Along the Air Line... 2019-2020 - Winter, Part 9
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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February 18th. Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) around with most of yesterday's ice melted.




































February 19th. An afternoon walk west from Grayville Road to the Judd Brook bridge. I think this is the early stage of Watercress (Nasturtium officinale - sometimes listed as Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum). It was in a trailside ditch.



A larva of the Red Flat Bark Beetle (Cucujus clavipes), found under loose bark.



Feeding tracks under bark made by larvae of Metallic Wood-boring Beetles (Family Buprestidae).









Moss on a downed tree.



Anything green is welcome at this time of year. The brighter green, the better.



Looking north from just south of the Judd Brook bridge.



Looking south from roughly the same spot.



(Handheld long exposures with the camera wedged against a tree trunk for stability.)



I took a short uphill walk south along a trail parallel to the brook and found the skeleton of a large lean-to shelter.



Then I returned and crossed the trail, walking down to the junction of Judd Brook and the Jeremy River. Lots of Haircap Moss (Polytrichum juniperum, most likely).



Mixed in with the moss, I found two species of Clubmoss or "Ground Pine". This is the recumbent Staghorn Clubmoss (Lycopodium clavatum)...






...and this is Tree Clubmoss or Princess Pine as I learned it (Dendrolycopodium obscurum, formerly Lycopodium obscurum). Its pollen was once collected and burned by photographers: the original flash powder.



Tree Clubmoss and Haircap Moss together.



Walking back east towards Grayville Road. A bit chilly and breezy, but a nice afternoon.



February 20th. Warm light just after dawn.









Heading for the sunny spot (at 21 degrees).






Balancing act. Every clear day, more and closer male Red-winged Blackbirtds (Agelaius phoeniceus).






Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapilla) singing "fee bee", another sign of spring.



Imagination, wishful thinking, or are the Red Maple (Acer rubrum) buds really swelling?






Sun higher as I walked back.






February 21st. A male woodpecker attacking an old Bald-faced Hornet nest.



Probably a Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) but from these phoptos I can't rule out a Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus).






Ice formations at the small exit stream from the marsh.