Along the Air Line... 2018 - Spring, Part 4
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo

 

 

April 20th.  A midday stop at Cranberry Bog to check on the Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) nest.  I was surprised to notice a Mallard nesting about three feet away (at the left in this photo.)

 

 

From a different angle and close up, note the Mallard head at the lower right.

 

 

Here she is!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The male Canada Goose is around, but comes and goes from the nest area.

 

 

 

\

 

Awkward.

 

 

 

 

 

The male Goose did head back towards the nest when this Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodius) got close.

 

 

April 21st.  Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) has just started to bloom.

 

 

Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) is leafing out...

 

 

...as is the superficially similar but unrelated False Hellibore (Veratrum viride).  Note the pleated leaves.

 

 

The invasive Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata).

 

 

One of a pair of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) resident at Raymond Brook Marsh.

 

 

A brief afternoon stop at Cranberry Bog.  The female Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) tidying up the nest, pulling stray down and grass back in.

 

 

The male looking on nearby.

 

 

 

 

 

See how close the goose and duck nests are?  The Mallard off the nest, flicking wayward nest stuffing back in.

 

 

See the egg towards the right?

 

 

Settling back in on the eggs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Dad", off for a paddle.

 

 

Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta) nearby.

 

 

"Mom", off to do more nest maintenance.

 

 

April 22nd.  Red-winged Blackbird males at Raymond Brook Marsh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) atop a Wood Duck nest box.

 

 

Male Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), hanging out.

 

 

April 23rd.  An Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) far across the marsh.  It soon flew off to the east.

 

 

Closely cropped, you can see some color "fringing", for example, the yellow above the eye.  This is a limit of the camera's optics.

 

 

Digital noise (speckling) obvious in the brown feathers.  Still, not too shabby for an extreme crop of a small sensor photo taken at 1365mm equivalent telephoto.

 

 

Later in the morning, a walk west from the Brownstone Bridge on River Road to see Trailing Arbutus (Epigaea repens) in bloom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's pollinated by Bee Flies (Family Bombyliidae).

 

 

This looks like the Greater Bee Fly (Bombylius major).

 

 

Back to the flowers, which are very fragrant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The leaves are evergreen and take a beating over the winter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 24th.  Beaver (Castor canadensis) submerging before entering its lodge.

 

 

Anyone see the upside down caterpillar front end at the upper right among these rippled twigs?  (Hint: just above the bunny head.)

 

 

Does this help?

 

 

April 26th.  First Red Trillium (Trillium erectum) I've seen in bud this year.  Remarkable that this plant has survived over the many years I've photographed it.  It grows beside a tree adjacent to the trail that is a prime location for dogs to scent mark.