Along the Air Line... 2017-2018 - Winter, Part 6
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo



February 23rd.  Ring-necked Ducks (Aythya collaris) passing through.  They soon flew off.



They get their name from the purplish band on the male's neck, not the much more obvious white band on the beak.



The Northern Pintail duck (Anas acuta) was still hanging out with the Mallards.



February 27th. Male Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) calling close to the trail.






A lone male Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus), crest up displaying far out on the marsh.



Back and forth he went.












February 28th.  The marsh crowded with male Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) calling.






Large numbers of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) overhead.



Epaulets flared, these two birds were dualing with calls...









...and ended up in a mid-air fight that brought both birds to the ground.  Round two came a minute or two later.



March 1st.  Warm early light ahead of heavy rain predicted for tonight, tomorrow, and perhaps Saturday morning.






Water on the marsh (south) side is down by a foot.  (Note the tan horizontal line marking a normal level.)



Lots of bottom muck exposed.



Yellow Pond Lily (Nuphar vareigatum) pads are showing in deeper areas.



The outlet area is reduced to muck and a narrow channel of standing water.



For several weeks, there has been a breach in the channel (north) side beaver dam.



March 3rd.  The morning after heavy rain and high winds.  Just one tree down in the section I walked, plus the usual little of branches.



A dramatic change in water levels from just two days ago.









Compare this view with the March 1st view above.  Quite a differeence in water levels after just two days.









I'm pretty sure this is Hairy Stereum (Stereum hirsutum) on the underside of a downed branch.  (Confirmed by Terry Stoelson.  Thanks, Terry!)















March 4th.  Overcast, chilly, and breezy.  Water levels on the marsh side near normal but still high on the channel side. 
This has become my favorite stump.















March 5th.  Late morning walk after light snow overnight and snow showers in the morning.  Most already melted by this time.



With open water at more normal depths, Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) were back.  (Where do they go???)



March 6th.  Twenty-five degrees.  Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) near an old beaver lodge.









Male Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) calling...



...changing spots, looking around...



...and calling again.



March 10th.  First time back on the trail since March 6th heavy snow.  (At home, just got power back at 2:00 P.M. today.)  Lots of sticks and a few limbs down, but the trail came through well.  Much of the snow has melted.



Three American CRows (Corvus brachyhryhncos).









The remains of a snow-person.



I spruced it up a bit, but I'm sure it won't last long.



March 11th.  Twenty-six degrees.  Daylight Savings Time began today.  Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) on thin ice.