May, 2016 - Trail Report Archive

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was mostly clear with light breezes at 11:00 AM on May 11, 2016, warming eventually to maybe 75°F.
  • Let's see if the next couple days are warm enough to finish off the great run of spring flowers.
  • Leaves have been coming out strong to make finding new birds more of a challenge.
  • Pearl crescent was the returning butterfly today.

The Trails

  • The paths through the front Old Hayfield at Gifford House were filled with buttercups.
  • A handful of cedar waxwings came into the back of the field to snack.
  • Near the edges, tiny bird's-eye and thyme-leaved speedwells - both alien - were blooming.
  • In the back Old Hayfield, the flowering dogwood was looking fuller than last week.
  • A closer look was worth while.
  • The paths here and through the Sedge Meadow were carpeted with dwarf cinquefoil.
  • And it was here that my first of the season pearl crescent appeared.
  • A shadow passed over as I back tracked through the Sedge Meadow - a lightly worn eastern tiger swallowtail.
  • It hung around for a few minutes before departing.
  • The shade of the Wappinger Creek Trail felt good by now.
  • Oh yeah, the fungus on the tree stump... yes, it had grown considerably since last week.
  • Something else promising to grow was angelica by the foot bridge near the "Appendix".
  • It's leaves have that big sheath at the base.
  • The Cary Pines Trail is so quiet away from the water. I could track a scarlet tanager overhead... and it could track me.
  • At the top of the Fern Glen's Roeller Bed there had been two nice examples of hobblebush.
  • Now one is gone. I hope the beaver is too.
  • Farther down, starry Solomon's seal was blooming.
  • Scattered around was wild bleeding heart.
  • Foamflower was once more numerous in the cobble... now there is just a couple.
  • Some of the large-flowered trillium were turning pink with age.
  • One of the mystery plants, possibly an Asian Solomon's seal, had buds ready to open.
  • Almost unnoticed, striped maple was blooming overhead.
  • At ground level, red baneberry had started.
  • Near the boardwalk through the fen, Canada violet was blooming.
  • A rustle and a squeek in the leaves revealed a wood frog caught by a garter snake. Glad I'm big.
  • Wild sarsaprilla was way in the back and had started blooming.
  • A couple years ago, a tree came down right on top of the only toadshade in the 'Glen. I wonder how long that stem is.
  • Yellow lady's-slipper update: there may be buds in those stalks.
  • I didn't recall ever seeing anything like this: a cup fungus.
  • Our mid-size uvularia species, just plain "bellwort" starts after the "large-flowered".
  • Easy to miss on the other side of the road, swamp azalea was sparsely flowered, but what was there was nice.
  • Behind the Carriage House, the fothergilla was full out now.
  • Closer to the parking lot, buckeye looked like it was getting ready to bloom.
  • In fact some of the lower spikes had started.
  • Right at the edge of the parking lot, the lilacs that had been on hold through the cold and rain were out in full. The light and dark had different fragrances as well as colors.
  • Now that I was in the parking lot...

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 1 Yellow-billed Cuckoo
  • 2 Chimney Swift
  • 2 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 3 Eastern Phoebe
  • 2 Great Crested Flycatcher
  • 1 Yellow-throated Vireo
  • 1 Warbling Vireo
  • 1 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 3 Blue Jay
  • 2 American Crow
  • 3 Tree Swallow
  • 6 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 House Wren
  • 2 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • 4 Veery
  • 3 Wood Thrush
  • 5 American Robin
  • 7 Gray Catbird
  • 3 European Starling
  • 3 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Blue-winged Warbler
  • 2 Yellow Warbler
  • 1 Black-throated Green Warbler
  • 1 Pine Warbler
  • 1 Prairie Warbler
  • 1 Black-and-white Warbler
  • 3 Ovenbird
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 1 Scarlet Tanager
  • 3 Eastern Towhee
  • 3 Chipping Sparrow
  • 1 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • 1 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 1 Brown-headed Cowbird
  • 2 Baltimore Oriole
  • 5 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 2 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 6 Cabbage White
  • 16 Spring Azure
  • 1 Pearl Crescent
Fungus
  • Cup fungus
Plants
  • 1 Bellwort
  • 1 Bird's-eye speedwell
  • 1 Buckeye
  • 1 Buttercup
  • 1 Canada violet
  • 1 Dwarf cinquefoil
  • 1 Foamflower
  • 1 Lilac
  • 1 Lily-of-the-valley
  • 1 Red baneberry
  • 1 Solomon's-seal (asian?)
  • 1 Starry false Solomon's-seal
  • 1 Striped maple
  • 1 Swamp azalea
  • 1 Thyme-leaved speedwell
  • 1 Wild bleeding-heart
  • 1 Wild sarsaparilla

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 47°F and misting with light breezes at 11:30 PM on May 4, 2016.
  • The cool, damp weather of late had kept typically short lived spring flowers in bloom.
  • Black-and-white warbler and ovenbird were back.
  • No butterflies were seen at all.

