Along the Air Line... 2012 - Spring, Part 7
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo



April 24th, afternoon.  A two-headed Canada Goose at Cranberry Bog in East Hampton.



Oh.  ;-)



I wondered why this female Mallard was so still near the trail until I got very close...



...and a dozen ducklings scooted from under her tented wings and headed for the water.









Rear guard hurrying to catch up...



...before exploring to the left.






Not far down the trail, Golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea) were blooming.






Plenty of Jack-in-the-pulpit too.



April 25th.  A pair of Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors) have been around the marsh recently.



A few Lady's-slipper Orchids (Cypripedium acaule) are showing - about 4" tall.



Pond or Bullhead Lilies (Nuphar vareigatum) are starting to bloom.



April 26th. Tree reflections.  A walk east of Route 207.



A pair of Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) landed on the marsh.



The Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) nest is safe, high and dry despite the recent heavy rains.  The male looks on attentively as his mate broods over her eggs.



Definitely nesting season: a female Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) above a nest hole.



Right beside the trail, a female American Robin (Turdus migratorius) adds moist leaves to her nest lining.



Her mate next stopped by, not adding anything...



...but with one eye turned to inspect her work.



April 27th, 2012.  Jack (and Jill?) in conversation.



Trees are leafing out; here translucent with the sun behind them.









Sadly, the dead tree which hosted Tree Swallows for many years, now has shed its top three feet.  The next few feet with additional nest holes may well go in today's strong winds.  I'm pretty sure no birds were nesting there this year.  Perhaps they could tell its time was up.



April 29th. Large-flowered Bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora).






Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum biflorum).



A bird's nest right above the Route 85 trail head parking lot.



It remains to be seen who made it.



April 30th.  East of Route 207, the Robin's nest is complete.  The male perched on the rim, very still.



Robins line their nests with mud.  You can see the caked mud on the rim in this photo.



There was another, larger nest not far away.



Looking closer, you can see a beak and eye at the left, and a tail at the right.



It's a Grackle nest.  (The eye and beak give it away.)



While I stood nearby, the Canada Goose pair flew back to their nest across the marsh.  Mom approached the nest...



...and groomed, while Dad remained close by.



Further along the trail, Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) seedlings catch the morning sun.



April 30th.  Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum) is blooming in many places, but...



...these pictures were taken on the trail near the heron roost.






Nice clumps of Violets too.



Near the marsh, invasive Russion Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) is also blooming.



Still plenty of Juvenal's Duskywing skippers (Erynnis juvenalis) around.  Good luck finding them unless you see where they land.



Skippers' antennae are clubbed, but unlike the blunt clubs of other butterflies, these are recurved and taper at the tip.



The Great Blue Heron nests remain active, some with birds standing...



...and others brooding.






This bird's belly feathers are in disarray, some probably plucked for nest lining.