Along the Air Line... 2011-2012 - Winter, Part 1
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo



December 24th.  Pre-dawn at Raymond Brook Marsh.
















































December 31st.  A Parchment fungus, possibly Crowded Parchment (Stereum complicatum).






Springtails (Collembola) were wandering over the fungus and adjacent twigs.  Springtails are Arthropods but not considered insects.  Instead they are in the Class Entognatha.  This is a species in the Order Symphypleona; probably the Family Sminthuridae.



They are very, very cute.




Turkey-tail Polypore (Trametes versicolor) on White Birch logs.



Haircap Moss gives a welcome touch of green.



Resident Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) still enjoy open water on the marsh.



January 1st.  Happy New Year!  Back to the trail, hoping for better Springtail photos using tripod and remote shutter release.  Yesterday's fungi were all dried up and no sign of Springtails on them.  However, poking around in the leaf litter below, I found a few more Symphypleonids like yesterday's, and more numerous Collembola of a type commonly known as Snow Fleas.  These are smaller (which means really small) and slate grey.  They get their name from their habit of massing atop the snow at times during the winter, in numbers such that the snow appears black.



These slender Springtails are probably Hypogastrura sp.  Learn more about Snow Fleas here.



January 2nd. A little pre-dawn pink on the northwest side of the marsh.



A lone Gull circled overhead.



January 4th.  Six degrees.  Ice and frost coating roots above the marsh exit stream.



I found a bird-pecked Cecropia Moth cocoon along the trail. 
See the surprise I found inside.



January 7th.  Warm light as sunset approaches.
























January 10th.  Moonset.






January 12th.  A Jelly Fungus (Order Tremellales. probably Tremella sp.).



Foliose Lichen.  (A little green in a bleak landscape.)



Climbing Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) roots on a tree trunk.



Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) enjoying open water in the marsh.



January 13th.  Blustery winds and fast moving clouds mark a change in the weather.



Several American Tree Sparrows (Spizella arborea) were feeding at the trail edge in the marsh.



American Tree Sparrows are distinguished by their rusty cap, dark smudge on the breast, two wing bars, and dark upper bill.



What's that far-distant bird that blends in with the top of the dead tree?



Ah, a female Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus).






January 14th.  A little pre-dawn color...



...and a sun pillar a few minutes later.



A Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon) has been hanging around the marsh, though always far from humans.  Only its distinctive call draws attention to it.