Along the Air Line... 2019 - Spring, Part 10
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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May 9th. A late morning walk east from Cook Hill road in Lebanon. Mostly wildflowers, starting with Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum).

 

 

 

 

 

This Halictid Sweat Bee (Family Halictidae) must have spent the night in this blossom, bathed in pollen. It didn't want to wake when I poked it.

 

 

White Campion or Evening Lychnis (Silene latifolia).

 

 

 

 

 

Lots of Violets (Viola sp.), this one with a Springtail (Order Collembola) on the upper right petal.

 

 

 

 

 

Bluets (Houstonia caerulea).

 

 

 

 

 

Starflower (Trientalis borealis).

 

 

 

 

 

Spring-beauty (Claytonia virginica).

 

 

 

 

 

There's an enormous stretch of it just west of Cook Hill Road.

 

 

Wild Strawberry (Fragraria virginiana).

 

 

Hooked Crowfoot (Ranunculus recurvatus).

 

 

One of the Buttercups (Ranunculus sp.).

 

 

Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

English Plantain (Plantago lanceolata).

 

 

Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum).

 

 

Barn cat, patrolling the marsh edges.

 

 

Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus).

 

 

Ugh. The poor thing, covered with engorged ticks.

 

 

 

 

 

Click Beetle (Family Elateridae) tucked into a willow leaf.

 

 

At about 4mm long, this Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar) caterpillar recently hatched and "ballooned" on a thread of silk in order to disperse.

 

 

Next stop, east of Route 207 to check on the heron nests. Similar activity on the first nest: periods of brooding, interspersed with nest and egg maintenance.

 

 

 

 

 

The second nest seems to have been abandoned by, let's call him "Wistful Willy"?

 

 

Back to the first nest.

 

 

Dealing with wayward sticks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to incubating.

 

 

About 50 feet east of the bench, I noticed a dead tree with lots of woodpecker damage - and this female Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) sticking out of one of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then she perched atop the dead trunk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then she began bringing in nest material.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 10th.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eastern Tent Caterpillars (Malacosoma americanum) are getting bigger.

 

An open letter to Ann Kilpatrick, DEEP's point person for "nuisance beavers".

Congratulations, Ann,
THIS is the unintended consequence of encouraging a beaver trapper to target Raymond Brook Marsh.
On or about March 27th, three days before the end of the season, a friend and I witnessed him breaching
the main dam that impounds water in the waterfowl hunting area; a means to attract beavers to his
nearby traps.  Rains subsequently widened the breach so there is no longer any effective ponding. 
Water levels are down at least 18", probably more. This dam had been intact for the nearly 18 years
that I've walked the marsh, and likely much longer than that.  The beavers have abandoned the area,
assuming they were not completely trapped out.  Your Wildlife Management Area no longer
has any wildlife to manage - the waterfowl are gone.  The mud flats are starting to stink.
I'm livid!  Is this your idea of environmental stewardship? - Stan Malcolm