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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 maybe 55°F, clear and breezy at 2:00 PM on April 13, 2016.
  • The flattened wild flowers had perked up with the departure of snow and rain.
  • Pine warblers could be heard in many places.
  • Even a few butterflies were out today.

The Trails

  • Several Tree swallows were making noise on, around and above the bluebird boxes in the front Old Hayfield behind Gifford House.
  • Pine warblers were calling all through the Old Gravel Pit, but only allowing an occasional glimpse.
  • As the trail approached the Fern Glen, a mourning cloak was casually soaking up the sun.
  • The sunny hillside along the road to the 'Glen was acceptable to an eastern comma or two.
  • Right along the road was my favorite patch of round-lobed hepatica - it had recovered nicely. If you're going to try to bloom this time of year, you've got to be able to cope with a little cold and wet snow.
  • Large-flowered trillium, just above the pond, had remained erect through it all and was starting to open its bloom today.
  • Across the water behind the trillium was a basking painted turtle. Northern watersnake was on a neighboring log, too.
  • Oh good! The Virginia waterleaf was not wiped out last year!
  • On the other hand, Trout-lily was everywhere.
  • toothwort was getting ready to bloom by the main kiosk, among several locations.
  • The path by the kiosk takes one by several stands of leatherwood, just coming into bloom.
  • Its little blossom is worth a closer look.
  • Pine warblers were calling in the Fern Glen too, but the flash of yellow was a palm warbler. OK!
  • I forgot to get a photo of the coltsfoot last week. It doesn't seem so abundant this year.
  • Near the end of today's walk, the Sedge Meadow Trail had a few nice moments when a group of ruby-crowned kinglets worked their way around me.
  • Not a great photo, sorry, but *any* photo of kinglet is an achievement considering how active they are.
  • I could happily call it a day.
Mourning Cloak

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Ring-necked Pheasant
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 2 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 10 Eastern Phoebe
  • 2 Blue Jay
  • 1 Tree Swallow
  • 4 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Brown Creeper
  • 1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 4 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 8 American Robin
  • 4 European Starling
  • 5 Pine Warbler
  • 4 Palm Warbler
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 2 Chipping Sparrow
  • 2 Song Sparrow
  • 2 Dark-eyed Junco
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
  • 1 Brown-headed Cowbird
Butterflies
  • 2 Spring Azure
  • 2 Eastern Comma
  • 1 Mourning Cloak
Plants
  • 1 Carolina spring beauty
  • 1 Large-flowered trillium
  • 1 Leatherwood
  • 1 Trout-lily

Notes and Changes since last report

  • This is the first trail report for 2016 - grounds opened April 1.
  • It was 40°F, cloudy and breezy at 2:00 PM on April 6, 2016.
  • Snow is not unheard of in April, but after the dry winter two days of snow raised eyebrows...
  • ...and flattened a few wild flowers

The Trails

  • Though the snow stopped Monday, cold nights and cool days have allowed the several inches to linger even in the open at the Gifford House.
  • Grass was barely greening in the front Old Hayfield.
  • Honeysuckle bushes were leafing out unbothered by the recent weather.
  • Japanese barberry was not far behind.
  • Can't forget the multiflora rose.
  • Early leaf out is one mechanism that affords invasive plants a double advantage: a head start and shading out of later starting native plants.
  • One favorite native keeping up with the competition was trout lily or dogtooth violet.
  • Ground ivy or Gill-over-the-ground or my favorite: creeping Charlie, is a European import that I've seen used by some of our earliest butterflies.
  • The Sedge Meadow boardwalk was a little slick.
  • A nearby pheasant call convinced me the tracks were too small for turkey.
  • Off to the side skunk cabbage was flowering and unrolling leaves.
  • In the Sedge Meadow itself, tussock sedge was beginning to green.
  • An evergreen clubmoss was growing in a good sized patch in the Old Pasture.
  • In the flood plain of the Wappinger Creek Trail, toothwort was hard to miss.
  • This trooper was ready to flower.
  • Above it, spicebush was flowering.
  • Farther along the trail, I thought yellow violets were trying to bloom - it was lesser celendine.
  • In the Fern Glen, wild ginger was blooming and leafing out.
  • Sharp-lobed hepatica was really drooping.
  • So too was the nearby bloodroot.
  • Dutchman's breeches and corydalis are of course naturally drooping.
  • One little spring beauty had an almost erect posture.
  • Large-flowered trillium and Jacob's ladder were unphased by the lingering snow.
  • I think one mild, sunny day will perk everybody up.
  • Somehow one speck of white in the Old Gravel Pit stood out from the rest.
  • It was a cabbage white.
  • Convinced it was "just resting", I moved it to a sheltered, east facing spot.
  • Soon, the "the barn" was in sight.
  • A bluebird right in front of me brought me to a halt.
  • Just as it was taking off, I noticed another beyond it.
  • Approaching the Carriage House, I noticed the Japanese cornelian cherry starting to bloom.
  • Leaving the Carriage House, I could see brown on the magnolia.
  • Some buds hadn't opened... maybe they survived the cold... we'll see next week.
  • Back at the edge of the parking lot, lilacs were getting ready...
  • ...Next week.
Eastern Bluebird

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Ring-necked Pheasant
  • 4 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 2 Eastern Phoebe
  • 3 Blue Jay
  • 5 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 Eastern Bluebird
Butterflies
  • 1 Cabbage White
Plants
  • 1 Bloodroot
  • 1 Corydalis
  • 1 Dutchman's-breeches
  • 1 Ground ivy
  • 1 Japanese cornelian cherry
  • 1 Lesser celandine
  • 1 Magnolia
  • 1 Sharp-lobed hepatica
  • 1 Skunk cabbage
  • 1 Spicebush
  • 1 Spring-beauty
  • 1 Wild ginger

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