Along the Air Line... 2017- Spring, Part 2
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo

 

 

April 10th.  I went looking for Wood Frogs (Rana sylvatica) in a ditch where I see them every spring...

 

 

...but what I found there was a Green Frog (Rana clamitans).

 

 

A massive Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) crossed the trail ahead of me...

 

 

...and stuck its head up to watch me.

 

 

Ancient, other-worldly beast.

 

 

Many Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta) were out sunning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) flew in just ahead of me...

 

 

...and posed nicely.

 

 

Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) had a tough spring.  Much of it bloomed early (see the flower head at left) and was damaged by snow.  Most of what shows in this photo is a second growth surge.

 

 

Pussy Willows have opened and are showing pollen.

 

 

 

 

 

April 11th.  Spotted Turtles (Clemmys guttata) are a species of special concern in Connecticut.  This one was, ahem, spotted near the Rod & Gun Club just east of Route 207 in Hebron.  (Last week I found one along the trail in Lebanon.)

 

 

Guessing this is a pretty old individual by the condition of the scutes.

 

 

Mosses are loving our recent weather.

 

 

Fruiting bodies.

 

 

 

 

 

Water Striders (Family Gerridae, Aquarius sp.) were out, gliding along on the water's surface tension - among the first insects of spring.

 

 

See how the insect's tarsi dimple the water surface.

 

 

Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) sending up leaves.

 

 

Acorns are sprouting.

 

 

April 13th.  The first Cecropia Moth (Hyalophora cecropia) cocoon I've found in the wild in at least three years.  Sadly, this one has been attacked by a bird or birds (Downy Woodpecker and/or Tufted Titmouse).  The pupa inside remains only as a partial husk.

 

 

 

 

 

A small Jumping Spider has made a web and home inside the damaged cocoon.

 

 

A distant pair of Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa).

 

 

American Robin (Turdus migratorius).

 

 

Lots of warblers passing through today.  This is a male Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata).

 

 

The vast majority were Palm Warblers (Dendroica palmarum).

 

 

 

 

 

Tough to get photos as the birds seemed always on the move - until this one stopped to preen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looks like prep work has begun for the Air Line Trail mural.

 

 

April 15th.  Purple Trillium (Trillium erectum) has just broken ground.  Up about 1.5 inches.  These two plants have bloomed every year I can remember, despite being at the base of a tree that is scent marked by dogs religiously.  Err, ritually?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Less welcome is the invasive Garlic Mustard (Alliaria officinalis) about to bloom.

 

 

Early afternoon, April 15th.  I decided to take a quick peek at the westward extension of the Air Line Trail from downtown East Hampton.  This photo is taken from the trail where it restarts on the west side of Main Street.  You can see the trail on the east side of Main Street, just to the right of Main Street Pizza.  (For orientation to this and other pictures, check the following map.)

 

 

Among other things, note Po's Rice and Spice restaurant.  Keep it in mind for delicious slightly upscale Chinese and Thai meals.

 

 

Stepping back from the brink but still facing east, you'll find a sign board and two nice benches.

 

 

Turning west, on the left is parking off Town Hall Road.  On the right is the old train station, now in use by a Volvo mechanic.

 

 

Walking west, I came across this bank of flowers I've never seen before.  Thanks to Heather Campbell for identifying it as Lesser Celandine (Ficaria verna), a poisonous invasive.  Read more at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ficaria_verna

 

 

The leaves are leathery and heart-shaped; they and the flowers remind me of Marsh Marigolds, but with 8 to 10 petals, not 5.

 

 

The shine on some of the petals reminds me of Buttercups, like Marsh Marigold a member of the family Ranunculaceae.

 

 

I soon reached Forest Street and turned back.  Too much to do today to explore further.  Much of what I saw in this short stretch is still pretty raw but I'm sure it will be tidied up and have much to offer in the future.  Already, downtown East Hampton offers the only places to eat within sight of the trail.