April, 2014 - Trail Report Archive
Notes and Changes since last report
- It was 55°F and partly cloudy with light breezes at 3:00 PM on April 2, 2014.
- With this past winter's extensive snow and ice lingering on the trails, opening of the grounds has been delayed from April 1 until this coming Saturday, April 5.
- This is the first report of this long awaited season.
- What better way to start than with a butterfly - a mourning cloak?
- Snow banks were still lingering at the edge of Gifford House parking lot.
- A slight fuzziness in the branches behind the Carriage House raised my hopes.
- Yes, there was life stirring in the magnolia blossoms!
- I promised myself I would look up their condition at this time in 2012 - that ridiculously early spring. There was no mention... the blossoms had already peaked the week before.
- Though winter was long with a lot of snow, there was not much damage along the trails. A few old dead trees were leaning a little more than last season.
- Shady spots in the woods still held on to patches of snow and ice.
- The bottom of the Old Gravel Pit had only a few inches of water.
- The Fern Glen pond was active with backswimmers and water striders on the surface.
- At the back of the pond, marsh marigold was just unfurling its leaves.
- Skunk cabbage nearby was flowering and pushing up its leaf rolls.
- Motion on the opposite shore caught my eye: a mourning cloak coming in to bask! That made Spring official in my book.
- The newt I'd seen was not to be found again, but there was a fat pollywog lazing in the sun.
- And at the usual spot near shore, the usual painted turtle was ignoring the usual guy with the camera.
- At the Acid Rain kiosk, a pretty large branch was down. Actually, it was more like half the tree. This was the most dramatic winter damage on the trails.
- From there straight to the Wappinger Creek is the area I like to call the "Appendix". Trail marker 10 should remove any doubt. Half a dozen mallards were preening there today.
- A little farther upstream, a pair of common mergansers almost slipped by unnoticed.
- The low, late day sun added a little something to my favorite view from the bluff above the creek.
- Two weeks ago, the hill at the Sedge Meadow Trail boardwalk was still under half a foot of snow.
- The sound of red-winged blackbirds was all around, but when I zoomed in on tree full of them, they turned out to be brown-headed cowbirds.
- Some birds are known to be more difficult to locate by their call than others, but ventriloquism?
- 2 Wood Duck
- 6 Mallard
- 2 Common Merganser
- 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
- 7 Eastern Phoebe
- 1 American Crow
- 20 Black-capped Chickadee
- 3 White-breasted Nuthatch
- 3 Golden-crowned Kinglet
- 1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
- 1 Eastern Bluebird
- 4 American Robin
- 1 Song Sparrow
- 3 Dark-eyed Junco
- 2 Northern Cardinal
- 10 Red-winged Blackbird
- 50 Brown-headed Cowbird
- 2 American Goldfinch