Along the Air Line... 2012 - Spring, Part 10
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

mHome Page
Stan Malcolm Photo



May 11th.  East of Route 207.  Red Admirals (Vanessa atalanta) each staked a claim to a patch of sun on the trail. I must have seen a dozen.



Pink Lady's-slipper orchids (Cypripedium acaule) were frequent along the trail borders.






The yellow globe is one of a pair of pollinia.  Bees enter through a slit in the pink pouch, looking for a nectar reward, but must pass by the pollinia in order to exit.  When they do, a pollinium sticks to the bee's back and is transported to the stigma of another orchid.






Starflower (Trientalis borealis).









Spirobolus, a 4" long MIllipede (Narceus americanus).  This was one of two I found crushed on the trail.  Their defensive benzoquinones deter most predators so these probably succumbed to a boot or a bird that will know better next time.  These two were probably among many millipedes dispersing in the previous night and early morning's wet weather - but failing to find shelter before meeting their fate.



A large Rove Beetle (Family Staphylinidae).



They're very fast.



I noticed a truck parked near the trail under power lines about a mile east of Route 207.  It managed to turn around and...



...somehow make it back up the very rocky track.



Back at the marsh near Route 207, there were Painted Turtles atop the Canada Goose nest, a sure sign that it had been abandoned.



This male Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) was a special treat.






May 12th.  Back east of Route 207, I counted 23 Painted Turtles on the abandoned Canada Goose nest.  There were probably more on the far side.



Far across the marsh, an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) perched.



A bold Robin perched above it.



The Osprey didn't seem concerned.  (Nor did the Robin.)



An Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma); another territorial species.



Wild Sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis in the Ginseng family Araliaceae).



The flower clusters arise on a separate stalk from the multiparted leaf that shelters them.



An Eastern Ribbon Snake (Thamnophis sauritus) is a species of special concern in Connecticut.



Northern Water Snakes (Nerodia sipedon) are very common.  This is one of several seen swimming in the beaver pond below the power lines.



A Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana).



May 14th.  A morning walk east of Route 207 turned up half a dozen live Spirobolus mIllipedes (Narceus americanus), as well as several more crushed on the trail.  Spirobolus walks with a metachronal wave which you can see in this photo. (Think "the wave" at sporting events.)



Iris and Violets bordering a small stream just beyond the power lines.



May 16th. Rain drops linger on a Lady's-slipper orchid shortly after a shower passed by.



Baltimore Orioles are singing but I've yet to find a nest.






Lots of Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) in bloom.  (Caterpillar food!)



May 17th.  More Spirobolus millipedes (Narceus americanus) east of Route 207.



Watch it walk.  (Sorry for the camera shake in the close up portion.)



White Baneberry or "Doll's Eyes" (Actaea pachypoda).






Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus).



Back at Raymond Brook Marsh in the afternoon.  Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus).



A selection of mainly-orange butterflys were about.  This is a Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos).






A Questionmark (Polygonia interrogationis).



American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis).






Hobomok Skipper (Poanes hobomok).



A Witch Hazel tree with many rolled leaves.



The insect inside keeps the leaf rolled by spinning silk attachments.






I snipped the silk bands in sequence to unroll the leaf...






...finally revealing the caterpillar and its frass inside.



May 20th.  First Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) I've seen on the trail this year.