Along the Air Line... 2018 - Spring, Part 10
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo



May 16th.  A flock of Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) moved through the marsh edges this morning.









Male Yellow Rumped "Myrtle" Warbler (Dendroica coronata).



Common Yellowthroat warbler (Geothlypis trichas).






Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodius).



Missing some feathers on its neck.






A late morning stop at Cranberry Bog.  The Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) family taking a break.



No sign of Mallards or the duckling.  Guessing they're safe in the tall grass.



Some small and/or inconspicuous early bloomers:  Speedwell (Veronica sp.).



English Plantain (Plantago lanceolata).



Mouse-ear Chickweed (Cerastium vulgatum).



Bluets (Houstonia caerulea).



Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum).



Common Buttercup (Ranunculus acris).



May 17th.  After the rain stopped, a mid-day walk west from Grayville Road to check on the orchids down by Judd Brook.  Along the way, I spotted what I think is Witches Butter or Orange Tremella (Tremella mesenterica)... but Orange Jelly (Dacrymyces palmatus) is a possibility. Note slug at the lower right.



Before Judd Brook, on the left, is a nice patch of Pink Lady's-slipper orchids (Cyprepedium acaule). Still a few days before they open and color-up.






Lots of Wild Geraniums (Geranium maculatum) blooming now.









Grove Sandwort (Moehringia lateriflora); tiny, easily overlooked.



Later, a brief walk at the far end of the Colchester Spur, near Sunshine Cycle.  Wild Geranium, Dandelions, Mustard, and Violets in bloom, but the area dominated by Ragweed.



Finally, some insects to share!  Probably an Andrenid Bee (Andrena sp.).



Ants and a female Mosquito (Family Culicidae).  Females require water and nectar for sustenance - and a blood meal to support egg production.



First Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus) this year.



May 18th. Pink Azalea or Pinxter-Flower (Rhododendron nudiflorum) is in bud.



Choke Cherry (Prunus virginiana) is blooming.



One of several Eastern Chipmunks (Tamias striatus) with exits from their burrows in the middle of the trail.  This one's hole is directly below and he popped down into it as I approached.



A Viceroy (Limenitis archippus) or a Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax) caterpillar on a maple leaf.



The caterpillars are virtually indestinguishable; the butterflies vastly different.  I've never noticed the tiny metallic blue spots before.






May 19th.  Feeding damage holes in oak and other leaves alerted me to check the undersides...



...where early instar Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar) caterpillars are feeding and growing fast.









Some sort of Cherry (Prunus sp.) or Apple (Malus sp.) maybe?  Just a little plant for now, no more than a foot tall.



Male American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis).



A mid-morning stop at Cranberry Bog to check on the goslings.



Waking up.






Now that's a foot!









First in the water, calling its siblings.





















Back to the shore for a snack.



Remember yesterday's caterpillar?  (If not, scroll up a bit.)  Today it spun a button of silk on the maple twig and attached itself to it.  Tomorrow or the next day, it's likely to shed its caterpillar skin and become a chrysalis (the term for a butterfly's pupal stage).



Good chance for some closups.