Along the Air Line... 2021-2022 - Winter, Part 1
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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December 21st, 2021. Winter begins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 22nd. The Brownstone Bridge over River Road. The trail passes over the bridge.

 

 

 

 

 

A Liverwort (Marchantia polymorpha) grows on the bridge's retaining walls.

 

 

Lots of other green plants seemed to be enjoying the damp 40 degree day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Trailing Arbutus (Epigaea repens) is in great shape with buds ready for spring.

 

 

Heading back east, I crossed the bridge over the Blackledge River. Note the stone dust trail surface here (and to the west).

 

 

On the east side of the bridge the surface has been replaced by what I can only describe as clay and sand.

 

 

It's awful stuff, slick mud when wet that does not drain well, and clouds of dust in warm dry weather. It goes on this way for several miles. Yuck!

 

 

East of the bridge a couple of hundred feet, a short side path leads to a patch of Reindeer Lichen (Cladina rangifera), moss...

 

 

...and Pink Earth Lichen (Dibaelis baeomyces).

 

 

Lots of it in great shape.

 

 

December 23rd. Thin ice and water receding a bit.

 

 

Lots of thin ice pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ever-shifting patterns in flowing water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 26th.

 

 

 

 

 

The stump I use to estimate depth is a few inches above the ice. I hadn't seen it at all in weeks.

 

 

Running water ripples.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 27th. Turkey-tail (Trametes versicolor).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 28th. Early afternoon. Close to 40 degrees and the trail surface is muddy. Not much green to be seen.

 

 

 

 

 

The only "bird" I was able to photograph. I heard a Mallard but saw only two other birds.

 

 

December 31st. Forty-three degrees at 7:30A.M. The mist and drizzle of the past few days is over. Some fog remains.

 

 

A male Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)...

 

 

...following a female.

 

 

Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) enjoying the open water.

 

 

 

 

 

A flock of Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis) where I often seen them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beaver dam on the south side of the trail was pulled apart within the past couple of days. Water levels on the whole south side have already dropped about 8 inches and are likely to drop much more. The south side is Town of Hebron open space, not part of the DEEP Wildlife Management Area. Life in the beaver lodge upstream from there is threatened if their underwater entrance is revealed.