April, 2014 - Trail Report Archive
Notes and Changes since last report
- It was 40°F and clear with light breezes at 12:45 PM on April 16, 2014.
- Last night's inch of snow was still lingering in shady spots.
- New things have been blooming or coming up every day now.
- Winter deer browse damage has been becoming more evident the more I look around.
- Sunbathing with the first G & T of the season last weekend seemed like a dream now as I surveyed the snow-spotted landscape at Gifford House.
- There was some satisfaction knowing it couldn't hide long in the shade of the few trees in the front Old Hayfield.
- Honeysuckle bushes along the edge were leafing out with no concern for the snow.
- In the back corner, the Old Pumphouse was picturesque.
- An overwintered woolly bear was soaking up the sun in a sheltered spot along the Sedge Meadow Trail.
- Above, red maple was blooming.
- A gray film floated on the surface of the water in a soil test pit.
- Of course, it was springtails, tiny insects that are usually called primitive - or that I prefer to call successful: they haven't HAD to change.
- The Wappinger Creek was running high under an iron wood.
- Underfoot, the invasive lesser celandine was starting to bloom. It looks a lot like marsh marigold...
- Our native toothwort was getting ready to bloom.
- Myrtle and my first daffodil were blooming in the Norway Spruce Glade, i.e., the hillside approaching the Fern Glen. I don't know if they were planted or if they are garden escapees.
- In the Glen, hepatica seemed a bit put back by the snow.
- Bloodroot was unbothered and the first one was about to bloom.
- Dutchman's-breeches had come up in force in a week's time and was starting to bloom all over.
- Getting ready to bloom was the white large-flowered trillium.
- It would be a little while before early meadow-rue opens.
- At the back of the pond, marsh marigold was picking up speed.
- In the pond, salamander mating season had sped by and egg masses could be seen attached to sticks and vegetation below.
- Back along the edge of the pond, trout-lily was blooming. Recall that last week it was only leaves.
- The leaves of ramps were up in a few spots. Those leaves will disappear before they bloom.
- Spicebush buds were beginning to crack. Their lemony scent can be found in the leaves, bark and fruit as well.
- Things have been happening so fast that when I came through the next day I wasn't sure if I had missed the leatherwood blossoms today or if they popped overnight. They make me think of little furry horse hooves - yeah, Clydesdales.
- There are always chipmunks in the limestone cobble. And they always startle me.
- The chairs were already out on the deck at the 'Glen and the view was fine today.
- Conditions at the bottom of the Old Gravel Pit were predictable after yesterday's rain.
- The path around the bottom had been cleared of that fallen tree trunk.
- At the Carriage House, Japanese cornelian cherry was blooming.
- One last stop before returning to Gifford was the magnolia. Its buds had survived the sleet, snow and cold and were opening.
- 1 Ring-necked Pheasant
- 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
- 1 Eastern Phoebe
- 3 Black-capped Chickadee
- 1 Tufted Titmouse
- 4 White-breasted Nuthatch
- 2 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
- 1 Eastern Bluebird
- 5 American Robin
- 1 Chipping Sparrow
- 1 Northern Cardinal
- 1 Red-winged Blackbird
- 1 Bloodroot
- 1 Daffodil
- 1 Dutchman's-breeches
- 1 Japanese cornelian cherry
- 1 Lesser celandine
- 1 Magnolia
- 1 Marsh marigold
- 1 Myrtle
- 1 Trout-lily
Notes and Changes since last report
- It was 55°F and partly cloudy with light breezes at 12:00 PM on April 9, 2014.
- It's actually been starting to feel like Spring.
- Eastern commas were out in numbers today.
- Pine warbler was singing in the Fern Glen and elsewhere.
- A first flower was seen... well, after skunk cabbage...
- Starting in the Fern Glen today, I found spring beauty budding up by the main kiosk.
- I was delighted to have pointed out to me sharp-lobed hepatica just starting to bloom.
- The wild pubescence of the young stems is as attractive as the blossom.
- The leaves... well, I like them too. This is clearly sharp-lobed rather than round-lobed.
- At the back of the pond, the mystery willow had catkins popping out.
- On the Cary Pines Trail, eastern commas would erupt from sunny patchs on the trail, lunge towards us, then drop back into the leaves and disappear.
- The air was cool and a young garter snake was cold and sluggish enough to allow some portraits.
- Another long awaited sign of spring, trout-lily leaves were coming up along the Wappinger Creek Trail.
- Regular visitors to the trails will recognize the big old American sycamore at the water's edge.
- The view of the roots is probably more familiar.
- An interesting sight in the Old Pasture was a maple clinging to its seeds.
- The remains of a ring-necked pheasant were in the back Old Hayfield.
- Feathers must be like snow flakes: no two alike.
- A look at a bird's foot does much for the argument that birds are related to dinosaurs.
- The magnolia behind the Carriage House didn't look that much more advanced than the week before.
- The bottom of the Old Gravel Pit was surprisingly full of water. I suppose it did rain some the day before.
- Back tracking to the Deer Exclosure trail, we found two different club mosses growing together.
- One more surprise was lurking around the bend: a tree across the detour trail!
- It was nice to see some real signs of Spring today.
- 1 Red-tailed Hawk
- 1 Downy Woodpecker
- 1 Pileated Woodpecker
- 2 Eastern Phoebe
- 4 Tree Swallow
- 8 Black-capped Chickadee
- 3 Golden-crowned Kinglet
- 1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
- 2 Pine Warbler
- 20 Brown-headed Cowbird