Along the Air Line... 2012 - Fall, Part 5
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo



November 13th.  Stereum sp., probably Stereum hirsutum, the Hairy Parchment mushroom, amid foliose lichen on fallen dead branches.



More on another dead branch.  In its prime in today's damp weather.






An Earthworm, Lumbricus terrestris, out for a crawl in damp warm weather.  In eleven years photographing the trail, I've never photographed one.  About time I did.  This one was roughly 8.5 inches long; longer than some snakes I've seen on the trail.



Earthworms are hermaphroditic, that is, each has both male and female reproductive organs but two worms are required for mating, each transferring sperm to the other.  The pale tan band on this worm is the clitellum which secretes a substance used to construct an egg cocoon.  Much more about earthworms here.



November 18th.  A frosty 23 degrees shortly after dawn.



This caterpillar was found on the trail, stiff and heavily covered by frost.  Warmed up, it became active.



It's the caterpillar of the Large Yellow-winged Dart (Noctua pronuba), a species of cutworm accidentally introduced into maritime Canada around 1979.  From there, it has rapidly spread across North America.  It reached Connecticut in 1993.



The species is often found out and about through the winter, even atop snow.  It goes without saying that their bodies contain an anti-freeze.  See:



November 20th.  Twentyfive degrees on another very frosty morning.



November 23rd.  A very foggy morning.

































Would somebody please buy the former Route 85 Lumber and do something with it?  I think it would make a great doggie daycare, boarding kennel, agility course, and obedience training center.



Sunset on the same day - at 4:30 PM.



November 27th.  Second snow of the season.  (I wasn't able to get out during the first snow.)



The old United Distillers stack.















White-tailed Deer were out on the trail in the absence of human traffic.









November 5th.  I found this Plume Moth (Family Pterophoridae) resting on the side of my truck after my walk this morning.  (Thus the god-awful blue background.  I nudged it off, hoping it would land somewhere more natural but no luck, it flew high and far.)  Temp around 50 degrees, shortly after showers had passed through..

Note how its hind legs are tightly clasped against the body and extend beyond the tip of the abdomen. The moth appears to have only four legs at first glance.  Plume moths rest in this odd T-shape.  The front wings are fan-folded.  The hind wings are divided into several "feathers" which also fold together at rest.



Warm late afternoon light on the same day.  Temperature rapidly cooling from a high of 50 earlier.






Seconds later, the light was beginning to fade.



December 15th.  A late flight of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) over the marsh.






"Hips" of Swamp Rose (Rosa palustris) add a little color.



Lots of Beaver (Castor canadensis) damage on the channel side.



One of my Cecropia Moth overwintering mortality study sites, a young cherry tree, dissapeared - taken away by a beaver.  All that remained was a six inch stump.



Remarkably, I found a wild Cecropia cocoon further up the trail so will track it as part of the study.