Along the Air Line... 2015-2016 - Winter, Part 6
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo

 

 

February 28th. Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) on the open water.

 

 

March 1st.  Bark Beetle (Family Curculionidae; subfamily Scolytinae) tunnels.  A female adult beetle made the large central track, laying eggs along the way.  The eggs hatched, the tiny larvae ate their way laterally outward, their tracks enlarging as the larvae grew.  When mature, the adult offspring burrowed out through the bark to fly away.

 

 

Insect art.

 

 

 

 

 

Alder catkins are maturing and starting to shed pollen.

 

 

More Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoniceus) every decent day.

 

 

 

 

 

Lousy backlit pictures of an Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis).

 

 

 

 

 

A pair of Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos).

 

 

March 4th.  Thanks, Sue, for alerting me to this Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) far across Raymond Brook Marsh.  Only the fourth eagle I've seen at the marsh in 14.5 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 6th.  Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoniceus) numerous, low, and displaying their epaulettes..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Grackles (Quiscalus quiscula) are displaying too.

 

 

March 8th. No luck spotting ducks at the marsh east of Route 207.

 

 

Nice tree though.

 

 

March 9th.  A female Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) crossing the trail at Raymond Brook Marsh.

 

 

March 9th, mid afternoon.  At 77 degrees, a walk east from Route 207, hoping to find a Mourning Cloak butterfly.  Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) caught my eye.

 

 

Didn't have to go far before spotting my first Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa).  They overwinter as adults so are out on the earliest warm days.  This one was gathering minerals needed for reproduction from a dried dog poop.

 

 

Close their wings and they blend in with dead leaves.

 

 

 

 

 

Afterwards, a stop at Raymond Brook Marsh where I saw my first Wood Frog (Rana sylvestris) of the year, and heard distant Spring Peepers.

 

 

A pair of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) were checking out the ancient beaver lodge where a pair (this pair?) nested last year.  (The other goose is behind the stump.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos).

 

 

No comment.

 

 

One of three Common Grackles (Quiscalus quiscula) perched together.

 

 

 

 

 

Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta). were out!  Four...

 

 

Six...

 

 

Ten!

 

 

March 11th.  Lots of Wood Frogs (Rana sylvestris) in chorus or on the move in or near the vernal pools east of Old Hartford Road and west of the Jeremy River Bridge..

 

 

 

 

 

They vary quite a bit in color.  This one quite tawny...

 

 

...while this one was darker and mottled.

 

 

I saw several egg masses already.

 

 

That's a Water Strider (Family Gerridae) in the upper left.  Nice to see them active too.

 

 

Back to Raymond Brook Marsh for a beautiful early afternoon.

 

 

Spring Peepers (Hyla crucifer) chorus in the distance.

 

 

 

 

 

Lots of Wood Frogs (Rana sylvestris) in shallow areas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pair of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) seen recently seems to be hanging around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Several pair of Mallards, of course.

 

 

Another sunny afternoon brought Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta) out to warm themselves.

 

 

Traffic jam, or audience for the central turtle's balancing act.

 

 

I counted 23 turtles in the high resolution original of this picture.

 

 

Inchworm rescued from a passerby's clothing.  This species overwinters in the caterpillar stage, gaining some protection as a twig mimic.  Often they'll rest extended from the branch, held in place by the hind prolegs.  Alternatively, they'll hunker down in bark crevices.  (Working on an ID.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 12th.  One of two pair of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) on the marsh this morning.