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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 68°F, mostly cloudy, and breezy at 2:00 PM on September 7, 2017.
  • This week's trail report covers the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
  • Wednesday's several inches of rain delayed this walk until today.
  • Some fields have been mowed.

The Trails

  • Birds were active at Gifford House parking lot with young eastern bluebirds going back and forth between the drive and kiosk and trees.
  • It took a while to notice that the front Old Hayfield had been mowed...
  • ...then, that hints of Fall had crept in too.
  • At the head of the Sedge Meadow Trail, a stink bug played hide and seek on the leaves of a white ash.
  • Around the corner, goldenrods, unsupported, were leaning towards the middle of the path.
  • They were another center of activity, this time for bees and other insects.
  • At the top of the hill, American goldfinch were working between the junipers and the tall weeds.
  • The back Old Hayfield was left unmowed as refuge.
  • Several spiders had webs among the wild bergamot and goldenrods.
  • In the Old Pasture, coral fungus was errupting along the side of the path.
  • Towards creek end of the trail, rose hips were forming on that non-multiflora rose.
  • Almost into the woods was a cluster of puffballs - will they survive the mowers?
  • The view from the bluff promised a full Wappinger Creek.
  • Along the descending trail, wreath goldenrod, another "easy" woodland goldenrod, was starting to bloom.
  • Just below, our only white goldenrod, silverrod was beginning to bloom, too.
  • Around the "Appendix" was a familiar shelf fungus.
  • A field of tiny mushrooms spread before me.
  • What appeared to be a darker version of the previous shelf fungus was on a mossy log.
  • Not much farther along was now what seemed to be a lighter version.
  • Next week: the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
Spider

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 1 Belted Kingfisher
  • 3 Eastern Phoebe
  • 5 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 1 Blue Jay
  • 1 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 3 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 6 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Scarlet Tanager
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 4 Chipping Sparrow
  • 8 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 14 Cabbage White
  • 2 Clouded Sulphur
  • 8 Orange Sulphur
  • 6 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 2 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Monarch
  • 16 Silver-spotted Skipper
Plants
  • 1 Silverrod
  • 1 Wreath goldenrod

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 72°F, partly cloudy, and calm at 3:00 PM on August 23, 2017.
  • This week's trail report covers the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
  • Late season caterpillars have been showing up, e.g., hickory tussock moth caterpillar.
  • And butterflies have been slowing down.

The Trails

  • It was beautiful with cool air and warm sun as I looked back towards the Old Hayfield at Gifford House.
  • A cool afternoon made for few butterflies in the Little Bluestem Meadow.
  • That late version of black cohosh was at the Fern Glen entrance.
  • Differences in the flower compared to the earlier are hard to pick out without a lens.
  • Along the pond, bottle gentian was blooming - maybe. That's as far as it gets.
  • Groundnut, that enthusiastic vine between the kiosk and pond, was blooming today.
  • Back by the bridge, sneezeweed was blooming too.
  • Several least skippers were interacting and perching on jewelweed in the sun.
  • Towering above them, NY ironweed was doing well.
  • These blossoms can be attractive to butterflies, but not right then...
  • At the back of the pond, sweet pepperbush was blooming - I thought it did already... I guess not.
  • Back off the fen boardwalk, bittersweet nightshade berries were just beyond ripe.
  • All around, in and out of the wetlands, rough-leaved goldenrod was blooming. The big basal leaves and habitat make this goldenrod easy to ID.
  • Shape, texture and posture of the pods are distinct from common milkweed.
  • Purple-leaved willow herb doesn't look like much.
  • Closer examination reveals a tiny pink - turning to white - flower with its base looking like a long pod.
  • Around the corner, turtlehead was doing well.
  • Near the Shrub Swamp plaque, was what looked like a young giant puffball.
  • No, it was a big mushroom.
  • It was a quiet walk to the "Appendix", where a hemlock looper moth fluttered by and landed on a hemlock twig.
  • Back at Gifford parking lot I remembered to check last week's monarch chrysalis - I didn't expect much more.
  • Getting ready to leave, I noticed I had a hitchhiker: a snowberry clearwing caterpillar. I found a honeysuckle bush for it and was gone.
  • Next week: the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
Snowberry Clearwing

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 2 Eastern Phoebe
  • 2 Blue Jay
  • 5 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 American Robin
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
Butterflies
  • 1 Cabbage White
  • 4 Clouded Sulphur
  • 2 Orange Sulphur
  • 2 Least Skipper
Caterpillars
  • 1 Snowberry clearwing
Plants
  • 1 Bottle gentian
  • 1 Groundnut
  • 1 Sweet pepperbush
Moth
  • 1 Hemlock looper moth

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