Along the Air Line... 2017-2018 - Winter, Part 1
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo



December 26th.  Nineteen degrees.



A first on the trail - after 16+ years walking the trail through Raymond Brook Marsh!  These are "snow rollers", a rare phenomenon requiring perfect conditions of surface, snow, and wind.



I found a good description of this and other strange ice formations here: 
The following is copied from that site, but please visit to see the other oddities they've captured.

Snow rollers

They look a lot like baled hay made of snow. And in a way, that's a pretty accurate description. In a similar way to how hay is rolled up into large balls, a snow roller is formed as a chunk of snow is blown along the ground by the wind, picking up more snow as it rolls and growing in size. They are cylindrical, and usually hollow since the first few layers to form usually flake away pretty easily as the rollers get, well, rolling. They can get as big as two feet in diameter.

Snow rollers usually happen when there is a fresh layer of loose snow on the ground and the temperature is near melting. The snow also needs to be on a surface to which it doesn't easily stick — such as icy snow — so that the top layer of snow sticks to the roller rather than the ground. Plus there needs to be enough wind to get the roller going but not so strong that everything breaks apart. Because the conditions are fairly precise, snow rollers are quite rare.









December 27th.  Eight degrees.






December 28th.  Five degrees.  Breeze picked up as I was walking back, adding a wind chill.



December 30th.  Two degrees.  Brief color before dawn.



Feeble attempt by the sun before overcast prevailed.  (Snow showers predicted for late morning.)






January 3rd.  Two degrees.  Super moon.



An early afternoon walk west from Bull Hill Road through rock cuts and across the Lyman Viaduct.  Serious storm predicted for tomorrow which will hamper walks for awhile.



View from the viaduct southeast towards Day Pond State Park.  The light spot in the distance is a power line cut.






























Sphagnum moss entrapped in ice.  Abstract looking.









A massive bolt, part of the original iron viaduct structure otherwise buried in fill.












Stuck indoors due to snow and cold, I made some digital kaleidoscope captures using some of the above photos as "seeds" for the software.  More from this series of captures here: 
And you can DOWNLOAD my instructions for making your own!



January 8th.  Back on the trail after a snowstorm and below zero temps with wind.  Seventeen above and calm today.

































January 9th.  A balmy 28 degrees!  Once again, a bit late to catch a sunrise.  (I was stuck behind a garbage truck.)





















White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) tracks in last night's new snow.  Deer was walking to the left.



A Coyote (Canis latrans) walked most of the length of the marsh overnight.



I know it was a canid by the shape of the paw prints; and can pretty much rule out a dog by the fact that
mine were the only human footprints since the snow fell last evening.






The only scat atop the fresh snow, full of hair, was surely the Coyote's dropping.



The Coyote left the trail twice, rooting around for prey.



I heard, then saw a distant Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus).