I recently went for a bike ride on the Airline Trail and was pleased to discover that it had been extended to Main Street in East Hampton, Connecticut. I talked to the owner of a local coffee house who said that hikers and bikers who use the trail have been coming to her shop since it was extended.
The trail was formely a train track built in the 1870's eventually connecting Boston to New York. It's now a recreational trail for people to walk, ride their bikes or even ride their horses. It's a nice feeling to be able to cruise through the woods from town to town without a car in sight.
Riding this trail by bicycle is a breeze. I'm not one that desires the challenge of climbing hills on a bike so this trail is perfect for me. You can pedal for 30 feet and the coast for 50 feet. I stopped frequently for breaks. There are several places where bridges cross streams giving you great views.
I can't believe that I saw a Barred Owl two days in a row! I saw this one at Hammonasset while with a Birdingpal who was visiting from New Zealand. Then I saw another one the next day while on the Airline Trail. Barred owls are probably the easiest owls to find in Connecticut during the daytime but I'm always excited when I find one.I ended my bike ride at the Raymond Marsh portion of the trail in Hebron. this can be a very birdy spot, especially in the spring. it was quiet on this particular day. I did see some Easterrn Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, and Mallards.
There were also lots of Ruby-crowned Kinglets. These birds can be a real tease. They land right in front of you but move on so quickly that they're gone by the time you try to get a picture.
Turning old railroad lines into trails used for recreation is a good example of recycling something old into something new and useful. Connecting the trail to a local town is a common sense approach that benefits businesses and nature enthusiast. I hope this a trend that continues in the future.