Along the Air Line... 2021 - Spring, Part 24
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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June 6th. First returning Monarch (Danaus plexippus) I've seen. A female with enough missing scales from its wings to conclude it has come far.






More flying things. Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia).









A female Spreadwing Damselfly (Family Lestidae, Lestes sp.).



Caterpillar of the Straight-toothed Sallow moth (Eupisilia vinulenta).



The usual morning Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus).



Dew on a Larger Blue Flag iris (Iris versicolor).






Female Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) laying eggs.












Another Snapper not far away.



June 7th. A few days ago, the Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) nest under the shelter of a sign board near Route 85 was scraped away by a clean-up crew. I'm pleased to see that the Phoebe is building a replacement.



Mourning Dove (Zanaida macroura).



The daily bunny. Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus).



I think this is an Eastern Ribbon Snake (Thamnophis sauritus sauritus)...



...though the coloration of some Eastern Garter Snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis) is very similar.






Wild Garlic (Allium canadense) flowers have opened, elevated above the plant's "bulblets".









Recently ( I told the story of a "lek" of flies I see each year at the same spot.



Today, amid the gathered flies, I photographed this Bee-like Robber Fly (Laphria sp., perhaps L. sericealatkis complex). They commonly kill and eat true bumblebees but I suspect would not pass up a meal of Pollenia labialis flies near at hand.



Veery (Catharus fuscesens). I hear them far more often than I see them.



You can listen to them here:















Hobomok Skipper (Poanes hobomok).



June 8th. Sure enough, this morning at the "lek" I caught yesterday's or a similar Bee-like Robber Fly (Laphria sp., perhaps L. sericealatkis complex) with a Pollenia labialis fly impaled on its beak.



So the "lek" aggregation of male flies hoping to mate with a female also can serve as a focal point for predators.



Grape (Vitus sp.) is blooming now though the flowers are far from showy.



A female Wood Duck (Aix sponsa). Ducklings nearby?



Yes, two ducklings. Good sized but still with very short wings.



Several Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta) were preparing to bury their eggs.



The Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) nest is more complete today.



A female Ebony Jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata) damselfly basking in the morning sun. The white patch at the wing tip, called a stigma, is dark in males. Also, the metallic green/bronze body is not as bright as that of males.



The two Poke Milkweed (Asclepias exaltata) plants at the Route 85 trailhead survived the recent mowing and weed whacking.



The flowers will be stunning in a few days. I photograph them every year, and every year I fear it will be their last. I know of no more of these plants on the trail - or elsewhere for that matter.