The Trails

  • The forecast was not much better for any day this week, so I headed out into the mist and crossed Gifford House's front Old Hayfield.
  • On the Sedge Meadow Trail, honeysuckle was fully leafed out with swelling flower buds while native gray dogwood in the background was barely opening its leaves.
  • From a distance shaggy orange balls could be seen decorating the cedars ahead.
  • They were the bizarre fungal cedar rust galls.
  • Off the side of the boardwalk was a clump of violets.
  • The zoom lens got us in close and personal.
  • Across the back Old Hayfield, the flowering dogwood didn't look much more advanced than last week.
  • Again, zooming in showed that there had been some progress.
  • The recent rains, though mostly light, have been enough to fill up the Wappinger Creek.
  • At the bottom of the hill, a lighter color in the leaves caught my attention.
  • Big wood chips like this I've seen before...
  • Directly above was the work site of a pileated woodpecker.
  • Down along the creek, I heard the Louisiana waterthrush and noticed a white bump on a stump at the water's edge.
  • It was a young shelf fungus. Last year's got pretty big...
  • Cut-leaved toothwort was just a few steps ahead. The cool, damp weather has helped keep this flower around for a nice while.
  • On the slope up to the sugarbush, a glint of purple was from the first gaywings to bloom.
  • Down in the floodplain, invasive narrow-leaved bittercress was beginning to send up its flower stalk.
  • The Canada mayflower made quite the ground cover on the Cary Pines Trail.
  • Mixed in, here and there, was starflower, just budding up.
  • In the Fern Glen, Jack-in-the-pulpit had errupted since the last time.
  • Another strange flower like skunk cabbage composed of spathe and spadix.
  • Back in the fen, rhodora was starting to bloom.
  • Closer to the soil, leatherleaf had already started.
  • Little bog rosemary was already with the program.
  • Highbush blueberry was ready to burst, in fact just a few had.
  • In another corner, tiny goldthread was well on the way.
  • Way in the back, the long awaited yellow lady's-slipper was beginning to unroll leaves.
  • By the deck over the Creek, toothwort was again having a great season.
  • A surprise along the road was golden ragwort; interestingly there was no such advanced stages in sunnier locations elsewhere.
  • Another surprise was finding a beaver at work last week. Felling a tree was one thing to watch... dragging it away was another. All that remained was a stump
  • On the way out of the 'Glen stood another dogwood.
  • Something was a little odd about its form - after the first branch, almost everything was gone.
  • In the Old Gravel Pit, honeysuckle was even further along.
  • At the Carriage House end of the Scots Pine Alleé, American goldfinch were overhead.
  • Behind the Carriage House, fothergilla had barely begun to bloom.
  • With wet feet and my car in sight, it was hard to stop for the Bradford pear, but I wanted to verify it was the source of that punky fragrance in the air.
Cedar Rust Gall

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Mourning Dove
  • 2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 3 Eastern Phoebe
  • 2 Blue Jay
  • 3 American Crow
  • 4 Common Raven
  • 1 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 2 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 6 American Robin
  • 2 European Starling
  • 1 Pine Warbler
  • 1 Black-and-white Warbler
  • 5 Ovenbird
  • 2 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 4 Eastern Towhee
  • 3 Chipping Sparrow
  • 1 Field Sparrow
  • 2 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 1 House Finch
  • 5 American Goldfinch
Plants
  • 1 Bog rosemary
  • 1 Bradford pear
  • 1 Fothergilla
  • 1 Gaywings
  • 1 Golden ragwort
  • 1 Goldthread
  • 1 High bush blueberry
  • 1 Honeysuckle
  • 1 Jack-in-the-pulpit
  • 1 Leatherleaf
  • 1 Rhodora

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