Along the Air Line... 2012 - Summer, Part 2
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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July 4th.  The three Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) nestlings perch more on the nest than in it these days.



Surely they'll fledge soon.



Best viewed fullscreen.



Fringed Loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata) has nodding petals...



that hide most of the flowers' beauty.



Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) and a Cuckoo Bee (Family Halictidae).



Something I've never noticed on the trail, though it's big enough to have been around for several years; Shining or Winged Sumac (Rhus copallina).  Note the flattened "winged" axis between the leaflets.



Spotted Wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata) is blooming.



July 6th.  A young buck White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus).






Two does at the left were hard to see in the shadows.



July 7th.  The Kingbirds have fledged, but remain in the alders on the old beaver lodge.












Two female Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa).  I'd guess one or both were born this spring.






Although the grand opening is several weeks away, with some tidying up yet to do...



...the Air Line Trail is now complete and open to downtown East Hampton and its restaurants and shops!  Nice paved parking lot too.



Ramps take you up...



...past some very nice stone work... a new wooden deck on girders left over for the railroad era.



From the bridge, you can look down to Pocotopaug Creek.



Looking back up at the bridge from near Watrous Street.



Beyond the bridge, ramps lead back to a road crossing...



...and then to the trail.  Read more about the trail improvement in this Hartford Courant article.



At the old Cranberry Bog trail head off Smith Street, I met two of the first through riders to start from Main Street, Joe Busher and Stamatis Kounaris.



Lots blooming around Cranberry Bog.  Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) with a flower-feeding Longhorned Beetle (Family Cerambycidae) at the upper left.






This pretty little thing is a Pondside Pyralid moth (Elophila iccusalis).  The caterpillars feed on pond lilies and other aquatic plants.






Sweet Pea (Lathrus odoratus).






A Knapweed (Centaurea sp.).



Asiatic Dayflower (Commelina communis).



Another Longhorned Beetle, on Tall Meadow Rue (Thalictrum polygamum).



July 11th.  Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) mom (foreground) and 6 of 7 teenagers.



July 12th.  Meadowsweet (Spiraea latifolia).






July 13th.  A large flock of Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) atop a marsh-side tree.



Adults and young of the year taking a break to groom.






A Questionmark butterfly (Polygonia interrogationis).  Cryptic dead leaf mimicry below with two small silver markings: a curve and a dot   Together they form a questionmark (with a little imagination).






Questionmarks, and the other "anglewing" butterflies, are territorial.  Not only are their underwings cryptic (especially when resting on leaf litter), but perched in the sunshine, they orient to minimize their shadow.



But it can display a bright startle coloration when disturbed or when another butterfly enters its territory.






Up close, you can see that this one has lost the tip of the right front wing and is showing some wear to the wings' scales.  It has probably been flying for a week or two.