October, 2014 - Trail Report Archive

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 65°F, partly cloudy and windy at 1:00 PM on October 8, 2014.
  • Again there was about 0.2" of rain the day before.
  • Some places the leaves have noticably thinned.
  • I heard my first golden-crowned kinglets of the season.

The Trails

  • It was a cool and breezy start across the front Old Hayfield.
  • Along the edge, privet berries contasted with the unusual leaf colors.
  • You know the season is getting on when goldenrod goes to seed.
  • The Sedge Meadow boardwalk was covered with the leaves that were missing from the branches above.
  • Birds were very active between there and the back Old Hayfield with a blue jay being the only one to let me get a photo.
  • A couple clouded sulphurs were out there, too.
  • It was amazing how they could drop to the ground right in front of you and disappear.
  • After losing it twice - without it even moving, I moved on to easier subjects such as a golden hickory in the Old Pasture.
  • The view from the bluff over the Wappinger Creek is a favorite that I haven't taken in a while.
  • It's always been difficult to capture the atmosphere in the depths of the Cary Pines Trail.
  • In the back of the Fern Glen, some of the winterberry had turned their ghostly white.
  • I paused to look at the poor little eastern wahoo - a native relative of the invasive burning bush.
  • It has never flourished, but there was some color to it.
  • One longer branch had clump of still green leaves... with a silhouette? A bird dropping or a caterpillar?
  • Yes, a caterpillar. Now I had to go in and find out which one.
  • The visitor on the deck probably thought I'd seen a bear when I let out a "whoop": it was a saddleback caterpillar.
  • My whoop was purely from the surprise of seeing it, not of feeling it - the sting from those bristles I've only read about.
  • The rest of the walk was pretty quiet after that...
  • ...except for a new patch of Japanese stilt grass the had to be removed immediately.
Saddleback caterpillar

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 3 Northern Flicker
  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 2 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 Blue-headed Vireo
  • 5 Blue Jay
  • 13 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 2 Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • 3 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Gray Catbird
  • 3 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Palm Warbler
  • 2 Common Yellowthroat
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 5 Chipping Sparrow
  • 4 White-throated Sparrow
  • 4 Dark-eyed Junco
  • 3 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 3 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 Monarch
Caterpillars
  • 1 Saddleback caterpillar

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 63°F, cloudy and calm at 1:45 PM on October 2, 2014.
  • 0.2" of rain yesterday barely greened some of the plants, but it did soften the sound of foot steps and brought smells into the air.
  • Fall colors continued to intensify.
  • I saw my first junco of the season.

The Trails

  • In spite of the forecast, clouds lingered all afternoon, making for some dramatic landscapes.
  • On the approach to the Carriage House, pokeweed had berries green, ripe, and eaten.
  • At the head of the Scotch Pine Alleé, was a lone bunch of black-eyed-Susans still blooming.
  • Off to the side, wild bergamot had finished blooming, but the show was not over.
  • Last week's screaming red Virginia creeper was still striking against the conifers.
  • The view across the Little Bluestem Meadow was tricky to capture...
  • Favoring the trees looses the sky.
  • Shiny, dark red leaves drew my attention to a shrub along the side.
  • Oh yes, the viburnum - one of several with a thin, edible berry. I wondered if I'd tried it before. I can now say "thin" is the more descriptive term - it's all seed inside.
  • In the Old Gravel pit it was other thin things like lichens and mosses that visibly benefitted from the recent showers - they were very green.
  • Three small moths fluttered in front of my face to settle in a white pine's needles. Two touched noses momentarily, then... well, the third moth left.
  • The sap run on the maple had only one comma today, but bald-faced hornets were numerous.
  • At the edge of the Fern Glen, some black swallowwort had turned bright yellow. This will be helpful to those hunting down this invasive.
  • I'd received some questions about witch hazel but only started smelling it a day or two ago. In the shrub swamp I finally found it in flower.
  • Resting on a leaf below the deck was a hickory tussock moth caterpillar.
  • On the other side of the little foot bridge by the deck was sassafras sporting colors I don't think I realized it had.
  • The ridge of the Cary Pines Trail looked as if it had weathered a good blow: oak branch tips were all over the ground.
  • Empty acorn caps suggested it was not the work of wind but of squirrels.
  • The hill by the bench at the Appendix has had holes from solitary bees or wasps before, but the size of this one almost made me nervous.
  • A second hole not far away was reassurance that a chipmunk was more likely the engineer.
  • A rare moment of sun this day brightened the banks of the Wappinger Creek Trail.
  • If we look up stream, we have to look down stream too.
  • The competition was lining up in the back Old Hayfield.
  • In the front Old Hayfield, an old apple tree actually had some sizable fruit.
  • On closer inspection, they probably wouldn't make it to the store shelves - unless they were in a jug.
  • Just ahead something floated down in the late afternoon sun - the glide was not that of a leaf... it was the old great spangled fritillary we've been seeing in this corner.
  • We were usually finding her on that last stand of wild bergamot.
  • Both were looking pretty ragged today. Behind the browning seed heads, black walnuts were swelling on low branches.
  • That's what it's about now: seed for next season.
Little Bluestem Meadow

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 4 Mourning Dove
  • 1 Great Horned Owl
  • 5 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 2 Downy Woodpecker
  • 2 Eastern Phoebe
  • 5 Blue Jay
  • 23 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 6 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 8 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 Brown Creeper
  • 3 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Hermit Thrush
  • 2 American Robin
  • 3 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Cedar Waxwing
  • 3 Palm Warbler
  • 2 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Dark-eyed Junco
  • 3 Northern Cardinal
  • 2 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 1 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Eastern Comma
Caterpillars
  • 1 Hickory tussock moth
Plants
  • 1 Witch hazel

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