Along the Air Line... 2018 - Summer, Part 7
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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July 27th.  Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodius).















Barely glimpsed through thick emergent vegetation (the marsh is filling in)...



A female Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) and three of her four ducklings.



New York Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis).



Berry clusters of Carrion-flower (Smilax herbacea).  The plant is a climbing vine, seen here in the orange-brown stems and the pale green leaves without toothed margins.



The berries will darken to a near-black purple.



Home of a Funnel-weaver spider (Family Agelenidae).  On a non-sticky, flat sheet web, the spider hides in a funnel-shaped retreat.  When an insect lands on the web, the spider picks up the vibrations and darts out to paralyze it before dragging it down below.



July 28th.  Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodius)...









...on a heat hazy morning.












One of two young male Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa).



Showy Tick-trefoil (Desmodium canadense).  The "ticks" are the sticky seeds that break off and attach at the slightest touch.  "Trefoil" refers to the leaflets in threes, common to many plants in the pea/clover family.



Another plant in the pea family, Round-headed Bush-clover (Lespedeza capitata).



July 29th.  Round-headed Bush-clover (Lespedeza capitata) agian, this time earlier in the morning before any blossoms had opened.



A mid-instar Viceroy (Limenitis archippus) caterpillar on willow.  Bird poop mimic.  Nearly identical to the Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax) caterpillar that doesn't feed on willow.



Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota).









Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon) in a distant dead tree.



Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) in the same dead tree.



I saw two young adult female Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) still lacking critical flight feathers.






A female Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum sp.).



Male Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis).









Pollenia labialis is a Calliphorid fly that forms mating "leks" in sunny spots along the trail each summer.  Only a single male fly this morning but I expect to see large gatherings of them any day now.  For the full story of these interesting and harmless flies see:



July 30th.  A male Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus).



Common Looper (Autographa precationis).  From any distance at all, it looked like a crumpled bit of dried leaf crud.



July 31st.  Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) across Raymond Brook near Old Colchester Road.






Incredible year for Eastern Cottontails (Sylvilagus floridanus)...



...on the trail, in my yard, and reported by friends.



A yound Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus).



Two more, plus a young American Robin (Turdus migratorius)...



...and a young male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa).



Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis).






August 1st.  Young adult female Wood Duck (Aix sponsa).



August 2nd.  Summer Azure (Celastrina neglecta).



Great antennae.



Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos).



Amanita sp., I suppose.  Not sure what's up with the oddly shaped 'shroom on the left.