Along the Air Line... 2023 - Spring, Part 15
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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May 17th. A male Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula).






The female selecting nesting material.









A male Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) walking on water... well, a lily pad actually where the blackbirds hunt for bugs.



A female Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) with nine ducklings. First I've seen this year and they look pretty young.







With thanks to UConn's Dr. Sarah Taylor for the ID, this is Long-styled Sweet-cicely (Family Apiaceae, Ozmorhiza longistylis). The first record of it in Tolland County.









An afternoon walk on the Amston end of the Colchester Spur. Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)...



...on the hunt.












The strike!



Pretty sure it missed.












A small patch of Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium sp.) on the spur. Not a grass, but an Iris relative.



Back on the main trail at Raymond Brook Marsh, Common or Philadelphia Fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus).



Larger Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor) has just started blooming.















May 18th. The female Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) has moved to the north side of the marsh - with ten ducklings. (I thought I saw ten yesterday but couldn't get them all in one picture.)















May 19th. I found the Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) nest right where I saw the start of it on May 9th, and near where I saw a female harvesting nest materials on May 17th.



May 20th. Male Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) on the usual perch.






The female Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) was still busy selecting nesting material...






...while the male foraged nearby.



This American Bittern (Botarus lentinginosus) photo was taken on April 21st, 2022.
(More pictures on this page: )



...while this one was taken on April 23rd, 2022.
(More pictures on this page:

I've been hearing a bittern for a week or more lately, but have yet to see one this year.



May 21st. A fallen Spongy Oak-Apple Gall made by a Cynipid Wasp, most likely Amphibolips confluenta.



The wasp larva produces plant-like chemicals that cause an oak leaf to produce the gall structure in which the larva feeds...



...and eventually pupates, later emerging as an adult...



...similar to this one I photographed on April 15th of this year.



It's a good year for these Mayfly (Order Ephemeroptera) adults.



Terminal clusters of False Solomon's-seal (Smilacina racemosa). blossoms have started opening.



May 22nd. I took this picture by accident while readying the camera for the next shot... but I like it!



This belly deep Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) was what I was preparing to photograph.









A smallish Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon) heading for cover.