Along the Air Line... 2022 - Spring, Part 12
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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May 8th. Water level on the south side of Raymond Brook Marsh has risen a few inches.

 

 

A male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa).

 

 

Dwarf Ginseng (Panax trifolius).

 

 

 

 

 

Crab Apple (Malus coronaria) is in full bloom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eastern Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma americana) nest.

 

 

Another nest nearby with most of the caterpillars aggregated. (I don't know what this behavior signals.)

 

 

 

 

 

A female Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula).

 

 

Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii), a thorny invasive, now in bloom.

 

 

Nasty thorns.

 

 

A view of the flowers from below.

 

 

Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) on a tree trunk.

 

 

High-bush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum).

 

 

 

 

 

Another invasive, Morrow's Honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii) is beginning to flower.

 

 

At Lyman Viaduct, my first snake of the year - an adult Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus). About a foot long and as thin as a pencil.

 

 

I picked it up and moved it to the side where it was unlikely to be run over by a cyclist.

 

 

May 9th. A male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) at Raymond Brook Marsh.

 

 

 

 

 

May 10th at Cranberry Bog, a single pair of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) but no sigh of goslings.

 

 

The nest was not looking good.

 

 

Three or four eggs at the left look whole but the one at right has been opened. Act of a predator, or the poor weather lately killing the eggs?

 

 

A Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) being attacked by a female Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus); the Blackbird likely defending her nest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I recognize this bird. Last year it had a fresh wound had its tongue exiting behind the lower jaw. Remarkably it survived and returned to the same pond.

 

 

With temps approaching 70 degrees, the Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta) were soaking up the sun.

 

 

 

 

 

My next stop was the pond east of River Road where I found a pair of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) and two goslings.

 

 

I'd guess the goslings were only a couple of days old.

 

 

 

 

 

An adult steps out into the water.

 

 

This gosling thinks twice about it.

 

 

One joined its parents...

 

 

...and was soon joined by the other gosling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the path leading to the Blackledge River Bridge, a Tiger Crane Fly (Nephrotoma sp.).

 

 

 

 

 

May 12th. Back on the trail after 2 days away due to a non-Covid bug. Water level depressingly low.

 

 

This should all be under water up to the green.

 

 

 

 

 

Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) already showing flower buds.

 

 

A Pygmy Grasshopper (Family Tetrigidae).

 

 

Golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea) and now in full bloom.