Along the Air Line... 2016 - Spring, Part 4
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo

 

 

April 30th.  A midday walk east of Cook Hill Road in Lebanon, past the dairy farm and marsh.

 

 

No herons, but quite a few Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) at the marsh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lots of Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) blooming, providing an early source of pollen for bees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mostly Honey Bees (Apis mellifera) today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Cabbage White (Pieris rapae).

 

 

A male Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus) extracting essential minerals from the trail surface.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A male Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) doing the same.  Many male butterflies ingest minerals from soil, mud, or dung and pass them along with sperm to females.  Females need these nutrients for their eggs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Buttercup (Ranunculus acris).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wood Anemone (Anemone quinquefolia).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cinquefoil (Potentilla sp.).

 

 

Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) with unidentified beetles.

 

 

Bluets (Houstonia caerulea).

 

 

A Peppergrass (Lepidium sp.)

 

 

This male Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) blends remarkably well with the trail surface.

 

 

In the following video, note how it rubs its hind wings together.

 

 

 

 

 

Barn cat on patrol.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hunkered down at my approach, but still watching me.

 

 

May 2nd, 6:55 P.M.  I wish this was my photo, but in fact the photographer is Russ Smiley. I've never seen a Bobcat (Lynx rufus), nor had Russ.  This one was about 1/4 mile east of Old Colchester Road, very close to where Raymond Brook Marsh widens out.  Russ was facing east and much further away than the photo implies.

 

 

Russ' photo again, cropped close.  In the past several years, I've met people on the trail that have reported seeing Bobcats in Amston and Hebron, including not far from here along Old Colchester Road.  I believed them, but for the skeptics here's proof.

 

 

May 3rd, late morning.  Raining all day.

 

 

Lady's Slipper Orchids (Cypripedium acaule) are up about 6 inches and showing buds.

 

 

 

 

 

May 5th.  Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) and the occasional Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) working the marsh for small flying insects, most probably non-biting Midges (Family Chironomidae), superficially similar to mosquitoes.

 

 

For the most part, they flew into the wind, barely moving forward and presumably letting the wind bring the insects to them.

 

 

May 7th.  Gloomy with drizzle off and on.  Crab Apple (Malus sp.)

 

 

 

 

 

Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum).

 

 

 

 

 

A Beaver (Castor canadensis) crossed the trail just 30' ahead of me, but the camera was too slow to focus.  Best I could do was this water shot as it motored away.

 

 

Three Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) taking a break from hunting insects on the wing.

 

 

Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema sp.).

 

 

A natural terrarium.  Lots of different plants, but note the larger three-parted leaves.  They're of Goldthread (Coptis groenlandica), named for its bright yellow roots.  Some of the smaller leaves are Rue-anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides).

 

 

Early afternoon.  A brief stop at Cranberry Bog in East Hampton.  Just this one Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) that I saw.  Is there another on a nest nearby?

 

 

 

 

 

Gill-over-the-Ground (Glechoma hederacea).

 

 

English Plantain (Plantago lanceolata).

 

 

 

 

 

May 9th.  First male Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) of the year.  I saw a female too.

 

 

 

 

 

Today I hung my Connecticut Dept of Transportation gallery show featuring 36 of my Air Line Trail photos. Took just under 5 hours to put everything up - not counting the days of prep here. Lots of nice comments from passersby as I worked, but my pics sure seem tiny in that massive 3-story high atrium.  DOT has collaborated with DEEP (CT Dept of Energy and Environmental Protection) as well as the towns along the route to restore most of the old Air Line railroad as a linear State Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 10th.  Mostly Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) taking a communal break from insect hunting.

 

 

 

 

 

One Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) at the lower left.