Along the Air Line... 2021 - Fall, Part 10
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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November 21st. Some of the usual morning Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos).

 

 

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis).

 

 

A flock of Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum). flew in...

 

 

...accompanied by two Brown-headed Cowbirds (Molothrus ater). But wait!

 

 

Russ Smiley writes... "Those are rusty blackbirds with the cedar waxwings, not brown-headed cowbirds. Rusties are much less common. https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Rusty_Blackbird/overview “Rusty Blackbird is one of North America’s most rapidly declining species. The population has plunged an estimated 85-99 percent over the past forty years and scientists are completely puzzled as to what is the cause….”
I was fooled on October 17th last year too when I misidentified a "Rusty". See: https://www.performance-vision.com/airline2020/airline-fall-20f.html#Rusty2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Robins (Turdus migratorius) around in small flocks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) and Winterberry (Ilex verticillata).

 

 

 

 

 

November 23rd. The moon is past full by several days.

 

 

Most of the leaves are down. Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) in the foreground.

 

 

At 28 degrees, some ice spears on the surface in shady still spots.

 

 

Lots of water flowing towards Old Colchester Road.

 

 

Sign at the Old Colchester Road crossing.

 

 

A quick afternoon stop at the pond where the trail crosses River Road. Massive beaver lodge and food cache.

 

 

The sun was going down behind me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Reed (Phragmites australis), an invasive.

 

 

November 27th. Lingering evidence of last evening's light snow, first of Fall.

 

 

Horses had been on the trail in ther past several days.

 

 

 

 

 

Warm sun just reaching the marsh. Welcome on a windy morning at about 30 degrees.

 

 

Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) in the foreground.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) sheltered from the wind by the beaver lodge east of Route 207.

 

 

I went to see if the Ring-necked Ducks were still on that pond. They weren't, but many were on the small beaver pond north of Route 66 nearing the Marlborough town line.

 

 

December 1st. Ice on the marshes at 24 degrees just after dawn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Later in the day at Cranberry Bog, the invasive Water Hyacinth and Water Lettuce are brown, but will they survive over the winter in the mud below?

 

 

I fear we're in for a bigger problem next year.

 

 

December 4th. Nifty clouds, but the pale pink pastels earlier had faded long before I got to the marsh.

 

 

Solid wall of Common Reed (Phragmites australis) blocks some views of the marsh - and expands every year.

 

 

Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) improves the view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 5th. Fourteen Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) passing overhead.

 

 

Shriveled berries of Carrion-flower (Smilax herbacea).

 

 

Thin ice at 25 degrees.

 

 

Swirling water beside ice crystals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) in the far distance.

 

 

Female Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus).