Along the Air Line... 2018 - Spring, Part 2
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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March 28th.  An early afternoon visit to Raymond Brook Marsh with temp around 50 degrees and occasional glimpses of the sun. 
Wood Frogs (Rana sylvatica) in chorus again.












In mid-call and generating waves.












Lots of Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta) out this afternoon.  One...









...and eight.



March 29th.  A pair of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis).  I wonder if they'll stay around, given the uncertainty of water levels in the marsh.



March 30th.  Light rain falling and temp approaching 60 degrees.  Spring Peepers (Hyla crucifer) in chorus.









American Crow (Corvus brachyrhyncos).



Bald spot on its neck.  Not at the top of the social pecking order?



March 31st.  A male American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) in mid-molt and singing for all he was worth.



Male Alder (Alnus incana rugosa) flowers in catkins are open and shedding pollen at the slightest touch or breeze.






Hummocks are sprouting green shoots.






First sign of leaves; I think of invasive Morrow's Honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii).



I finally got some pictures of an American Beaver (Castor canadensis) that I've seen recently in the channel, not far from the lodge.


















April 2nd.  Four or five inches of snow this morning that's quickly melting, thank goodness.















Northern "Yellow-shafted" Flicker (Colaptes auratus).



Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon).  Far away.  (They always are.)












Patches of blue.












April 3rd.  Immature Red-shouldered Hawk? (Buteo lineatus) trying but failing to hide from mobbing crows.



One of a pair of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) hanging around the marsh.



April 4th.  Another rainy day.  Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodius) perched high over Raymond Brook Marsh.



Early afternoon.  A single Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) at Cranberry Bog in East Hampton.



Feeding on Duckweed (Lemna minor) which has just begun rising from the bottom where it sank in the fall. Duckweed leaves store starch in the fall, filling air pockets between the cells and causing the plants to sink and be sheltered from surface ice.  The plants, sporting new small bright green leaves rise as they begin to photosynthesize, producing Oxygen.  Along with Carbon Dioxide in the leaves, the plants become boyant enough to float.  (Explanation courtesy of Declan McCabe in Northland Woodlands magazine, Spring 2018 issue.)






Bath time for the barnyard geese just east of Cranberry Bog.









April 6th.  There's a Coyote (Canis latrans) that seems to use the trail through the marsh as its personal highway, traveling east to west.  I've seen its prints and scat in fresh snow over the winter.  Today the animal itself was seen - up close and personal - by trail regular Joan.



After dodging into the channel to avoid Joan, the Coyote continued on, zigzagging into the marsh at several points (wet footprints and a spot where he shook off water) before exiting to the left somewhere close to Old Colchester Road.