Along the Air Line... 2021-2022 - Winter, Part 11
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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March 16th. At the pond just east of the River Road crossing, several Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta).






A male Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) amid reflections of Common Reed (Phragmites australis).



Here's the female Ring-necked Duck.






The pair.



And the male again, this time reflecting some purple from its head.



Next a brief stop east of Route 207. Yet another Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta).



Ah, but here's a much less common Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata).






Finally, a walk east from Old Hartford Road to the vernal pools not far from the Jeremy River Bridge. Wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) were in raucous chorus. (I count 16 in this lousy photo.)





































A female amid a bunch of amorous males. Mating in frogs and other amphibians is external. The technical term is "Amplexus".
Details here:



I found one frog in the middle of the trail, not bothered by me getting very close.



I'm guessing it was cold. I was able to pick it up and hold it for portraits.






March 17th. Very thick fog.


















At least a half dozen Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) on the marsh.









The first American Beaver (Castor canadensis) I've seen in months. (I won't say where.) Actually, the second one: earlier I watched one cross the trail.



March 18th. Another foggy morning but nearly 50 degrees.



First sign of new green leaves... on Morrow's Honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii). Pity it's an invasive shrub:



Foam accumulation at overflow of a beaver dam. Read about the causes:



Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) just east of Old Hartford Road in Colchester. They've been feeding on strings of algae.



Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica) in a small vernal pool a bit further east.



Puffed up, starting to croak. (Note the air bladders behind the head and the beginning circles of rfipples.)



The ripples quickly spread.



Note the vertical marks on the rock cut walls.



They're drill holes used to dynamite away the rock when the railroad was built.



At the largest vernal pool just before the Jeremy River bridge, another "scrum" of Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica) males attempting to capture and mate with a female.



I found several Wood Frogs alone, up on the trail. (Their coloration is highly variable.)



This one too allowed me to pick it up.

















Boiler slag left over from the steam train era.



Speckled Alder (Alnus rugosa) catkin, soon to open and release pollen.



I can't remember a year when I've seen so many Spotted Turtles (Clemmys guttata)



Back to the pair of Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) I saw at the start of this walk.