Along the Air Line... 2010-2011 - Winter, Part 7
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo



March 10th.  A gray morning with rain anticipated (and heavy rain overnight and tomorrow).  Some of the Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) are paired.






A squadron circles overhead, searching for a landing spot.



Patterns of ripples beside...



...a whirlpool.  This forms periodically where water flows down to a submerged and partly clogged culvert under the trail.






Another ripple pattern...



...near the tips of dry grasses cutting through the current.









A Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) circled high above the marsh.



Streamside Ferns have emerged from beneath their heavy blanket of snow.






March 11th. A few sparse Pussy Willows (Salix discolor) announce spring in just a few days.



Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) buds have been dormant through the winter, trapped beneath ice and snow.  Soon they will bloom and sprout leaves.



Bracket Fungi contribute some vibrant color to a still-bleak landscape.






Common Grackles (Quiscalus quiscula) have been around for awhile but have been too shy for decent pictures.



March 12th.  Three Ring-necked Ducks (Aythya collaris) briefly stopping over on the marsh.



They get their name for an indistinct brown ring on their necks, though their most distinctive feature is the two white rings on their beaks.  (Go figure.)



And they're off!












March 14th.  Two beavers (Castor canadensis) in the channel and a Muskrat crossing the trail (not pictured).






March 15th.  Pre-dawn on a cloudy morning.  Canada Geese and Mallards were calling in the dark.  (As it got lighter, the waterfowl called less and Red-Winged Blackbirds dominated the soundscape.)






A Beaver approaches the lodge, splashes, and ducks inside.  In the background, you can hear geese calling and flying off.



March 17th.  Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) and  Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) in the warm light of early morning sun.



Hopefully, these geese will stick around and nest successfully.