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 77°F and cloudy with light breezes at 11:30 AM on July 9, 2014.
  • The threat of afternoon thunder storms was realized, and NOT after today's walk.
  • Northern pearly-eye and banded hairstreaks finally showed up.
  • Rain prevented a tour of the front Old Hayfield.

The Trails

  • Once around Gifford House's milkweed didn't turn up much. Plants out in the open had just about peaked.
  • A clouded sulphur was "puddling" on the way to the Carriage House. Very few whites and sulphurs are around this season.
  • The patch of spreading dogbane in the Little Bluestem Meadow was lively with silver-spotted skippers and northern broken-dashes, among other things.
  • The bottom of the Old Gravel Pit was a new place for northern pearly-eye. The usual spot was empty, and they were a week late this year.
  • A couple well worn anglewings were soaking up the sun. Yup, commas.
  • At the Fern Glen pond, Culver's root was just beginning to bloom.
  • Carrion flower was already making berries.
  • Here and there, fringed loosestrife was popping up.
  • Around the limestone cobble, lopseed was putting out its tiny flowers.
  • Back in the fen, swamp milkweed was getting under way.
  • Another easy to miss flower, enchanter's nightshade, had been up in several places.
  • Finally, on the Wappinger Creek trail, two weeks late - unless I just missed them - were banded hairstreaks.
  • Unlike most butterflies, that open their wings to the sun, hairstreaks usually take it broadside in "lateral basking".
  • I was pretty sure I'd seen the Appalachian brown behind the Sedge Meadow already. Indeed I had; it's just that there's been few of them this year.
  • One black-eyed Susan in the back Old Hayfield seemed to have a bump on it. It was an American copper, and looking very fresh too.
  • As it got dark and started to sprinkle, things slowed down... including the camera's shutter: a snowberry clearwing's wings were just about invisible. The tail was invisible because it was gone.
  • The front view, if a little blurry, shows what I like to call suspenders: the dark two stripes that the hummingbird clearwing does not have.
  • A surprise appearance of a coral hairstreak was nice.
  • While unsuccessfully trying to find it again for a photo, I did find and photo a Delaware skipper .
  • The thunder overhead conviced me not to press my luck further, but to press on instead.
  • It was raining lightly and kind of pleasantly right up until I reached the car, then it really opened up.
  • My lucky day.
American copper on black-eyed Susan

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Mourning Dove
  • 2 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • 3 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 8 Eastern Phoebe
  • 4 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 1 Blue Jay
  • 7 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 2 Tufted Titmouse
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 Brown Creeper
  • 1 House Wren
  • 1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • 4 Veery
  • 2 Wood Thrush
  • 3 American Robin
  • 7 Gray Catbird
  • 11 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Black-throated Green Warbler
  • 6 Pine Warbler
  • 1 Prairie Warbler
  • 1 Ovenbird
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 4 Scarlet Tanager
  • 7 Eastern Towhee
  • 2 Chipping Sparrow
  • 3 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 3 Northern Cardinal
  • 1 Indigo Bunting
  • 3 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 17 Cabbage White
  • 2 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 American Copper
  • 1 Coral Hairstreak
  • 5 Banded Hairstreak
  • 33 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 5 Eastern Comma
  • 2 Red Admiral
  • 13 Northern Pearly-eye
  • 1 Appalachian Brown
  • 58 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 66 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 12 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 11 Northern Broken-Dash
  • 8 Little Glassywing
  • 2 Delaware Skipper
  • 5 Dun Skipper
Plants
  • 1 Culver's-root
  • 1 Enchanter's nightshade
  • 1 Fringed loosestrife
  • 1 Lopseed
  • 1 Swamp milkweed
Moth
  • 2 Snowberry Clearwing
  • 1 Yellow-collared scape moth

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 83°F and partly cloudy with light breezes at 10:00 AM on July 2, 2014.
  • The threat of afternoon thunder storms was realized, but after today's walk.
  • Common wood-nymph was finally making an appearance.
  • Surprisingly absent today was banded hairstreak. An afternoon last weekend in Red Hook totaled 40.
  • Little glassy-wing was back in numbers with just a couple northern broken-dash thrown in.

