Along the Air Line... 2015 - Spring, Part 3
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo



April 19th. Red Maples (Acer rubrum) and many other trees are starting to bloom...



...yielding fall-like colors in the low morning sun.



Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) is sending out leaves.



Dragonfly nymphs (Odonata; Aeshnidae) from Cranberry Bog in East Hampton.









April 22nd.    Female Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos).



A female Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) perched above what I hope is its nest hole.  It has been several years since the swallows have nested close enough to the trail to allow photos.



A pair of Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa).






Hummocks are fast greening up.



The two most vulnerable Red Trilliums (Trillium erectum) on the trail.  Situated next to a tree in a bare spot, they're subject to dog pee and being picked.



Late morning, east of Cook Hill Road in Lebanon.  Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia).










The outlet stream from what was the heron roost marsh, just a few yards north of the trail proper.






Several Spring Azures (Celastrina ladon) on or near the wooded sections of the trail.



Hindwing coloration is variable between individuals. This one has a dark medial patch on the hindwing as well as a dark border.



If it wasn't for the shadow, this one would be very hard to spot.  Frequently, the butterflies rest pointed directly towards or away from the sun, minimizing the shadow and making them even harder to spot.






Another Spring Azure, this one with lighter hind wings.  It's picking up nutrients from horse dung.  Dung, carrion, and mud attract many butterflies, especially males which take nutrients important to egg development.  Males pass these to females in their spermatophores.



April 23rd.  A Birch down across the trail as a result of yesterday's strong winds.



Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii).






Red Maple blossoms against pine.



April 25th. Trailing Arbutus (Epigaea repens) west of the brownstone bridge over River Road came through the winter very well and is covered in flowers.















Two Bee Flies (Family Bombyliidae; probably the Greater Bee Fly Bombylius major) were necataring on the Trailing Arbutus.



Larval Bee Flies are parasites of solitary bees (e.g., Andrena sp.).












A Click Beetle (Family Elateridae) resting on a Trailing Arbutus leaf.



Looking down on Red Maple (Acer rubrum) flowers above the Blackledge River.



April 27th.  Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) in full display.



April 28th.  A Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) far across the marsh.