Along the Air Line... 2012-2013 - Winter, Part 5
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo

 

 

March 11th.  (Non-entomologists may opt to skip this and the next three pictures.)  This caddisfly larva - without a case - was crawling along atop snow at 34 degrees at 7:30 AM EDT - about 10 feet from the nearest open water. The locality was Raymond Brook Marsh along the Air Line rail trail in the Amston district of Hebron. At that point on one side, the marsh is shallow with emergent vegetation (in warmer weather); on the other side there is a channel with deeper, flowing water and a beaver lodge.

 

 

Since caddisflies normally spend their larval and pupal lives underwater and (in most species) inside a case of twigs or grains of rock, finding one out of water was unexpected.

 

 

I posted the pictures and locality data to BugGuide.net, hoping for an identification and explanation.

 

 

My first response was from Dave Ruiter, who wrote, "It is one of the Phryganeidae. I have never heard of them out walking on the snow, or out walking above water at all. They are very quick to leave their case. Often when you pick up a case under water they will bail out before you even get the case out of the water. I will ask around."

 

 

March 13th.  I wanted to know if Great Blue Herons had returned to the roost along the trail in Lebanon, east of Cook Hill Road.  I found seven of last year's eight nests intact, but no sign of birds yet.

 

 

This distant Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) was flitting about the marsh.

 

 

Several Dark-eyed Juncos (Junco hyemalis) were working the low shrubs near Cards Mill Road.

 

 

I also spotted this male spider on snow near the Cards Mill Road crossing.

 

 

March 13th.  The exit stream from the marsh east of Route 207 was roaring after yesterday's heavy rain and snow melt.

 

 

Male Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) with is crest folded.

 

 

From left to right, a male and female Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus), then a male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 14th.  An unexpected inch of sticky snow dusted the marsh just before dawn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 15th.One of several American Crows (Corvus brachyrhyncos) hanging around the marsh along with Ring-billed Gulls.  Both seem to be feeding on dead fish exposed by melting ice.  This bird was tearing apart some kind of cadaver.

 

 

First sighting of a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodius) on the marsh since last fall.

 

 

March 17th.  Canada Geese take off.

 

 

Backlit Mallard at dawn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 18th.  A check of the heron roost east of Cook Hill Road.

 

 

One bird on a nest but it flew before I could get a picture.

 

 

I spent a half hour photographing other things including this male Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus), but the heron never returned.

 

 

 

 

 

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis).

 

 

Probably a Song Sparrow; possibly a Savannah Sparrow.  Help?  (Russ Smiley confirms, Song Sparrow.  Thanks, Russ.)

 

 

Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) is a welcome sign of spring (despite predicted 3-5 inches of snow and sleet coming tonight).

 

 

Cows were out in the sun at the dairy farm near Cook Hill Road.