The Trails

  • Common milkweed was coming into full bloom behind Gifford House.
  • Milkweeds famously support monarchs as their caterpillars' sole food, but many other creatures feed on the leaves or nectar... or each other, such as this jumping spider that had captured a daddy longlegs.
  • From a tree top over Gifford Parking lot, an indigo bunting gave its song of paired phrases.
  • Below, at the entrance to the first Old Hayfield, Canada thistle had established a colony to the dismay of the gardener but to the delight of the American goldfinch for which the seed was originally intended.
  • In the back Old Hayfield, one of the plume moths dangled from a leaf.
  • The common wood-nymph was finally back. End of May is usually the peak of the first brood - there was no sign of them at all.
  • A great spangled fritillary looked in trouble with poorly formed wings. When they hatch, butterflies and moths need room for their wings to expand and dry and harden. This doesn't look fatal, rather this individual will probably fly with a slight limp.
  • Ducking into the shady path to the creek at the back of the field, I was reintroduced to the colony of Canada lilies. These are not garden escapees, but are actually native to our area.
  • This was the second time today that I would see a rusty brown bird with a long tail. But this time it landed on a bare branch where I could see it; it was the brown thrasher I suspected.
  • Enjoying the cool shade of the Wappinger Creek Trail, I thought I saw a flash of color on the other shore of the creek.
  • A scan of the binoculars turned up an anglewing.
  • A long lens with image stabilization clinched it as an eastern comma.
  • By the Watershed kiosk, shinleaf was blooming.
  • The constant racket from above the head of the Cary Pines trail was from a very active ovenbird.
  • I seemed to have its complete attention, so I presumed a nest was not far.
  • In the Fern Glen, spikenard was just beginning to blossom.
  • Back in the acid cobble, purple-flowering raspberry was making a poor show this year.
  • Next to it, maple-leaved viburnum was making fruit already.
  • At the deck by the Creek, I checked the recently intalled "birder-fly feeder" for butterflies, other insects or birds coming for them.
  • It was empty, but something was sitting on the arm of a chair.
  • I'm convinced, should humans ever set foot on Mars, they will find proof that indeed there had been life on this now dead planet.
  • In the Old Gravel Pit, wild licorace was blooming with absurdly tiny flowers.
  • Behind the Carriage House, another strange sight was what appeared to be a sycamore sporting flowers. It was Stewartia.
  • One last interesting sight, technically not on the trails, but at the porch light of the Plant Science Building, was a dobsonfly. The huge mandibles of the male are not for biting, but for charming the ladies.
Dobsonfly - male

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Mourning Dove
  • 2 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • 3 Downy Woodpecker
  • 2 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 2 Eastern Phoebe
  • 5 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 7 Blue Jay
  • 4 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 House Wren
  • 1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • 5 Veery
  • 1 Wood Thrush
  • 7 American Robin
  • 3 Gray Catbird
  • 2 Brown Thrasher
  • 5 Cedar Waxwing
  • 3 Black-throated Green Warbler
  • 1 Prairie Warbler
  • 4 Ovenbird
  • 2 Common Yellowthroat
  • 1 Scarlet Tanager
  • 4 Eastern Towhee
  • 2 Chipping Sparrow
  • 1 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
  • 5 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • 3 Indigo Bunting
  • 4 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 18 Cabbage White
  • 30 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 4 Meadow Fritillary
  • 3 Eastern Comma
  • 1 Red Admiral
  • 35 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 34 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 10 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 1 Least Skipper
  • 2 European Skipper
  • 13 Little Glassywing
Insects
  • 1 Dobsonfly
Plants
  • 1 Canada lily
  • 1 Purple-flowering raspberry
  • 1 Shinleaf
  • 1 Spikenard
  • 1 Wild licorace
Moth
  • 1 Plume moth

Pages

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

Privacy Policy Copyright © 2014