Along the Air Line... 2019 - Spring, Part 14
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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May 22nd. At Raymond Brook Marsh, a male Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis).

 

 

There were several Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum), always on the move.

 

 

 

 

 

At the Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) nest, there were two birds. Large as it is, this is a juvenile based on the feathers. I can't tell much from the rump of the bird to its right. Another juvenile, or an adult?

 

 

Sure is crowded though.

 

 

 

 

 

A male Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon).

 

 

Pink Azalea (Rhododendron nudiflorum).

 

 

A quick stop east of Route 207. One Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodius) hunting to the left of the nest...

 

 

...but once again, no activity on the nest.

 

 

More Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) here too.

 

 

They seemed to be feeding on Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) flowers.

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, a quick stop at Cranberry Bog in East Hampton. This Great Blue Heron was being mobbed by a male Red-winged Blackbird. (I assume herons have no qualms about eating blackbird eggs.)

 

 

 

 

 

I never managed to get a blackbird in the picture, but the heron was ready to defend himself. Eventually, the blackbird departed...

 

 

...and the heron walked through the tall hummock grass...

 

 

...towards the water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The hunt was on!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Success!

 

 

A Bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus).

 

 

 

 

 

The heron flew off rto eat it in private.

 

 

I'd stopped at Cranberry Bog, hoping to see Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) goslings and wasn't disappointed.

 

 

Scruffy.

 

 

Check the "wings" on the gosling at the left.

 

 

I count seven.

 

 

May 23rd. A dark morning with passing showers. Larger Blueflag Iris (Iris versicolor) have just started to bloom.

 

 

Several holes in this dead tree seem to hold Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) nests.

 

 

Ha! What passes for a nest holds an adult and two juvenile Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura).

 

 

Feathers on the young birds have matured significantly since yesterday morning (see above near the top of this page).

 

 

East of Route 207, just one heron around, standing near but not on the nest...

 

 

 

 

 

...and like yesterday, he flew down to this dead tree at the western end of the marsh.

 

 

Late afternoon; a short walk on the Spur west from Colchester. White Baneberry or Doll's Eyes (Actaea pachypoda).

 

 

White berries in the Fall are highly poisonous.

 

 

False Solomon's-seal (Smilacina racemosa) is getting ready to bloom.

 

 

The flowers will be starry and white.

 

 

May 24th. Mayfly (Order Ephemeroptera).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina).

 

 

 

 

 

Most likely a Virginian Tiger Moth (Spilosoma virginica) or a close relative in the same genus.

 

 

Half a dozen Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) flitting about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Pink Lady's-slipper orchid (Cypripedium acaule) accessible from the trail. Most are down slope amid poison ivy.