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.

The Trails

  • 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.
April snow at Gifford House
April snow in the front Old Hayfield
Honeysuckle leafing out
Old Pumphouse
Woolly bear basking
Red maple blooming
Soil test pit with springtails
Soil test pit with springtails
Ironwood over Wappinger Creek
Lesser celandine
Toothwort
Daffodil
Myrtle
Sharp-lobed hepatica under snow
Bloodroot
Dutchman's-breeches
Large-flowered trillium
Early meadow-rue
Marsh marigold
Salamander egg mass
Trout-lily
Ramps
Spicebush buds
Chipmunk
Wappinger Creek from Fern Glen deck
Bottom of the Old Gravel Pit
Cleared path
Japanese cornelian cherry
Japanese cornelian cherry
Magnolia
Leatherwood blossom

Sightings

Birds
  • 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
Plants
  • 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...

The Trails

  • 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.
Spring beauty
Sharp-lobed hepatica
Sharp-lobed hepatica
Sharp-lobed hepatica
Mystery willow
Mystery willow catkins
Eastern comma
Eastern comma
Trout-lily
American sycamore
American sycamore
Maple
Ring-necked pheasant feathers
Ring-necked pheasant feathers
Ring-necked pheasant feathers
Ring-necked pheasant foot
Magnolia
Bottom of the Old Gravel Pit
Club moss
Club moss
Tree on the Detour!

Sightings

Birds
  • 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
Butterflies
  • 6 Eastern Comma
Herp
  • 1 Garter Snake
Plants
  • 1 Sharp-lobed hepatica

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