Along the Air Line... 2011 - Summer, Part 9
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo

 

 

August 17th.  Immature male Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) are starting to "color up."  (Though mature males also "color down" in the fall.)

 

 

Female and immature Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) commonly hop along on lily pads hunting for insects.

 

 

 

 

 

The same bird came close and posed for its portrait.

 

 

Fragrant Water Lilies (Nymphaea odorata) now cover much of the marsh.

 

 

 

 

 

Bluecurls (Trichostema dichotomum).

 

 

 

 

 

An immature Puffball mushroom (probably Lycoperdon sp.).

 

 

A first for me on the trail, though easily overlooked.  It's Horse Balm or Richweed (Collinsonia canadensis).

 

 

 

 

 

It's in the Mint family (Lamiaceae) but doesn't look typical.  Square stems are a clue.

 

 

A Harvestman or Daddy Long-legs (Phalangium opilio).

 

 

Note the beady eyes set in a turret atop the body.  (The body itself is composed of two regions, the cephalothorax and abdomen.  These are broadly joined together as in mites and scorpions, but unlike in spiders where the joint is very narrow.)

 

 

A Banded Net-winged beetle (Family Lycidae; probably Calopteron reticulatum).

 

 

Ornamental Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) at the Route 85 trailhead.

 

 

 

 

 

Back to the trail in mid-afternoon.  A male Meadowhawk, possibly the Cherry-faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum internum).

 

 

A female Meadowhawk (Sympetrum sp.).

 

 

Another Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar generation is underway.  (If they make it into the chrysalis stage, they'll overwinter that way and emerge as butterflies in the spring.)

 

 

Tough to make out the Ambush Bug (Family Phymatidae).

 

 

No wonder they're so successful catching prey.  Check out the impressive grasping front legs, similar in many ways to those of Praying Mantids.

 

 

August 18th.  Low fog on the marsh at 6:15 AM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 22nd.  A mint?

 

 

Skippers (Family Hesperididae) like the mint.

 

 

 

 

 

Butter and Eggs (Linaria vulgaris).

 

 

Common Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia).

 

 

An invasive, Giant Reed Grass (Fragmites communis) has taken over much of the pond adjacent to River Road.

 

 

Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) is in bloom...

 

 

...and also showing developing berries...

 

 

...and dark purple mature berries.

 

 

Honey Bees (Apis mellifera) were active on Virgin's Bower.

 

 

Here a Honey Bee shares a flower with a tiny inchworm (Family Geometridae).

 

 

 

 

 

Vespid Wasps were also feeding on the flowers.

 

 

You can tell Vespids by the way they hold their wings pleated like an old-fashioned ladies fan.

 

 

Another type of Vespid wasp.

 

 

August 23rd.  A Deer Fly (Family Tabanidae, Chrysops sp.).

 

 

Check out those eyes!  The longest of the mouthparts hanging down consist of serrated cutting blades that the fly slides back and forth like an old-fashioned electric carving knife - with your skin as the meat.

 

 

Seed head of Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota).

 

 

"Velcro" hooks on the seeds are an aid to dispersal.