Along the Air Line... 2012 - Spring, Part 6
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo



April 20th, afternoon.  I decided to document the marsh in the state of severe drought, in order to compare it with its condition after the rain predicted for the next couple of days.



In a word, the marsh looks awful.  Much of it is mud and algal mats.  What open water there is, is very shallow.






Years ago, this was an active beaver lodge.  For the past two years it has been virtually submerged.















If anything, the marsh near the Colchester Spur junction is in even worse condition.






Dark specks atop the United Distillers chimney...



...turned out to be Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura).  The chimney is a favorite resting place, as are the skeletal steel beams of the former spirits storage building.












Back on the main marsh, one of the few geese in a small patch of open water.












April 23rd.  Heavy, steady rain for a day and night has finally filled the marsh to where it should be.  A relief not to see and smell mud.



There's enough water to start the exit stream flowing.



Compare these photos with those above, taken before the rain.



The old beaver lodge is sunken again.












The marsh near the Colchester Spur junction looks great too.



Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) were busy.






A Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodius) tolerated me walking close by.









The smallest Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta) that I've ever seen.  Cute as a button...



...and not much bigger.












The first Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon) I've seen this year.






Imagine if all these Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) flowers developed into fruit!






Purple Trillium (Trillium erectum) are still blooming.



The invasive Morrow's Honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii) has just started blooming.  It comes in white...



...and pale pink.