April, 2017 - Trail Report Archive

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 65°F, and mostly cloudy with light breezes at 3:00 PM on April 12, 2017
  • This first trail report of the season covers the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
  • Rain this morning followed yesteday's 90 degree temps. A month ago - almost to the day - 2 feet of snow fell.
  • The snow is gone. Let's hope for a little Spring before the 90s stay.

The Trails

  • Except for greening grass, it didn't look too much like spring at Gifford House.
  • There was a hint of yellow at the head of the Scots Pine Alleé.
  • It was from the faithful Japanese cornelian cherry.
  • The Little Bluestem Meadow was still mostly brown.
  • But along the edges, honeysuckle bushes were already starting to leaf out.
  • Along the trail through the Old Gravel Pit, an evergreen club moss had made it through the winter.
  • In the Fern Glen's limestone cobble things were happening with Dutchman's-breeches being the first flower to greet the visitor.
  • Early meadow-rue would be a while yet, but even at this stage, is interesting to watch.
  • The Hepaticas are a favorite early flower. Sharp-lobed and round-lobed refer to the leaf shapes of our two species. The hairy stems and buds are almost as nice as the flowers.
  • At the back of the pond, resembling dandelion, was coltsfoot. The scaly stem is a give away.
  • Skunk cabbage had been flowering for a while and some were already sending up leaves.
  • In the back of the 'Glen, a few clumps of ramps were coming up. These leaves will disappear before the flowers appear.
  • On the other hand, trout-lily leaves will persist as the plants flower and go to seed.
  • Behind the kiosk, false hellebore was sending up its first leaves.
  • There will be something new flowering almost every day now in the Fern Glen.
  • There were changes on the Cary Pines Trail during the winter.
  • "Disturbance and recovery" happens all the time, and it's not all bad.
  • The "snags" can be hard for deer to penetrate and so become harbors for seedlings reaching for the newly opened sky. And as the trees eventually decay, nutrients will be returned to the soil.
  • These upturned root balls will linger for many years as mysterious humps and depressions in the woods.
  • The benchs are back out on the trails, and the one at the "Appendix", as I like to call the area around Trail Marker 10, is a nice one for a view of the Creek and contemplation of the sights along the walk.
  • Next week: the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.


  • 2 Turkey Vulture
  • 2 Red-shouldered Hawk
  • 2 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 2 Mourning Dove
  • 2 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • 2 Northern Flicker
  • 6 Eastern Phoebe
  • 4 American Crow
  • 2 Tree Swallow
  • 2 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 2 Winter Wren
  • 2 Eastern Bluebird
  • 2 European Starling
  • 2 Pine Warbler
  • 2 Chipping Sparrow
  • 2 Field Sparrow
  • 2 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 2 Common Grackle
  • 2 Brown-headed Cowbird
  • 2 American Goldfinch
  • 1 Coltsfoot
  • 1 Dutchman's-breeches
  • 1 Japanese cornelina cherry
  • 1 Sharp-lobed hepatica
  • 1 Skunk cabbage


Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

Privacy Policy Copyright © 2016