Along the Air Line... 2012 - Spring, Part 9
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo

 

 

May 7th.  An afternoon visit to the Great Blue Heron roost in Lebanon.  All eight nests are occupied.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not a hot day, but warm enough.  This bird used spread wings and gular flutter to try and keep cool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Very tough to see, but I managed one shot of a fuzzy chick when it stuck its head up briefly.

 

 

Lots of Bullfrog tadpoles in the exit stream from the marsh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lots of Six-spotted Tiger Beetles (Cicindela sexguttata) on the trail leading to the marsh.

 

 

My first sighting of a Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) this year.

 

 

A fly feeding on a Strawberry flower.

 

 

A Gomphid "Clubtail" Dragonfly (Family Gomphidae), but I won't guess which one.

 

 

 

 

 

A particularly nice Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum) blossom.

 

 

May 8th.  Back to Raymond Brook Marsh where Early Azalea (Rhododendron roseum) has just started blooming.

 

 

 

 

 

I've long bemoaned the fact that there no businesses catering to the needs of trail users anywhere from East Hampton through Lebanon (and beyond for that matter).  That has now changed with the opening of Nicole's Firesign Grill outside the former Route 85 Lumber building near the Hebron trail head parking lot.

 

 

That's Nicole on the left.  Here's hoping the business is a success!  (Note: I've recently learned that plans are afoot to bring the Air Line Trail right into downtown East Hampton.  That should be a boon to local businesses and an attraction for trail users.)

 

 

May 10th.  The Lady's-slipper orchids (Cypripedium acaule) have colored up faster than I expected.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of two pairs of Canada Geese at Raymond Brook Marsh.  Neither pair seems to be concerned with eggs.

 

 

Yellow Pond or Bullhead Lilies (Nuphar vareigatum) are having a banner year as the marsh continues to fill in.  The blossoms are a favorite beaver snack.

 

 

 

 

 

The flower structure is unusual...

 

 

...consisting of an outer ring of six fleshy sepals, many stamen-like petals, and a central disk-like stigma.

 

 

An unidentified fly on Golden Alexanders.

 

 

 

 

 

May 11th.  A Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus).  I've had glimses of them for a few days now.  They seem to have arrived at the same time as Baltimore Orioles, Catbirds, and Towhees.

 

 

 

A Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia).

 

 

The dark patch on the breast is a good field character...

 

 

...as is its complicated song.  Listen here.

 

 

 

 

 

Several Cherry species (Prunus sp.) are in bloom.

 

 

Slugs were out after the past several days of rain.

 

 

The large oval area near the head of the slug is called the mantle.  On this side, near the bottom center you can see the single respiratory opening or pneumostome.  The longer, upper tentacles have light sensitive tips; while the shorter, lower pair pick up scent.

 

 

 

 

 

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) blossoms are long gone, but the bloom stalks have elongated and are topped with seed heads.  These superficially resemble Dandelion seed heads...

 

 

...but a comparison with a Dandelion shows how different they are.

 

 

Coltsfoot gets its name from the leaves which somewhat resemble a horse's hoof.  The leaves only appear after the flowers have gone by.