Along the Air Line... 2020 - Spring, Part 6
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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April 8th. A walk west from the Brownstone Bridge on River Road past this little falls.

 

 

About 30 feet further west, I visited this healthy patch of Trailing Arbutus (Epigaea repens).

 

 

Most of the flowers weren't quite open, and all were sheltered under the leaves.

 

 

But this flower was fully open!

 

 

 

 

 

Further on, I saw these old conks on a tree down a steep slope where I couldn't get closer...

 

 

...but my camera could.

 

 

See the little brown ovals in the fold towards the bottom? They once each held an egg of a Forked Fungus Beetle (Bolitotherus cornutus), a marvelous creature that I've studied closely. When the larvae hatch, they burrow down into the conk to mature. Adult males joust for control of the best spore bearing tissues, and engage in some elaborate mating behaviors.

 

 

Spotted Wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata).

 

 

Some nice rock cuts out that way.

 

 

Ferns (see the tiny fiddleheads?), moss, and lichens.

 

 

 

 

 

Still further west, I came to more Trailing Arbutus.

 

 

See the clumps above and below the rock face?

 

 

Lots of flowers showing on the lower clump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, some beetle larvae I found under bark of decaying logs.

 

 

Active now in their burrows in the inner bark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found the remains of an Earthstar (Fungal Order Sclerodermatales) laying in the middle of the trail. No idea how it got there.

 

 

April 9th. Cloudy, cool, and damp at 7:00 A.M., but the best of the day with rain forecast later. Three Ring-necked Ducks (Aythya collaris).

 

 

 

 

 

The two resident Canada Geese (Branta canadensis).

 

 

Bottoms up!

 

 

Unimpressive until you realize this will soon be a Red Trillium (Trillium erectum) in bloom.

 

 

Another, unfolding and revealing the bud.

 

 

A Slug cruising along.

 

 

Forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia, the garden hybrid between F. suspensa and F. viridissima) at the Route 85 parking area.