Along the Air Line... 2017- Spring, Part 1
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo



March 21st.  Second day of spring and first Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodius) on the marsh.









Two pair of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) took off from the sparse open water.



Lots of the Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) that have stayed near through the winter.



March 25th.  A pair of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) seem to be hanging around.  Not sure they'll find a decent nesting spot though.



With ice melting a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodius) was back on the marsh.



March 26th.  Warm early sunlight with dark clouds to the southwest.






First Hooded Mergansers (Lophodytes cucullatus) I've manged to photograph this year.  This is the male.



Here are the pair, along with a bottoms-up Mallard.



Common Grackles (Quiscalus quiscula) have been around for awhile...



...but until today were too shy for photos.  Wonderful irridescence.



They call and display similarly to Red-winged Blackbirds.



One of a pair of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) that have been around lately.



A second pair circled and landed...



...and were soon attacked by the resident pair.  Much flappig of wings and head down posturing until the new pair were deemed far enough away from the first pair's "turf".









American Robin (Turdus migratorius).



Last but not least, the ubiquitous Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos).






March 28th.  Foggy morning after much rain yesterday and showers earlier today.



Ring-necked Ducks (Aythya collaris) were passing through.









A distant female Wood Duck (Aix sponsa).



March 30th.  A female Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) has claimed a small hummock.



(Her mate is out of the frame, to the right.)



She continues to groom as a male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) paddles by.



A male Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) challenged her for the spot.



He won.



Winter not going away.  Very few signs of spring other than the waterfowl.



Winter birds like this Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) are still common.



Fifteen minutes after the earlier pictures, the female Ring-necked Duck has reclaimed her hummock...



...and the male remains close.






April 5th.  A mid-morning walk east from Cook Hill Road in Lebanon.  Few signs of green.  I did see Tree Swallows over the marsh...



...and this male Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis).



This large uncommon Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata) was not far off the trail.



Budding naturalist granddaughter Hazel?  One could only hope.









Moss and Lichen on an old railroad tie.



April 9th.  Red Maples (Acer rubrum) finally starting to blossom.






A dead tree down just east of Route 207.



A pair of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis), hopefully nesting.



A Promethea Moth (Callosamia promethea) cocoon, first I've seen in the wild in years.  On a shrub out over the water. I couldn't reach it to see if it was vable or perhaps left over from a previous year.