Along the Air Line... 2013 - Fall, Part 5
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo



October 13th.  Pre-dawn at Raymond Brrok Marsh.









Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) passing through.  Sunday, so a respite from hunters today.  (Hunting seasons posted here.)










































October 14th.  Foggy and just above freezing.

































In the afternoon, I stopped by for a look at the trail east of Cook Hill Road in Lebanon.  Was glad to see progress on surfacing.



This base level of sand and gravel will eventually receive a stone dust top coat.






Crab Apples (Malus coronaria).



At the east end of the heron's marsh, a trail leads off to the left and across a stone slab bridge over a brook (the marsh drainage).



Some pleasant views along that side trail but I didn't go far.  Although not posted, I assume it's private property and to be respected.












Back by the dairy farm, I found these fruits of the poisonous Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium var. tatula).



I tried photographing an ant on Rabbit's-foot Clover (Trifolium arvense) but didn't realize until I began editing that I had used an incorrect camera setting, resulting in shallow dedpth of field (and thus a lousy photo).  Normally I'd just throw away the shot, but there's a story worth telling:  the ant is tending a caterpillar, probably that of the Eastern Tailed-blue (Everes comyntas).  Although the situation is more complex than I'll try to relate, in summary, the ants defend the caterpillars from parasites and predators.  In return, the caterpillars produce a sugary fluid from abdominal glands which is consumed by the ants.



October 15th.  The Route 85 Trailhead in Hebron.






Hard to make out, but beavers have build a dam on Raymond Brook, not far from Old Colchester Road.






Back east of Cook Hill Road mid-morning, hoping for better pictures of the caterpillar-ant association.



No such luck: the clover they were on was buried under 6" of sand-gravel miix as surfacing work was resumed after the holiday.  Still, I found a number of other insects, including this Chinese "Praying" Mantis (Tenodera aridifolia).









A Woolly Bear caterpillar (Pyrrharctia isabella).



Another Woolly Bear, this one almost devoid of black spines.



A Flower Fly (Family Syrphidae) on Dandelion.






Seed Pods of Velvetleaf (Albutilon theophrastii), a member of the mallow family.  More about the plant here.