Along the Air Line... 2015-2016 - Winter, Part 4
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo

 

 

February 3rd.  Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) patrolling the marsh edges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 4th.  A brief interlude of warm, dry, ice-free ground before more snow tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) are back with the open water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lots of acorns revealed with the retreat of snow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 8th.  Heavy snow on February 5th kept me off the trail until this morning - and now it's snowing again.  Meanwhile back here, the large dragonfly nymph is out of the water, presumable preparing to molt.  Hopefully to another nymphal instar, but possibly to a winged adult.

 

 

The green plants are Duckweed (Lemna minor) which consist of a leaf or two and a root.  No stem.  Though capable of flowering, it rarely does.  Instead, it multiplies by budding off new plants.  It spreads to new marshes on the bodies or feet of waterfowl.

 

 

February 10th.  Finally, a late afternoon visit to the marsh, despite an unplowed parking lot and daily snow showers.

 

 

Despite appearances, it has only been six days since open water.  I wouldn't remotely trust that ice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 13th., Bitter cold but sunny.  Wind forercast for later, into tomorrow.

 

 

Seedhead of the invasive Common Reed (Phragmites australis).

 

 

One of two active beaver lodges; both covered in snow.

 

 

Lichen, high in a red maple.

 

 

Wishful thinking, or are those Red Maple (Acer rubrum) buds beginning to swell?

 

 

February 12th.  Still no molt by the large dragionfly nymph.  I've begun to wonder if it's still alive.  The duckweed clinging to it has dried up.

 

 

February 13th.  Yup, still alive, now resting atop the twig and facing the other direction.

 

 

 

 

 

February 14th.  Thirteen below zero and windy.  No walk today, but some photos from the aquatics tank (of insects collected from Raymond Brook Marsh).  The dragonfly nymph continues to shift around without re-entering the water.

 

 

The Caddisfly larvae (Order Trichoptera) are feeding on Duckweed roots (Lemna minor).

 

 

Note the light colored abdominal gills as the larva stretches out of its case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 15th.  Leaden sky foretells snow later in the day, to be followed by freezing rain, then rain overnight.  From minus 9 degrees at dawn today, we're to expect temps in the mid 50s with rain tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 16th.  The first Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) of 2016.  Right on time.  (In fact, friend Roland reports hearing one a few days ago.)

 

 

Forgive the poor photos but he was in a tough spot and not displaying.  (You should-n't see the other photos I didn't post.)

 

 

February 17th. Temps in the 50s and over an inch of rain yesterday drastically changed the marsh, raising water levels and melting a lot of the ice.

 

 

A flock of American Robins (Turdus migratorius) were feeding on... something.

 

 

Among the Robins was this male Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus).