May 23, 2012

Notes and changes since last report

  • 75°F and cloudy with light winds at 2:30 PM on May 23, 2012. Carrying rain gear ensured no precipitation.
  • After several days of showers, the air was almost too warm and humid.
  • Over the weekend, a giant swallowtail made an appearance along the Sedge Meadow Trail.
  • The red admirals were still around, but in "normal" numbers.
  • Butterflies (and everything else) have been early this year. I asked my database how early? It said, so far, 2012 has been the earliest since 2004 - by 40 days or about 6 weeks on average.

The Trails

  • Patches of blue were showing over the growing grass when I arrived at Gifford House.
  • In the front Old Hayfield, bedstraws were beginning to bloom and were host to the frothy homes of spittle bugs.
  • American coppers and pearl crescents were dancing in the path in front of me.
  • Little wood-satyrs and a few common ringlets were just off the path. Cloudy days make it hard to find butterflies because they're not very active, but when found they can be easier to observe because... they're not very active.
  • Rising above the grasses was yellow goat's-beard soon to bloom.
  • Something else was in the grass; it was the right color, but the wrong flight for pearl crescent: it was the Yellow-washed metaranthis, a moth.
  • A whole clump of blue-eyed grass! I usally find this tiny lily as scattered individuals.
  • Leaving the Old Hayfield, a flash of orange caught my eye: a male Peck's skipper.
  • Entering the Sedge Meadow Trail, I noticed field pennycress. The flowers seemed to be gone, but the pods were plentiful.
  • In the Sedge Meadow proper, larger blue flag was blooming.
  • Angelica was not far behind.
  • In the back Old Hayfield, the first ox-eye daisy had already been discovered by tiny pollinators.
  • There in the path, to fill in a gap in the last report, was common speedwell, again, with minute blossoms.
  • Out in the middle of the field was golden Alexanders. I tried to make it into one of the parsnips but this is it.
  • All around in both Old Hayfields was the white-banded toothed carpet, a little dayflying moth with a name bigger than itself. Its caterpillar eats bedstraws.
  • By the time I left them the clouds were thick again. Half way along the Wappinger Creek Trail it started to sprinkle. That wasn't supposed to happen: I'd brought rain gear. Well, if I put it on it won't rain hard or long. It rained. All the way back to the car.
American Copper
Fields of grass at Gifford House
Spittle bug spit
Pearl crescent
Little wood-satyr
Yellow goat's-beard
Yellow-washed metaranthis
Blue-eyed grass
Blue-eyed grass
Peck's skipper
Field pennycress
Field pennycress
Larger blue flag
Larger blue flag
Ox-eye daisy
Common speedwell
Common speedwell
Golden Alexanders
White-banded toothed carpet


  • 1 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 2 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 2 Warbling Vireo
  • 3 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 2 American Crow
  • 1 Tree Swallow
  • 4 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 House Wren
  • 3 Eastern Bluebird
  • 3 Veery
  • 1 Wood Thrush
  • 2 American Robin
  • 2 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Blue-winged Warbler
  • 1 Black-throated Green Warbler
  • 1 Pine Warbler
  • 1 Prairie Warbler
  • 2 Ovenbird
  • 1 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 2 Common Yellowthroat
  • 1 Scarlet Tanager
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 2 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
  • 1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • 1 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 2 Brown-headed Cowbird
  • 1 Baltimore Oriole
  • 1 American Goldfinch
  • 1 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 2 Cabbage White
  • 2 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 American Copper
  • 1 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 9 Pearl Crescent
  • 4 Question Mark
  • 1 Red-spotted Purple
  • 18 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 7 Common Ringlet
  • 2 Juvenal's Duskywing
  • 2 Peck's Skipper
  • 1 Snowberry Clearwing
  • 1 White-banded toothed carpet
  • 1 Yellow-washed Metarranthis
  • 1 Bedstraw
  • 1 Blue-eyed grass
  • 1 Field pennycress
  • 2 Larger blue flag
  • 1 Meadow parsnip
  • 1 Ox-eye daisy

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