September, 2016 - Trail Report Archive

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 77°F, cloudy and gusty at 1:15 PM on September 7, 2016.
  • The forecast was for clearing in the afternoon as a storm moved across the south of the US. Indeed it did, but later than I'd hoped.
  • This week's trail report covers the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
  • A hint of color was in some leaves, and some birds were in flocks.

The Trails

  • Warm, humid air from the northeast was pushing clouds across the Old Hayfields.
  • A dozen odd looking birds flew into one of the big oaks at Gifford House. The clucking and squeeking sounded like blackbirds, but the head looked yellow and the body was dark and streaked.
  • Those streaks made me think juvinal starling.
  • And a closer look at the long bill made me think starling.
  • Suddenly a flock of several hundred came around from behind and settled in with the others. Yup, that sounds like them.
  • Thistle was was releasing seeds into the wind along the dirt road to the Carriage House.
  • Along the side, Virginia creeper berries were contrasting against reddening leaves.
  • Just a little farther along, pokeweed berries were ripening.
  • At the head of the Scots Pine Alleé, a monarch glided by and stopped on a queen Anne's lace seed head. There has been a number of reports of sightings. Let's see if they get through the coming winter any better than the last several.
  • Our one white goldenrod is silverrod. It's a little obscure.
  • But not as obscure as ragweed, whose pollen has given goldenrod the bad reputation as the hayfever producer.
  • The clouds were still thick as I entered the Old Gravel Pit. Did I even feel a drop of rain?
  • A familiar form was resting on the pine needles: a red-headed inchworm moth... perhaps: there are several similar speceis in the genus.
  • In the Fern Glen, the second showing of black cohosh was blooming.
  • While trying for a closer look to see if it might actually be the later blooming bugbane, I noticed little dark balls of frass, caterpillar poop.
  • Indeed, there was a perfectly camoflaged caterpillar, a spring azure, I'd wager.
  • Back in the fens, beggar ticks were blooming as best they can. The long, dual barbed seeds that stick to one's socks are probably more familiar.
  • Side by side was the more standard looking flower of bur marigold. The seeds are similar.
  • Next week: the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
Juvinal European starling


  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 3 Eastern Phoebe
  • 3 Blue Jay
  • 2 American Crow
  • 3 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 200 European Starling
  • 9 Field Sparrow
  • 1 American Goldfinch
  • 13 Cabbage White
  • 15 Clouded Sulphur
  • 4 Orange Sulphur
  • 2 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Monarch
  • 1 Spring Azure
  • 1 Red-headed inchworm moth


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