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 83°F, cloudy and breezy at 12:00 PM on September 14, 2016.
  • This week's trail report covers the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
  • Invasive Japanese stilt grass was starting to flower.
  • Some of the fields had been mowed to keep down the woody plants so they stay fields.

The Trails

  • The field between Gifford House and the Carriage House had been mowed.
  • Cabbage whites are fairly easy to pick out - bright white with a black apex and one or two little black dots; the flight is fairly leisurely.
  • Faster flying sulphurs, by this time of season, out numbered the cabbages with clouded and orange being the two common species around here.
  • Clouded sulphur is plain yellow while the orange sulphur has a varying amount of orange.
  • That can be tricky when it is just a blush of orange.
  • To make things interesting, some of the female sulphers occur in a white form; by their flight speed they are easily separated from cabbages but between clouded and orange... oh well.
  • The back Old Hayfield had also been mowed, but the field between that and Gifford was left as refuge for the wildlife.
  • A bird flew across the field to the top of the highest tree - I thought maybe a cedar waxwing, but it was an eastern phoebe.
  • A bird flew overhead in the Old Pasture - I thought maybe a raven, but it was a turkey vulture.
  • The Wappinger Creek looked pretty low from the bluff after the Old Pasture.
  • I wondered how the 2nd generation fungus by the foot bridge was.
  • It had indeed grown since last time.
  • At the little tributary, flower stalks of invasive Japanese stilt grass stood out in the sunlight.
  • That it blooms late helps in spotting it among other grasses. Then the shiny mid rib of the leaf clinches the ID.
  • Stilt like roots also separate it from similar native grasses.
  • The sprawling growth habit can make it confusing where to start pulling.
  • But following one flower stalk down gets you to the mark.
  • bigger clumps can be cleared or thinned with just a garden rake.
  • String trimmers do well in larger areas, but if it is flowering, flame weeding could save having to collect the trimmings to deal with the possibility of seeds - and that is a fun way to weed!
  • The trail through the flood plain had been conventionally trimmed.
  • Along the sides, zigzag goldenrod was doing well this year, but I've seen almost zero wreath goldenrod - a narrow leaved woodland goldenrod.
  • Also along the sides, wood nettle was going to seed. Mind your elbows when going by...
  • Next week: the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
Orange Sulphur

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 5 Blue Jay
  • 3 American Crow
  • 10 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 3 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 House Wren
  • 5 Gray Catbird
  • 4 Eastern Towhee
Butterflies
  • 1 Black Swallowtail
  • 38 Cabbage White
  • 71 Clouded Sulphur
  • 24 Orange Sulphur
  • 1 American Copper
  • 3 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 5 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Eastern Comma
  • 2 Monarch
  • 1 Wild Indigo Duskywing

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 77°F, cloudy and gusty at 1:15 PM on September 7, 2016.
  • The forecast was for clearing in the afternoon as a storm moved across the south of the US. Indeed it did, but later than I'd hoped.
  • This week's trail report covers the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
  • A hint of color was in some leaves, and some birds were in flocks.

The Trails

  • Warm, humid air from the northeast was pushing clouds across the Old Hayfields.
  • A dozen odd looking birds flew into one of the big oaks at Gifford House. The clucking and squeeking sounded like blackbirds, but the head looked yellow and the body was dark and streaked.
  • Those streaks made me think juvinal starling.
  • And a closer look at the long bill made me think starling.
  • Suddenly a flock of several hundred came around from behind and settled in with the others. Yup, that sounds like them.
  • Thistle was was releasing seeds into the wind along the dirt road to the Carriage House.
  • Along the side, Virginia creeper berries were contrasting against reddening leaves.
  • Just a little farther along, pokeweed berries were ripening.
  • At the head of the Scots Pine Alleé, a monarch glided by and stopped on a queen Anne's lace seed head. There has been a number of reports of sightings. Let's see if they get through the coming winter any better than the last several.
  • Our one white goldenrod is silverrod. It's a little obscure.
  • But not as obscure as ragweed, whose pollen has given goldenrod the bad reputation as the hayfever producer.
  • The clouds were still thick as I entered the Old Gravel Pit. Did I even feel a drop of rain?
  • A familiar form was resting on the pine needles: a red-headed inchworm moth... perhaps: there are several similar speceis in the genus.
  • In the Fern Glen, the second showing of black cohosh was blooming.
  • While trying for a closer look to see if it might actually be the later blooming bugbane, I noticed little dark balls of frass, caterpillar poop.
  • Indeed, there was a perfectly camoflaged caterpillar, a spring azure, I'd wager.
  • Back in the fens, beggar ticks were blooming as best they can. The long, dual barbed seeds that stick to one's socks are probably more familiar.
  • Side by side was the more standard looking flower of bur marigold. The seeds are similar.
  • Next week: the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
Juvinal European starling

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 3 Eastern Phoebe
  • 3 Blue Jay
  • 2 American Crow
  • 3 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 200 European Starling
  • 9 Field Sparrow
  • 1 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 13 Cabbage White
  • 15 Clouded Sulphur
  • 4 Orange Sulphur
  • 2 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Monarch
Caterpillars
  • 1 Spring Azure
Moth
  • 1 Red-headed inchworm moth

Pages

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

Privacy Policy Copyright © 2016