Along the Air Line... 2014 - Spring, Part 5
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo



May 7th.  A good year for Red Trillium (Trillium erectum).















Dandelion (Taraxicum officinale).






Lots of Violets near the lumber yard.



Wild Strawberries (Fragraria virginiana).






Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema sp.).






Shadbush or Serviceberry (Amelanchier sp.).






Red Maple (Acer rubrum) seeds are developing.



A Bumblebee taking pollen from Wood Anemone (Anemone quinquefolia).



A Stink Bug (Family Pentatomidae).



May 8th.  Baltimore Orioles (Icterus galbula) are back at the marsh.  (...and in my yard where a half dozen are visiting my suet.)



This looks like an immature male not quite into breeding plumage.



One of three scruffy White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) far across the marsh.  (The other two deer had already retreated into the brush.)



Not sure what this one was eating but it didn't look very tasty.



May 9th.  Cloudy afternoon following a rainy morning.  Only the second time I've seen an American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) on the trail - and the first time I've managed to photograph one.



It was flitting among overhanging branches at the marsh's exit stream.



A male Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula).






Toothwort (Dentaria diphylla).  In the mustard family.



Sessile Bellwort or Wild Oats (Uvularia sessilifolia) flowers have opened.



Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema sp.).



Golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea) are just starting to open.



Large Violets still wet from the morning rain.



May 10th.  Warm and humid after morning showers.  Bluets or Quaker Ladies (Houstonia caerulea)  are in their prime.















Most of my pictures of Red Trillium (Trillium erectum) are taken with back lighting or flash.  Today's flat, overcast light made for more representative if less artistic colors.






Sessile Bellwort or Wild Oats (Uvularia sessilifolia), more fully open than yesterday.



Lady's Slipper orchids (Cypripedium acaule) are taller and beginning to show buds.



Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) are beautiful, and an important early spring food source for bumblebees, other bees, and other insects.  Let them bloom!



I'm pretty sure this and the next picture are of Andrenid mining bees (Family Andrenidae).






Red-necked False Blister Beetle (Family Oedemeridae, Asclera ruficollis).  It feeds on pollen in the spring.






Great weather for "herps".  This is a Stinkpot mud turtle (Sternothaerus odoratus).



Four Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta) soaking up the warmth.



An Eastern Racer (Coluber constrictor).  Much less common at the marsh than Northern Water Snakes.  It's not unusual to find these curled up in shrubby trees, hunting birds.



Scales of Eastern Racers lack keels (i.e., are smooth).  Underside bluish.



I was being watched.  I learned to focus the camera and then shift my weight between feet.  That slight movement was enough to get the snake to "sniff" me with its tongue.



Nice snaky.






Not far away, a smallish Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon) was stretched out sunning on the trail.  A good place to get run over by a bicycle.  Most Northern Water Snakes will beat a hasty retreat if approached.



Not this one.  Each time my foot got close, he tried to strike it.  Note the keeled scales and subtle patterning.









I gave up and left him where he was.



Not far away, another Northern Water Snake was stretched out on the trail.  This one behaved normally, slithering off into the vegetation when I got close.



May 13th.  White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) busy watching me, unaware of Lauren and Cooper approaching.



Both Cooper and the deer were pretty relaxed about the encounter.



Eastern Tent Caterpillars (Malacosoma americanum) have begun nest building.



Early instars shelter in the silken nest, then disperse to feed (typically on cherry, apple or other fruit bearing trees and shrubs).



Some Lady's Slipper orchid (Cypripedium acaule) buds are expanding, but no where near full size or color.