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Trail Reports

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

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Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 56°F and partly cloudy with light breezes at 1:30 PM on October 23, 2013.
  • Next week, November 1, the grounds close for the season until April 1.
  • This will be the last report of this season.
  • The birding hot spot today was once again the Sedge Meadow Trail.

The Trails

  • It was a beautiful late fall day as I passed by the front Old Hayfield on the way to the Scotch Pine Alleé.
  • It had been dark and overcast early this morning, and would cycle between the two states throughout the day.
  • While admiring the sun lit Little Bluestem Meadow, I was amazed to find a couple clouded sulpurs still flying in the 50 something degree air.
  • It got dark on the way through the Old Gravel Pit. No mosquitos there today...
  • At the top of the Fern Glen, hobblebush buds were ready for winter.
  • Aphids on the buds were a surprise; I looked for more under the leaves.
  • There again a surprise: what appeared to be a winged male mating with a wingless female. I thought only the winged sexes mated and that the wingless were all females that reproduced parthenogentically, i.e., without mating, and viviparously, i.e., not laying eggs but bearing live young. Aphids are interesting and I've got more to learn...
  • Along the Cary Pines Trail, a flurry of chickadees, kinglets (golden-crowned) and creepers (brown) was a challenge to sort out by ear.
  • The Sedge Meadow Trail was again full of robins, yellow-rumped warblers and white-throated sparrows. A couple guest appearances included a pair of female purple finch.
  • Another surprise: how many times had I walked - or stood - by this spot without being um, alerted?
  • That was right about head high. The mowers were certainly low enough, but still the commotion when they went by...
  • It was only by warming the dying battery in my pocket that I could get that last shot. But it was just about the end of the trail, the end of the day, the end of the season.
  • Until the spring...
Front Old Hayfield
Little Bluestem Meadow
Hobblebush
Aphids on hobblebush
Aphids mating on hobblebush
Hornet nest on the Sedge Meadow Trail
Hornet nest on the Sedge Meadow Trail

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Belted Kingfisher
  • 2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 2 Downy Woodpecker
  • 2 Northern Flicker
  • 5 Blue Jay
  • 19 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Brown Creeper
  • 4 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 24 American Robin
  • 13 Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • 6 White-throated Sparrow
  • 2 Northern Cardinal
  • 2 Purple Finch
  • 3 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 1 Clouded Sulphur

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 60°F, overcast and calm at 2:45 PM on October 16, 2013.
  • Leaves had become noticeably more colorful since last week.
  • The birding hot spot today was again the Sedge Meadow Trail.
  • In two weeks, November 1, the grounds close for the season until April 1.

The Trails

  • Except for the temperature, it was looking like late fall in the front Old Hayfield.
  • Something was suddenly fluttering in my face. It wasn't a falling leaf but a rising butterfly - a common ringlet. I didn't expect any butterflies on such a cool a gray day so late in the season.
  • On the other side of the coin, I was surprised to see my first dark-eyed junco of the season.
  • In the Sedge Meadow, just to continue the trend, mayflies were dancing in the air. One took a breather on a rose cane and so allowed a good look.
  • Birds darting in and out from the bushes may have been enjoying them as well. Yellow-rumped and palm warblers, ruby-crowned kinglets, and cedar waxwings were among the species milling about.
  • Although back Old Hayfield itself was bleak, views of burning bush along the edge and maples deeper in were quite nice.
  • Yellow-rumped and palm warblers were in the corner by the Old Pump House and a norther flicker was up high in the back.
  • Gray days seem to bring out the color of foliage better than sunny days. One maple seemed fluorescent.
  • One lone spotted knapweed had been found by a bumble bee. The bee wasn't moving; perhaps it had even settled there the day before and was still waiting for things to warm up.
  • Dogbane pods were beginning to open.
  • At the exit of the field, palm warblers came out into view.
  • And one came pretty close. Wow.
  • Along the lowest part of the Wappinger Creek Trail were some mushrooms growing out of an elm. They were rather distinctive. I remembered them from I think last year, maybe even the same tree.
  • At the Appendix (i.e., around Trail Marker 10) a different mushroom of similar form was on hemlock.
  • Another item recalled from past years was the view from the bench of a particular maple.
  • Colors continued in the Fern Glen.
  • The surface of the pond featured texture and patterns in contrast.
  • One last burst of color as the walk concluded was wild bergamot and asters at the end (or beginning) of the Scotch Pine Alleé.
Common ringlet!
Front Old Hayfield
Dark-eyed junco
Cedar Waxwing
Mayfly
Maple in fall colors
Burning bush
Northern Flicker
Maple in fall colors
Spotted knapweed
Back Old Hayfield
Dogbane pods
Palm warbler
Palm warbler
Mushroom on elm
Mushroom on hemlock
Maple at the "Appendix"
Maple in the Fern Glen
Leaves on the Fern Glen pond
Wild bergamot and asters

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 3 Blue Jay
  • 3 American Crow
  • 4 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Carolina Wren
  • 3 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • 2 American Robin
  • 4 Cedar Waxwing
  • 12 Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • 5 Palm Warbler
  • 2 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Dark-eyed Junco
Butterflies
  • 1 Common Ringlet
Insects
  • 1 Mayfly

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