trail map

Trail Reports

Insights on trail conditions and the plants and animals you can expect to encounter throughout the seasons.

BarryMeet Barry, the author of our trail reports >>

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 75°F, partly cloudy and calm at 12:15 PM on September 10, 2014.
  • A fairly quiet day, but with its moments.
  • Black swallowwort pods were ripe and opening.

The Trails

  • A quick stroll around Gifford parking lot turned up mature common milkweed pods.
  • Just as I was remarking that butterfly season was ramping down, a pair of mating meadow fritillaries was at my feet in the front Old Hayfield.
  • The male was clearly smaller and from below more colorful. From above the female's black marks were more pronounced toward the base of the wings - typical of frits.
  • Calico aster, small and common, has been out for a while already.
  • Last week had the goldenrod leaf gall, this week a round goldenrod stem gall from another fly. Yet another stem gall is elliptical and from a moth larva.
  • A great goldenrod stand comes up in the same corner of the field each season.
  • Along the Sedge Meadow Trail, gray dogwood berries were at their prime.
  • And there in the thick... yellow underneath, gray head, white eye ring... too quick and it was gone before I could get a picture. A warbler, but Nashville? Young Canada? Or?...
  • In the back Old Hayfield, two halves of a snake may have been a result of the previous week's mowing.
  • The downed oak on the Wappinger Creek Trail had been cleared.
  • The growth rings indicated it was a good 80 years old. I think they will make good trail side seating.
  • It had been a while since I'd looked at the rattlesnake plantain.
  • One can't forget those leaves... Flowering looked finished - we'll next look for seeds.
  • In the Fern Glen, the late season black cohosh was blooming. It's different from the earlier one.
  • Past the limestone cobble, another goldenrod of dry woods was blooming: wreath goldenrod. The long, narrow leaf and blossoms along the stem contrast those of last week's zigzag goldenrod.
  • Back near the deck, it was nice to see a regular visitor again: the brown-hooded owlet caterpillar - on goldenrod, as ususal.
  • And I finally found whorled aster. I'd been wondering where it was.
  • Judging by the tired looking blossoms I'd say I'd almost missed this flowering period.
  • Something I'd always wondered about was the large, arrow shaped leaves.
  • The unusual blossoms made the determination of tall white lettuce easy.
  • On the way out of the Glen and up the hill, I saw another familiar face: an almost purple aster.
  • The leaves were clasping but not toothed.
  • Another nearby aster was more blue with small, thin leaves.
  • That narrows things down but the book says we have about 60 species in the Northeast...
  • Finishing up the walk through the Scotch Pine Alleé, I spotted dark green... my favorite invasive to hate: black swallowwort.
  • Almost all the pods had burst. 10 pods this year is 250 plants next year. Trying to gather the seeds that didn't fly was tricky business as they seemed to know my touch and released from their parachutes to drop and hide in the thatch below.
  • Yes, it's a big field and what can one person do... hope that rant... er, sharing will help others recognize it, prompt them to learn about it. When it shows up in your own yard, dealing with one or two plants is not too hard...
Meadow fritillaries mating

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 2 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 1 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 5 Blue Jay
  • 11 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 3 Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 House Wren
  • 1 American Robin
  • 2 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 2 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 7 Cabbage White
  • 8 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 Orange Sulphur
  • 5 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 5 Meadow Fritillary
  • 4 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Common Ringlet
  • 1 Silver-spotted Skipper
Caterpillars
  • 1 Brown-hooded owlet
Plants
  • 1 Black cohosh
  • 1 Calico aster
  • 1 Tall white lettuce
  • 1 Whorled aster
  • 1 Wreath goldenrod

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 80°F, and partly cloudy with light breezes at 1:15 PM on September 3, 2014.
  • Some of the fields had been mowed as part of their regular maintenance.
  • Some fall colors were starting to appear.

The Trails

  • There was quite the colony of goldenrod bunch galls at the head of the Scotch Pine Alleé. A midge larva stops stem growth and the bunched up leaves make a nice home.
  • Japanese barberry was taking on fall colors - a foot in the door for this and many other invasives.
  • The field in the background had recently been mowed, but to provide refugia for the wildlife, the adjacent one had not .
  • Another goldenrod that is easy to ID is silverrod - it's our only white goldenrod.
  • I looked up for the chickadees I heard in the Old Gravel Pit and instead saw butterflies flying around then landing on the side of a tree trunk to lap up sap.
  • They were eastern commas - at least two of them. And they weren't alone.
  • In the Fern Glen's fen, both beggar ticks and bur marigold were blooming.
  • In the shrub swamp section, an eastern tent caterpiller egg mass wrapped around a twig of an old apple.
  • I went to check the "birder-fly feeder" at the deck, but it was gone... both it and its label were lying off the side of the path. If there is ever an issue in the 'Glen, I'd be happy to discuss it...
  • Parting from the 'Glen, I heard red-breasted nuthatch and reflected that there hadn't been much sign of them this summer until the week before.
  • In the flood plain of the Wappinger Creek was a magnificent Jack-in-the-pulpit seed head.
  • A little farther along was the spot where, when the light is right, you can find some nice size fish - presumably trout, although this one seemed to resemble barracuda.
  • Too often comes that moment when you stop dead in your tracks thinking, gee, I almost completely missed that. This time a tree across the path.
  • It was easy to step over and continue up the hill into the Old Pasture where an enormous dragonfly settled not far in front of me.
  • Then along the Sedge Meadow Trail - no feuding northern pearly-eyes today.
  • Surprise, the back Old Hayfield had been mowed too, so that was a quick tour.
  • We finished with burning bush, in the far corner of the field, having a story similar to barberry's from the start of the walk.
Eastern comma on maple sap

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 2 Mourning Dove
  • 2 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 2 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 2 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 7 Blue Jay
  • 4 Tree Swallow
  • 10 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 2 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 4 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 House Wren
  • 3 American Robin
  • 2 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Pine Warbler
  • 3 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 11 Cabbage White
  • 3 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 Orange Sulphur
  • 6 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 6 Pearl Crescent
  • 2 Eastern Comma
  • 2 Common Ringlet
  • 1 Monarch
  • 2 Silver-spotted Skipper
Plants
  • 1 Beggar-ticks
  • 1 Bur-marigold
  • 1 Silver-rod

Pages

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

Privacy Policy Copyright © 2014