September 18, 2013

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 70°F and clear and calm at 1:00 PM on September 18, 2013.
  • Warm sun and cool, dry air. I love this weather.
  • Mosquitoes were almost non-existant. I love this too.
  • Not a skipper in sight anywhere today. Others might love that.

The Trails

  • Right in front of me in the Gifford parking lot was a small milkweed with a colony of the introduced oleander aphids.
  • I thought about looking for monarch caterpillars but didn't have to make a decision: one was already there. It's getting late in the season - I hope it makes it. Their numbers are way down with reports of a 60% drop to a 20 year low at their Mexican winter grounds last winter.
  • Along the edge of the front Old Hayfield was fine example of a goldenrod bunch gall, caused by a midge's larva living inside. Its secretion stops the stem from growing taller, but the leaves keep coming out and so form a bunch, giving the larva a safe place to live. Bunch galls only happen on Canada goldenrod, making that goldenrod ID easier.
  • The boardwalk across the end of the Sedge Meadow had been collecting falling leaves - something I'd been denying.
  • Another goldenrod that I find relatively easy to ID is rough-leaved goldenrod. It likes wet soils and has pretty big basal leaves.
  • The Old Pasture has been reliable for American coppers for a while now. Just sit at the bench and watch the path.
  • Across the path, a white form female sulphur looked as if it were extra massive as it dangled from an already curved goldenrod.
  • A view of the sun dappled Wappinger Creek exemplified the beautiful day it was.
  • Just above the Fern Glen, a spotted apatelodes caterpillar was hanging out under a leaf.
  • There was one a few weeks ago. This time the characteristic red abdominal prolegs were obvious.
  • A dragonfly was perched nearby and I had to try for it.
  • In the Old Gravel Pit, I thought I heard golden-crowned warbler and swung my gaze in that direction but found instead psychadelic spider webs up fairly high.
  • The lighting, the smells in the air... it was spectacular today. The view down the Scotch Pine Alleé was another that will be recalled when this day is mentioned.
  • Off to the side, I spotted my first common milkweed letting loose its seeds to seek new homes. And I returned to my own.
Oleander aphids on milkweed
Monarch caterpillar on milkweed
Canada goldenrod with goldenrod bunch gall
Fallen leaves on Sedge Meadow boardwalk
Rough-leaved goldenrod
American copper
White form female sulphur
Wappinger Creek
Spotted apatelodes
Spotted apatelodes
Dragonfly
Spider web
Scotch Pine Alleé
Milkweed seeds

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 6 Blue Jay
  • 1 American Crow
  • 18 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 5 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Brown Creeper
  • 2 House Wren
  • 1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 1 Veery
  • 1 American Robin
  • 3 Gray Catbird
  • 4 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Black-and-white Warbler
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 4 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
Butterflies
  • 29 Cabbage White
  • 34 Clouded Sulphur
  • 14 Orange Sulphur
  • 1 American Copper
  • 3 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 1 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Meadow Fritillary
  • 13 Pearl Crescent
Caterpillars
  • 1 Monarch
  • 1 Spotted apatelodes
Moth
  • 1 Snowberry Clearwing

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