Along the Air Line... 2014 - Spring, Part 1
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo



March 20th, the first day of spring.  My first sighting of Hooded Mergansers (Lophodytes cucullatus) this year, though others have seen them for roughly a week.  From far away across the marsh, when I took this photo I had no idea that the bird had just caught a fish.



Male at left; female at right.






This and the next picture show the vast difference in size compared to Mallards.






Two Ring-billed Gulls (Larus delawarensis) scavenging on the remaining ice.



Some interesting behaviors...






...before the gull on the left chased the one on the right.



Time to seek another ice floe.



March 21st.  Two male Ring-necked Ducks (Aythya collaris) passing through.  They get their name from the brownish ring around their necks, not the more obvious white rings around their beaks.






Afternoon, still March 21st.  First Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodius) photos of the year.






Hooded Mergansers (Lophodytes cucullatus) have moved far out on the channel side of the marsh.



March 22nd.  One of three Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodius) on the marsh today.






Four Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) today.  Staying or just passing through?



March 23rd.  In Lebanon, a quick walk through the dairy farm to check on the heron roost.



No sign of activity at the two remaining nests (and two partial nests).  Water level in the marsh is way down, and the area still looks winter-bleak.



This moss in a tree hole was about the only green to be seen.



March 24th.  A pair of Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) on the channel side.






Canada Geese and Mallards clustered in the minimal open water on the marsh side.  (14 degrees overnight.)



Hooded Mergansers (Lophodytes cucullatus) a bit closer on the channel side of the marsh today.















March 25th.  First Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) of the year - resting far across the marsh.




March 28th.  I should probably stop posting pictures of Hooded Mergansers (Lophodytes cucullatus), but they're so handsome, and such a treat during their brief stay on the marsh after such a brutal winter.






March 29th.  Forty degrees and the marsh virtually snow free at last.



A pair of Common Mergansers (Mergus merganser) briefly spotted - before I was spotted and they flew off.  Common Mergansers are anything but on inland marshes; they're much more likely on the Connecticut River.



March 30th.  High water in the marsh after heavy rain overnight.  Hummocks and the bases of shrubs submerged.






Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) perched above what might be nest sides.



























Grayville Falls was really moving.