July, 2012 - Trail Report Archive

  • But we started at Gifford House parking lot where New York iron weed, which favors wet places, seemed happy enough.
  • Nearby, stripped milkweed leaves caught our attention.
  • It was not the work of monarch caterpillars, but milkweed tussock moth caterpillars. This was only the first of several instances around the parking lot.
  • In contrast, if it weren't for the movement, this immature katydid would never have been noticed.
  • The split in the Cary Pines Trail at the end of the Scotch Pine Alleé was a good butterfly spot this morning with tiger swallowtail, great spangled fritillary, red-spotted purple and others.
  • In the Fern Glen, Clethra, or sweet pepperbush, was about to bloom.
  • Near the deck, green-headed coneflower had actually started.
  • Along the road near the bridge, Indian tobacco, a lobelia, was indeed blooming.
  • Just in from the kiosk, cardinal flower, another lobelia, was bursting.
  • Farther in, white wood aster had joined the ranks of the blooming.
  • The Sedge Meadow Trail was very much alive with birds, butterflies and well, enormous flies. I think this is a white-faced fly, Archytas apicifer.
  • The back Old Hayfield had several olive hairstreaks. I find them on flowers that other butterflies seem to ignore: queen Anne's lace and yarrow.
  • In the front Old Hayfield, a meadow fritillary amazed me by sitting long enough for a photo.
  • Although the Lowlands are not part of my usual route, I feel a new species (to me) is worth mention. I'd heard suggestions that the bronze copper might be in the Lowlands, but I'd never seen it... anywhere. As I was leaving last Monday, something told me to take a stroll down there. A dogbane patch, still blooming, had a nice assortment of butterflies. Beyond, it was grassier with mostly pearl crescents and common ringlets. But one was different and landed right in front of me. To paraphrase Glassberg in his field guide, in pictures there is a similarity to the American copper; in the field there is no doubt. I got a good photo from below. Today, I'd come back for a better shot above and to see if there were more around. An hour of searching turned up only the one - and in the same spot, basking again in the tall grass. It is larger than a pearl crescent, but maybe a little smaller than a common ringlet. All three show orange in flight, but its orange is more like that of the crescent and that is perhaps why it will fly up to challenge passing crescents, but ignore ringlets. Watch them both!
Bronze Copper
New York ironweed
Common milkweed with...
...Milkweed tussock moth caterpillars
Clethra, sweet pepperbush
Green-headed coneflower
Indian tobacco
Cardinal flower
White wood aster
White-faced fly
'Olive' juniper hairstreak
Meadow fritillary
Bronze copper


  • 4 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • 1 Belted Kingfisher
  • 2 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 1 Eastern Kingbird
  • 1 Warbling Vireo
  • 1 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 1 Blue Jay
  • 3 American Crow
  • 6 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 3 Tufted Titmouse
  • 4 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 Eastern Bluebird
  • 3 American Robin
  • 3 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Cedar Waxwing
  • 2 Blue-winged Warbler
  • 2 American Redstart
  • 1 Worm-eating Warbler
  • 1 Scarlet Tanager
  • 5 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 5 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
  • 1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • 2 Indigo Bunting
  • 7 American Goldfinch
  • 9 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 1 Spicebush Swallowtail
  • 59 Cabbage White
  • 6 Clouded Sulphur
  • 8 Orange Sulphur
  • 3 'Olive' Juniper Hairstreak
  • 2 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 1 Spring Azure
  • 13 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 2 Meadow Fritillary
  • 31 Pearl Crescent
  • 2 Painted Lady
  • 6 Red-spotted Purple
  • 1 Northern Pearly-eye
  • 6 Appalachian Brown
  • 22 Common Ringlet
  • 17 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 8 Monarch
  • 15 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 1 Peck's Skipper
  • 1 Crossline Skipper
  • 9 Northern Broken-Dash
  • 2 Mulberry Wing
  • 4 Dun Skipper
  • 1 Cardinal flower
  • 1 Green-headed coneflower
  • 1 Indian tobacco
  • 1 New York ironweed
  • 1 White wood aster
  • 3 Hummingbird Clearwing

Notes and changes since last report:

  • 92°F, partly cloudy and breezy at 11:30 AM.
  • It's still been pretty warm with virtually no rain... that would change today.
  • The common ringlet's 2nd brood was coming out and the tawny-edged skipper was making an appearance.
  • In the Fern Glen, things were slowing down, but there were some new blooms and others were getting ready.

