Along the Air Line... 2019 - Spring, Part 13
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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May 20th east of Route 207. A male Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodius) - Willy? - on the incomplete nest.






No activity at the completed nest.



Time out for some action at the nearby Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) nest.










































Back to the heron.






The heron flew past the completed nest and began hunting below.




















Take off, and a swing by the nest before flying down to the west end of the marsh...



...where it perched high in a tree. After awhile, two herons flew by, west to east, low and out of sight. Guessing this guy was one of them.



In a little while, a male (same one?) flew in from the east and began hunting.















Starting an attack.



Caught something but I couldn't tell what.






Down the hatch, with some sips of water to help it along.















Hunting again.






No luck...



...and off to the tall grass where I couldn't see much.

Puzzles remain: Was this Willy? And what's going on with the completed nest?



May 21st. Canadian Honewort (Cryptotaenia canadensis).



Lots of challenges for oaks at this time of year. These are first and second instar Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar) caterpillars on the underside of a leaf. On the upper side, look for the "shot hole" feeding damage at these early stages.



Second instar caterpillar and the cast off first instar skin.



Oak Apple Gall made by a wasp (Amphibolips confluenta).




The wasp larva was at the center in a little cavity.



Upper side of an oak leaf deformed by a Woolly Oak Gall Midge (Macrodiplosis sp., most likely M. niveipila).



Underside of the same leaf. The female wasp nearby... unknown but looks to be in the family Braconidae, parasitic on caterpillars most often. (Thanks to Charley Eiseman for ID help. Check out his remarkable web site and "Bug Tracks" blog:



East of Route 207, a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodius) perched above the nest.



It soon flew off to the west...



...where it joined another heron on a downed tree.



Both flew off. Neither returned to the nest while I was nearby.



Five Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) goslings.