Along the Air Line... 2012 - Spring, Part 3
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo

 

 

April 7th.  In a few days, spring pastels will begin to rival fall colors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) have been around in small numbers for several weeks but always on the wing.  This is the first one I've seen sit still this spring...

 

 

...and I took full advantage of its willingness to pose.

 

 

 

 

 

These are among my favorite birds: graceful and swift in flight, social in behavior, and stunning in color.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There has been a mixed flock of warblers around for several days now.  This is a Palm Warbler (Dendroica palmarum).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm not sure about this one, but will guess Pine Warbler (Dendroica pinus) until someone corrects me.

 

 

The Easter Bunny made an appearance, a day early.  Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus).

 

 

April 8th.  A distant Wood Duck (Aix sponsa).  (Low light; high ISO; high digital noise.)

 

 

Escaped ornamental Periwinkle (Vinca minor).

 

 

April 10th.  East of Route 207.  Small White Violets (Viola macloskeyi).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

False Hellebore (Veratrum viride), a lily. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Microlepidopteran; could it be Aristotelia isopelta in the Family Gelichiidae?  No, more like Pseudexentera virginiana in the Tortricidae.

 

 

One of several Letterboxes along the trail.  (In fact, there is another about 15' higher on the same banking, nestled in rocks at the base of a tree.)

 

 

Directions to this one are here.  There are a number of letterboxes along the trail.  You can find directions to them (and many others) by clicking the appropriate county here. All about Letterboxing here.

 

 

Downy Rattlesnake Plantain (Goodyera pubescens), an orchid, complete with last year's bloom stalk.

 

 

A male Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater).  Cowbirds often flock at bird feeders.  Females lay eggs in other birds' nests.

 

 

This one was displaying similarly to Red-winged Blackbirds - spreading its "shoulders" and tail while it called.  Note the short, heavy beak.

 

 

April 11th.  The trail picks up east of Willimantic at the junction of Route 66 and the Route 6 (highway) bypass.  A marsh there has supported multiple Great Blue Heron nests in the past.  This year, the water level was very high; the result of beaver activity.  (You can see part of the massive dam at the lower right.  The well made lodge is further to the right, outside the frame.)

 

 

Only one heron nest appeared to be active this year.  You can barely see the head of a bird above the nest wall in this photo.

 

 

Pink Earth lichen (Dibaeis baeomyces), an early colonizer of bare soil - in this case a dry bank beside the trail.

 

 

British Soldier lichen (Cladonia cristatella) is another early colonizer.

 

 

April 12th.  Magnificent clouds over the marsh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) cruising up the channel.

 

 

 

 

 

One of two far distant White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) out for a mid-day munch.

 

 

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wood Anemone (Anemone quinquefolia) beginning to open...

 

 

...and fully open.

 

 

Marsh Marigold or Cowslip (Caltha palustris).

 

 

The invasive Garlic Mustard (Alliaris petiolata)...

 

 

...is spreading along the trail margins.

 

 

The first Red Trilliums (Trillium erectum) will soon be open.

 

 

Ornamental Forsythia is in full bloom at the Route 85 trail head in Amston.