Along the Air Line... 2022 - Fall, Part 4
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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October 16th.









Four male Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) with a pair of Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) in the background.



A flock of American Robins (Turdus migratorius) passed by...






...followed by half a dozen male Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus)... of which was calling and displaying.



A smal tree with bright yellow berries.



Best guess is one of the Hawthorns (Crataegus sp.).









October 17th.






Hawk being harassed by a group of loud crows.



Vocal in its displeasure.















October 18th. Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata) in winter coloration.



(Another photo clearly showed the yellow rump but was badly out of focus.)



Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is blooming.






A fruit amid this year,s flowers. It can eject the seeds up to 20 feet.



I need ID help on this.



Some trees that changed color early are now bare.






I took a short detour down the Colchester Spur...



...and was rewarded by seeing a flock of juvenile Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum).



Lousy picture but felt lucky to get anything at all given the poor light and inconvenient foreground branches.



Nasty invasive Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus).



October 19th. First real frost of the Fall.









A sad tale. This Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) was barely alive, prostrate on the trail near the mural just west of Route 85 in Hebron. It was breathing and occasionally flicked its tail, turned its head, or let out a very weak call. I called DEEP's Environmental Control police and they sent out an officer, Anthony. From too frequent experience, he concluded that the bird had been poisoned and was unlikely to survive. He bundled it in a towel and planned to transport it to A Place Called Hope ( in hopes that it might survive and be rehabilitated. A chance to see an owl up close is normally wonderful, but not under these circumstances.

UPDATE: I heard back from A Place Called Hope: "The owl expired quickly upon admission. I am not suspecting rodenticide.
My gut says HPAI Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. Or West Nile Virus. Or both. I will have the body tested for both via UCONN.
Please check back the end of next week for results. Thanks for finding help for this poor owl.
I was able to make him more comfortable for his passing."

UPDATE 10/28/2022: UConn testing confirmed HPAI Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. Read more about this disease in birds here: Links there to Bird Flu in People, and in Pets or other animals.



October 20th. Another frosty morning.
























October 21st. Two American Coots (Fulica americana). The one on the right looks immature but perhaps both are. Just passing through I assume.