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis).



A male Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) on Tick Trefoil.



The same dragonfly on a different perch.



Sweet Peas (Lathyrus odoratus) at Cranberry Bog.






Goldenrod (Solidago sp.) is just starting to bloom.



July 12th.  The first Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) I've seen in awhile.



An Amanita mushroom.






Wasps were busy on Queen Anne's Lace...


 were honeybees...



...and hornets on Sumac blossoms.






Highbush Blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium) are ripening.  More and larger berries on more bushes than in any year I can recall.



The bird poop 1st instar Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar hasn't grown much.



It already has a silk mattress to rest on.



July 15th.  A young buck White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) feasting on emergent vegetation.  I think I see bumps where horns will soon grow.



Female Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) pick insects off lily pads.



The Helleborine orchids (Epipactis helleborine) on the Colchester Spur are in full bloom...



...but not in the greatest condition.



Also on the Spur, I found this mint, possibly a wild Basil (Satureja vulgaris)...






...and this Lobelia (Lobelia sp., probably Indian-tobacco, Lobelia inflata).



July 16th.  A Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) perched atop a dewey web.






Cranberry Bog in East Hampton.  A Sphecid wasp (Sphex ichneumoneus) on Swamp Milkweed.



Marvelous metallic gold hairs, especially on the face which appears gold plated.



Deep in the hunt for nectar, the wasp is unaware that Milkweed pollen masses ("pollinia") are getting stuck to its feet.



I count at least seven pollinia, which vaguely resemble paired amber maple seeds, on this front leg alone.  Some will be scraped off in visits to other Milkweed flowers, resulting in pollination.



July 17th. An infrequent visitor to Raymond Brook Marsh, a Green Heron (Butorides virescens).






Bouncing Bet or Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis).  The roots have a number of medicinal uses, and the entire plant can be infused in water to make a soap.  However, if overused as a medicine, it is poisonous. 



Late afternoon.  The early instar Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar has grown a bit and lightened in color, but still looks pretty much like a bird poop.



Its head is tucked under at the left.



One of a pair of Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum).



(Same one.)



Q:  Why did I include this picture?



A:  So you can see how hard it can be to spot a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodius).