September 11, 2013

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 85°F and climbing with hazy skies and tropical humidity at 12:30 PM on September 11, 2013.
  • Red berries was the main theme today.
  • Mosquitoes have continued to decline.
  • It was a day of both missed opportunities and new discoveries.

The Trails

  • First discovery of the day was that the front Old Hayfield had been mowed. The back field gets its haircut on even years so that wildlife always has refuge.
  • Along the Scotch Pine Alleé silverrod was blooming. Easily identified as the only white goldenrod among our 60 some species, it is a personal favorite.
  • Insects such as the paper wasp love all goldenrods. Pick out a patch and watch the traffic.
  • The mosquitoes in the Old Gravel Pit weren't too bad today. I could even linger at the Fern Glen end of the trail when a hairstreak dropped into a patch of sun for a moment... only a moment then it was gone. Maybe a white M? They were around in August two years ago.
  • While looking around for the hairsteak, I found an interesting beetle under a leaf.
  • Giving up, I headed for the fern Glen but paused again when some crows raised a fuss. Something big flew among the hemlocks. I slowly eased my binoculars around a tree to get a better look at a blob in the branches and it resolved into a barred owl's face. I must have resolved into a human and it moved on.
  • In the Fern Glen, winterberry berries were turning red.
  • So too, the spicebush.
  • Another shrub seemed a little different: smooth leaf edges and slightly larger fruit.
  • Studying the photo at home, I nearly leapt out of my chair. A detail I'd overlooked while focused on the berries was probably a pawpaw sphinx caterpillar. I love it. I don't know how many times I've discovered things in photos while editing them.
  • The one remaining saddleback caterpillar was still where I'd last seen it.
  • Continuing the red theme was Jack-in-the-pulpit.
  • Indian cucumber root near the stone bridge provided a variation on the theme with a black berry against red leaves.
  • From the stone bridge itself I saw a great blue heron glide by on its way to a landing. Just as I had the camera on it, it took off...
  • One of the leaves dropping into the pond seemed different: it was a giant water bug.
  • Near the great snag from Hurricane Sandy on the Cary Pines Trail, tall white lettuce was indeed tall and going to seed.
  • Along the flood plain of the Wappinger Creek Trail, zig-zag goldenrod had been blooming. The woodland habitat, its bottle brush bloom and roundish, toothed leaves make it not too tough a call. "Zig-zag"? The stem bends a bit at each leaf node.
  • The shiney mid rib of invasive Japanese stilt grass is a dead give away. The flower spike was just beginning to emerge; now would be the last chance to whack it and leave it without worry of seeds forming.
  • Big forest dragonflies had eluded me several times today. One finally perched long enough and with enough light for a shot.
  • The parting view of the day was a favorite clump of goldenrod at the unmowed edge of the front Old Hayfield.
  • Which one? The heat and humidity had been draining. I was satisfied with two out of three and headed home. A thunder shower along the way would have been welcome, but it wasn't til evening that they honored their forecast.
Front Old Hayfield mowed
Smooth winterberry and...
Pawpaw sphinx caterpillar
Saddleback caterpillar
Indian cucumber root
Giant water bug
Tall white lettuce
Tall white lettuce
Zig-zag goldenrod
Japanese stilt grass


  • 1 Great Blue Heron
  • 1 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 1 Barred Owl
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Hairy Woodpecker
  • 2 Northern Flicker
  • 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 5 Eastern Phoebe
  • 2 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 8 Blue Jay
  • 2 American Crow
  • 15 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 3 Brown Creeper
  • 3 House Wren
  • 3 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 American Robin
  • 3 Gray Catbird
  • 2 Common Yellowthroat
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 3 Field Sparrow
  • 2 Northern Cardinal
  • 2 American Goldfinch
  • 10 Cabbage White
  • 7 Clouded Sulphur
  • 3 Orange Sulphur
  • 1 American Copper
  • 3 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 1 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Meadow Fritillary
  • 5 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 1 Least Skipper
  • 2 Zabulon Skipper
  • 1 Pawpaw Sphinx
  • Giant water bug
  • 1 Japanese stilt grass
  • 1 Silver-rod
  • 1 Zig-zag goldenrod

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