Along the Air Line... 2019 - Summer, Part 5
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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July 8th. East of Cook Hill Road in Lebanon. Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris).

 

 

 

 

 

Queen Anne's Lace or Wild Carrot (Daucus carota).

 

 

Lots of male Eastern Commas (Polygonia comma) in the sun, gathering minerals from the trail surface.

 

 

The underside resembles a dead leaf. Incredibly effective on a leaf litter surface. Not so much on stone dust.

 

 

Note the proboscis probing the surface.

 

 

There were several Red Admirals (Vanessa atalanta) also probing the surface.

 

 

This one was especially fresh with saturated color. (Sorry for the motion blur. They were constantly flicking their wings open and shut.)

 

 

The underside with pink on the forewings somewhat resembles that of a Painted Lady. (More motion blur. Sigh.)
No photo - too wary - but I also saw a Buckeye (Junonia coenia).

 

 

July 10th. A brief afternoon walk at the marsh with sun and temps in the high eighties. Lots of Blue Dasher dragonflies (Pachydiplax longipennis). This and photos that follow are three of therm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bracted Plantain or Buckhorn (Plantago aristata).

 

 

Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon).

 

 

Seemed like perfect weather for snakes to be basking, but I saw only this one. Perhaps others were startled by bicycle traffic.

 

 

The underside is brightly colored.

 

 

Slaty Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula incesta).

 

 

 

 

 

July 11th. A teeny (about 1 inch) Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica).

 

 

Eastern Ribbon Snake (Thamnophis sauritus).

 

 

Really slender.

 

 

Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon).

 

 

Best guess is a female or immature male Slaty Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula incesta).

 

 

A short walk from the Old Amston Road crossing in Colchester. Rabbit's-foot Clover (Trifolium arvense).

 

 

Lots of Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) but not much else.

 

 

 

 

 

Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea stoebe).

 

 

Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 12th. Starting from Depot Hill Road in Cobalt, I walked east towards the tunnel under Route 66. The last time I was here, the rock cut had not been cleared so I had to detour to the right up and over following the power lines.

 

 

The rock cut is a nice piece of work now.

 

 

Ferns and other plants enjoy the water seeping down over the rocks.

 

 

Looking back from near the eastern end of the cut.

 

 

Too soon, I came to the end of the restored trail.

 

 

Even the path petered out where it had the last time I was there, ending at a stream that flows westward from the tunnel out of sight ahead of this point. (I'd heard there was a project to build a boardwalk through the tunnel but clearly it hasn't happened yet. Too bad, the tunnel will be a highlight of this section and provide an important link to the trail heading east to East Hampton and further on.

 

 

Most of the vegetation along this section is weedy; typical of the first years after a trail is constructed. But there were a few wildflowers including Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca).

 

 

The butterfly is a Black Dash skipper (Family Hesperiidae, Euphyes conspicua).

 

 

 

 

 

Some beetles on the milkweed include this Longhorn Beetle (Typocerus sp., probably T. velutinus).

 

 

The large beetle is another Typocerus sp.. The small one above appears to be Strangalia luteicornis.

 

 

And another longhorn beetle, the Red Milkweed Beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus).

 

 

Although appearing beetle-like, this is an Anchor Stink Bug (Stiretrus anchorago).

 

 

A Long-legged Fly (Family Dolichopodidae, Condylostylus sp.).

 

 

A Cabbage White (Pieris rapae).

 

 

Underside of the same butterfly.

 

 

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense).

 

 

A short way west of Depot Hill Road is the start of the Portland section of the Air Line Trail.

 

 

There's a nice sheltered sign board that includes a dispenser for trail maps.

 

 

Plus some nice interpretive signs.

 

 

July 14th. Ornamental Hosta at the Route 85 trailhead.

 

 

 

 

 

American Hazelnut (Corylus americana) with nuts developing.

 

 

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodius) on the south side of the marsh...

 

 

...and another on the channel side.