Along the Air Line... 2023-2024 - Winter, Part 10
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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February 12th. Fresh ice on the marsh.





















February 15th. Back on the trail after heavy snow two days ago.
























Speckled Alder (Alder incana) fruits.



A male Midge (Family Chironomidae). Some insects get active around 32 degrees and show up atop snow.






February 18th. Too cold and windy for a morning walk but got out to the Cook Hill Road section midday.



Animals took an interest in me.









The horse came over to have his nose scratched.












Lots of Rock Doves or Domestic Pigeons (Columba livia) soared around the farmyard. The small birds perched in the tree are European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).












The Doves perch atop the silo and can get inside for shelter.



Starlings perched on one of the roof vents.



I got a glimpse of the dark spot on this Song Sparrow's (Melospiza melodia) breast before I took this photo where it can't be seen.



There were a few American Crows (Corvus brachyrhyncos) around too.



Heading a bit further east.






February 19th. Snowmobiles in the last couple of days packed the snow for better walking.



Some Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) found a patch of open water.









Snow figures, one with a heart on its chest, the other a bunny.









The geese took flight as I was walking back.






February 20th. Thirteen degrees and still. Trail still in very good shape.



Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula).



Showing its colors.



Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis).



Lots of them around, as usual.



Closeups of a male Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens).









I could use some ID help on this. My best guess is a Thrush.



Thanks to Russ Smiley for identifying this as a Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus). He notes that other birds called thrushes all overwinter in Central and South America.



Despite the cold, several male Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelius phoeniceus) were calling.