Along the Air Line... 2018-2019 - Winter, Part 8
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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February 13th.  Snow, sleet, and rain overnight.  Coyote footprints the only tracks ahead of me this morning.






Walking the trail, detouring into the woods from time to time.






A second, smaller Coyote came along - though might have been at a different time.






I was the first animal on this section today.  (Cross-country skiers yesterday afternoon, before the rain.)






A Promethea Moth cocoon showing bird feeding damage: two punctures facing forward and a large chunk out of the bottom left.  For more about the moth's full life cycle, see:



At temps of freezing or a few degrees above, Small Winter Stoneflies (Family Capniidae) are common atop snow, having emerged from nearby streams.  Typically, they're 7 to 10 mm long.






February 16th.  Male Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoneniceus) are back!  I saw and heard three this morning.









February 17th.  Two male Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoneniceus) this morning, but only one within sight.



This bird kept its epaulets mostly covered...



...even while calling.












February 20th.  Clouds moving in for storm expected later today.












Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoneniceus) back this morning, but only one within sight.



Again, calling but not displaying.  At 16 degrees, too cold for fluffing feathers?  Or just no other males close enough to see?



February 26th.  Back on the trail after various inclement days.  A female Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens).



In nearly constant motion, I missed more shots than I got.









So nice to see the trail virtually ice free after a week or more tiptoeing even with Ice-Trekkers on my boots.



Remarkably, despite yesterday's high winds this was the only tree I saw down across the trail.  Note the "widow-maker" branch hung up high above it.









Male Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoneniceus) were calling and displaying their epaulets.  They've now moved down to the shrubs...



... and are more agressively interacting.



The two on the left fully engaged in call and response.






Seconds after this shot, the chase was on!  The center bird drove off the bird at the left... at least termporarily.



An early afternoon walk east of Cook Hill Road in Lebanon.  At the farm...



...the young animals wore orange plastic nose rings, meant to enforce weaning from their mothers.



Practicl?  Efficient?  Cheap (under $2)?  But...





















Some mud and remnants of ice as I walked further east towards the marsh.






Note the "widow-maker" at the upper left.



As I walked back past that spot, the wind was gusting and I didn't feel very comfortable.



Further east, I came to this... and decided it was time to turn around.