Along the Air Line... 2018 - Fall, Part 1
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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September 22nd.  Lots of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) at Cranberry Bog.















A Paper Wasp (Polistes sp.).









Eastern Yellowjacket (Vespula maculifrons).


















Honey Bee (Apis mellifera).






First fall-colored leaf - of a Red Maple (Acer rubrum) naturally.  Floating upside down amid Duckweed (Lemna minor).



Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea maculosa).



Smartweed (Polygonum sp.).



A month or so ago, I thought I was seeing the last Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus) blossoms.  Wrong again.



Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) with the bog's covering of Duckweed (Lemna minor) in the background.






Several species of Asters in bloom.






Pleasantly surprised to find four bloom stalks of the orchid, Nodding Ladies-Tresses (Spiranthes cernua), at the far end of Cranberry Bog.  I thought it had all been crowded out.  Particularly nice because the last specimen at Raymond Brook Marsh was mowed a week or so ago.









"Spiranthes" for the way the blossoms spiral around the stem.






September 26th.  High water at Raymond Brook Marsh after five inches of rain yesterday.



Lily pads submerged.



Water still across the trail in several places.






September 27th.  Water remains very high at the marsh.  Several pair of Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) were cruising in an area choked with emergent plants at normal water levels.  These were the first Mallards I've seen at the marsh in months.



September 30th.  Foggy morning at 44 degrees.  Fall truly in the air.


















October 1st.  Dead tree far across the marsh, enveloped in fall-colored Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) and green Concord Grape (Vitus sp.) leaves.






Someone has planted a couple of ornamental Asters at the Route 85 trail head.






Several flowers were partly eaten away and had a brown patch under the flower head.



The brown patch is alive!  It consists of a brown Camouflaged Looper (Synchlora aerata) caterpillar...



...which has decorated itself with chewed off parts of the flower - some of which have changed color with age.  Each time the caterpillar sheds its skin, it redecorates the new skin with fresh flower parts of composit flowers (Family Asteraceae).  (Caterpillar butt is down in this picture.  Head mostly hidden behind a single petal.)



A few Day-lilies (Hemerocallis fulva) still blooming at the trail head too.