Along the Air Line... 2013 - Spring, Part 3
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo

 

 

April 15th.  An afternoon visit to the heron roost east of Cook Hill Road.  At least four nests occupied, but the birds were hunkered down.  Maybe incubating eggs?

 

 

Seven nests are down to six and remnants of the eventh.  I think birds have scavenged branches from it.

 

 

While waiting for action on the heron nests, I noticed Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) investigating nest holes on a dead tree trunk.

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty birds, and a joy to watch them fly and chatter among themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, some action among the herons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A pair on this nest, so definitely family time soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 16th.  A far distant Red-tailed Hawk, puffed and soaking up the early sun at 32 degrees.

 

 

April 17th. Uncommon Trailing Arbutus (Epigaea repens) is blooming west of River Road in Colchester.

 

 

The patch looks healthier than in past years.

 

 

 

 

 

Delicate color and strong scent up close.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 18th.  Sedge hummocks are really getting green.

 

 

Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) is in full bloom.

 

 

Leaf buds will open soon.

 

 

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara).  Leaves come after the flowers fade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wood Anemone (Anemone quinquefolia) in bud...

 

 

...and in bloom.

 

 

Pussy Willow (Salix discolor) catkins are offering pollen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 22nd.  East of Route 207, Red Trillium (Trillium erectum) buds will open any day now.

 

 

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia).

 

 

A male Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)...

 

 

...and his mate.

 

 

 

 

 

Ring-necked Ducks are divers.

 

 

See?

 

 

Several dives in these clips.  Also watch how their heads remain still while their bodies bob up and down with the waves.  Good trick!

 

 

An afternoon visit to the Great Blue Heron roost east of Cook Hill Road in Lebanon.

 

 

Birds nestled down in three of the nests, presumably on eggs.  A fourth nest is probably occupied.  Two more are shrunken, presumably with sticks scavenged for the larger active nests.

 

 

 

 

 

Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) flitting around...

 

 

...but I didn't see any enter tree holes.

 

 

The marsh below the heron roost is thick with Duckweed (Lemna minor).

 

 

Lots of Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta) out sunning.

 

 

 

 

 

So, this is how turtles clamber out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluets (Houstonia caerulea).

 

 

Fertile stem of Horsetail (Equisetum sp.).  Green, highly branched vegetative stems will be along soon.

 

 

A rustle beside me as I bent down to photograph the horsetail...

 

 

...revealed a Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green!  Neighboring field of a local dairy farm.

 

 

 

 

 

April 23rd.  Barnyard animals near Cranberry Bog in East Hampton.