The Trails

  • Braving the noon day heat in the Gifford parking lot was not in vain and the chewed up milkweed leaves did not lie: at least three monarch caterpillars were on one plant.
  • The trail in the front Old Hayfield was getting crisp from the heat and lack of rain.
  • I was surprised to find several Delaware skippers out there today.
  • Another surprise was the large Argiope, or orb-weaver spider, that I almost walked into.
  • Though, heading for the shade, I had to examine some strange limpet-like objects on the dogbane.
  • At first glance, they seemed uninhabited. But at second glance, the walls appeared to be made of eggs.
  • The forecast was for thunder showers this afternoon; "was this a harbinger?" I wondered.
  • On the high section of the Sedge Meadow Trail, butter-and-eggs were just hanging on - in fact it was loosing blossoms as I watched.
  • An American copper was leading the way as I continued along.
  • In the back Old Hayfield, meadow fritillary presented a rare opportunity for a photo.
  • The sun was behind rumbling clouds as I back tracked onto the Sedge Meadow Trail. A silver-spotted skipper dove under a leaf for cover but was too skittish for a photo. Another sillouette did not flee before me; I stopped to examine it:
  • It was a painted lichen moth. Charming. For a moment I forgot about the changing weather.
  • The Old Pasture was active, but the sky above was increasingly so; I could no longer ignore it and had to leave with some uncertain IDs.
  • It was now quite dark and windy on the Wappinger Creek Trail, but there was no doubt it was northern pearly-eyes flying at me like leaves in the wind.
  • The eventual rain was pretty hard but it was the lightning overhead that sent me packing for the Carriage House.
  • It didn't last long and I continued to the Fern Glen pausing in the Norway Spruce Glade along the road to watch the return to life-as-usual. One of the skippers seemed a little small - it was a tawny-edged! I wasn't sure I'd seen one yet this year.
  • In the Glen proper, climbing hempweed was just barely beginning to bloom.
  • Back in the shrub swamp, horse-balm was coming into bloom.
  • At the front of the pond, boneset was getting ready to do the same.
  • Eloquent in any situation, a clymene moth was perching along the trail through the Old Gravel Pit.
  • Not much farther ahead was the more subtle, hemlock looper moth.
  • Skys were now blue, but my feet were wet and the car was in sight; none the less I had to examine the dark spots in the thistle by the Carriage House.
  • It was taking too long to get a good view of the painted lady caterpillars.
  • I settled for a fair one and headed off for dry socks.
Monarch caterpillars on common milkweed
Front Old Hayfield
Delaware skippers
Orb-weaver spider
Limpet-like objects?
Weather to come?
American copper
Meadow fritillary
Painted lichen moth
Climbing hempweed
Clymene tiger moth
Hemlock looper moth
Painted lady caterpillar


  • 1 Wild Turkey
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 1 Great Crested Flycatcher
  • 1 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 4 American Crow
  • 1 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 3 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 American Robin
  • 2 Gray Catbird
  • 2 Cedar Waxwing
  • 2 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 3 Eastern Towhee
  • 2 Chipping Sparrow
  • 1 Field Sparrow
  • 3 Indigo Bunting
  • 4 American Goldfinch
  • 16 Cabbage White
  • 3 Clouded Sulphur
  • 7 Orange Sulphur
  • 3 American Copper
  • 4 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 8 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Meadow Fritillary
  • 42 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 American Lady
  • 3 Northern Pearly-eye
  • 8 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 5 Common Ringlet
  • 28 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 3 Monarch
  • 7 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 1 Tawny-edged Skipper
  • 13 Northern Broken-Dash
  • 1 Little Glassywing
  • 3 Delaware Skipper
  • 2 Dun Skipper
  • Painted lady
  • 1 Climbing hempweed
  • 1 Horse-balm
  • 1 Clymene tiger moth
  • 1 Hemlock looper moth
  • 1 Hummingbird Clearwing
  • 1 Painted lichen moth
  • 1 Snowberry Clearwing
  • 1 White-striped Black
  • 3 Yellow-collared scape moth


Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

Privacy Policy Copyright © 201