Along the Air Line... 2019 - Spring, Part 8
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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May 1st. Early afternoon. Great Egret (Ardea alba).



Others have seen one recently at the marsh, but I haven't in many years.









Ready to strike.






Turn around; try in the other direction.









May 4th. Violets (Viola sp.).



Golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea) ready to open.



Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana).



Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodius)... what looks like a courtship display, but...



...with no other heron nearby. Good "demo" of how the eyes are positioned to see downward.



(Sorry for the motion blur.)









Sure would a nice "first" if herons roosted at Raymond Brook Marsh.



Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica).



Joined by a Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor).






Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) and goslings at Cranberry Bog in East Hampton.


















May 6th. Pink Lady's-Slipper orchids (Cypripedium acaule) are coming up. No buds visible yet.



Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema atrorubens).






Pussytoes (Antennaria sp.).






At the pond east of Route 207, I was told I'd find a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodius) nest. Sure enough, there it was. In nearly 18 years walking the trail here and at Raymond Brook Marsh, there never have been nesting herons, despite what seemed to me perfect nest locations for them: dead trees with their bases underwater.



Can you make out the tiny white speck in the nest, right in front of a branch?



A hunkered-down heron's crest, eyes, and beak.



The nest was right across from the Hebron Senior's bench so I decided to wait, hoping the bird's mate would rerturn. Sitting there, I could see this tree and the spring pastels behind it. A hummingbird came and perched nearby... not quite long enough for a photo.



After half an hour or so, the heron stood for a stretch...



...and a look around the nest...















...before gradually...






...settling down...






...nearly out of sight. (The whole process took less than a minute.)