Along the Air Line... 2019 - Summer, Part 6
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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July 15th. Another generation of White-marked Tussock Moth caterpillars (Orgyia leucostigma) is nearly mature.

 

 

A Harvestman (Arachnid Order Opiliones, Probably Leiobunum sp.).

 

 

Missing a leg and showing damage to the abdominal region. This Harvestman has had a close call.

 

 

July 16th. Hedge Bindweed (Calystegia sepium - formerly Convolvulus sepium) at the Route 207 crossing.

 

 

 

 

 

July 17th. Another White-marked Tussock Moth caterpillar (Orgyia leucostigma).

 

 

The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodius) that hangs out in the channel at Raymond Brook Marsh. Grooming.

 

 

 

 

 

Common pose with one leg tucked up.

 

 

Same bird, same spot, 20 minutes later.

 

 

 

 

 

Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis).

 

 

Last summer I found five Cecropia Moth caterpillars feeding on it. Will have to keep an eye out for more this year.

 

 

Later, a stop at Cranberry Bog in East Hampton. Blue Vervain (Verbena hostata).

 

 

 

 

 

One of a dozen Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) relaxing on the shore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few minutes later eight more dropped it - with much honking from birds on the ground and in the air.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Skipper (Family Hesperididae), possibly the Northern Broken Dash (Wallengrenia egeremet) on Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata).

 

 

Fragrant Water-lilies (Nymphaea odorata).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stargrass (Hypoxia hirsuta). "Hirsuta" probably for the hairy leaves, stems, and buds.

 

 

Final stop heading west from downtown East Hampton. Female Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes).

 

 

Just one plant with these unusual flowers. Guessing that it's an "escaped" ornamental.

 

 

Look at all the glandular hairs.

 

 

 

 

 

July 18th Addendum. I went back this morning and found yesterday's flowers fully open - along with two more plants that I'd overlooked.

 

 

With many thanks to Doctors Sarah Taylor and Greg Anderson at UConn, I have an ID. They're Moth Mullein (Verbascum blattaria). Not an escaped ornamental as I'd guessed.

 

 

The GoBotany website (https://gobotany.nativeplanttrust.org/species/verbascum/blattaria/?pile=alternate-remaining-non-monocots) writes, "Moth mullein is an introduced biennial weed of dry disturbed areas, with large white or yellow flowers."

 

 

The leaves lower on the stem were somewhat arrowhead-shaped and arise below the developing fruits.

 

 

A little further west, another plant that I think is an escaped ornamental.

 

 

Sure enough, it's sold as Lamiastrum galeobdelon 'Variegatum" and has yellow flowers at some point.

 

 

Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) is blooming.

 

 

Soon the flowers will give way to purple-black berries.

 

 

Enchanter's Nightshade (Circaea quadrisulcata) started blooming a month ago. Note the velcro-like hooks on the green developing seed pod under each flower.

 

 

Those seed pods are maturing fast and will soon be sticking to our shoes, socks, legs, and pets.

 

 

July 18th. Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodius) in deeper water than usual.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus).

 

 

Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata).

 

 

Bees like it.

 

 

Spotted Joe-Pye-weed (Eupatorium maculatum).

 

 

Green-striped Mapleworm, caterpillar of the Rosy Maple Moth (Dryocampa rubicunda).

 

 

(The moth looks like this.)

 

 

I placed the caterpillar back on a maple leaf petiole, though it may have been on the ground looking for a place to pupate underground.

 

 

These caterpillars have skin much tougher than that of any other moth or butterfly.

 

 

An ornamental Day-lily (Hemerocallis fulva) at the Route 85 trailhead.