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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 cool °F, partly cloudy and breezy at 2:00 PM on August 14, 2014.
  • Giant swallowtail made a special guest appearance today.
  • The first monarch on the Trails this season was a welcome sight.
  • Wednesday's weather was cool and cloudy when not raining, so I opted to walk Thursday.

The Trails

  • Goldenrods were taking off in the front Old Hayfield.
  • A shadow passed over as I started the Sedge Meadow Trail - a giant swallowtail. This typically southern species has been showing up for several years in a row now.
  • As the trail becomes enclosed by shrubs, I found myself surrounded by berries: gray dogwood, alien bush honeysuckle and pokeweed.
  • The Gifford Tenant House Barn was visible across more goldenrod and wild bergamot.
  • In the back Old Hayfield, the first monarch finally showed up. It was only the 2nd one I've seen anywhere this year.
  • A sunny patch on the Sedge Meadow Trail slowed my pace...
  • ...an eastern comma came out to investigate my approach, then returned to its perch in the sun.
  • A sunny rock on the Wappinger Creek Trail was attractive to yet another comma.
  • In the flood plane section of the trail, virgin's bower, a wild clematis, was blooming.
  • Out on the Cary Pines Trail, a single Indian pipe seemed to be soaking up the sun at the foot of a hemlock.
  • A hemlock looper was at rest out of the sun - what you might expect from a moth...
  • On the way to the Fern Glen, a dragonfly was making forays from a perch.
  • In the Glen proper, spikenard berries were forming.
  • Some mushrooms were picturesque agains a mossy log.
  • Off the boardwalk throught the fen, climbing hempweed was just beginning to open.
  • Farther along, the horsebalm was further along - it was almost finished blooming.
  • Near the deck over the creek, green-headed coneflower was starting up in earnest.
  • In a number of places, great lobelia was beginning to bloom.
  • Remember the yellow fungus on the pine stump by the welcome sign? It was not yellow any more.
  • Even from a distance, the elderberry at the front of the pond could be seen laden with berries.
  • Turning around, I saw that the groundnut was blooming. I didn't remember it starting to bud.
  • Towards the back of the pond, the sneezeweed was moving right along.
  • In a number of places, boneset was starting to bloom.
  • The fused leaves of boneset were thought to be an indication of the ability to heal broken bones, according to the Doctrine of Signatures - an old, sort of astrological form of botany.
  • I checked the near by mud patch, but I approached too quickly.
  • With the cool air and long shadows on it, I didn't expect the mud to harbor any butterflies, but indeed there had been an eastern tailed-blue... which was even more surprising considering there was frog, too.
  • In the Old Gravel Pit, it finally registered that white snakeroot was in bloom. Things so common can so easily be overlooked.
  • Emerging into the Little Bluestem Meadow, I never grow tired of the view across to the Gifford House.
  • I don't think it's just because I can almost see my car in the parking lot.
Eastern tailed-blue

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 2 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 4 Blue Jay
  • 1 American Crow
  • 3 Tree Swallow
  • 7 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Carolina Wren
  • 1 Veery
  • 1 Wood Thrush
  • 6 American Robin
  • 10 Gray Catbird
  • 6 Cedar Waxwing
  • 4 Pine Warbler
  • 3 Eastern Towhee
  • 5 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • 5 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 4 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 4 Spicebush Swallowtail
  • 16 Cabbage White
  • 8 Clouded Sulphur
  • 2 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 13 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 20 Pearl Crescent
  • 4 Eastern Comma
  • 1 Red Admiral
  • 19 Common Ringlet
  • 14 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 1 Monarch
  • 14 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 1 Peck's Skipper
  • 1 Tawny-edged Skipper
  • 1 Zabulon Skipper
Plants
  • 1 Great lobelia
  • 1 Groundnut
  • 1 Indian pipe
  • 1 Virgin's bower
  • 1 White snakeroot
Moth
  • 1 Hemlock Looper
  • 2 Hummingbird Clearwing

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 81°F, partly cloudy and breezy at 2:00 PM on August 6, 2014.
  • Meadow fritillaries were again out in numbers.
  • Spicebush swallowtail's 2nd brood was coming out.
  • An afternoon thunder storm only released a few drops, but then it was dark and cool enough to shut down butterfly activity in the Old Hayfields.

The Trails

  • A meadow fritillary again! I wondered why it was so interested in an old milkweed leaf. Oh, it was the mating pair below that had its attention.
  • The first of two spicebush swallowtails today careened across the Little Bluestem Meadow. Their 2nd brood was coming out.
  • Off the deck in the fen, lurked a single blossom of square-stemmed monkey flower. I couldn't find it last week.
  • Way in the back of the Glen, spikenard was blooming.
  • In the fen's outlet by the deck at the creek, green-headed coneflower was performing its slow motion bloom.
  • By the pond, boneset was still thinking about it.
  • Towards the back of the pond, sneezeweed was actively working on it.
  • As I left the 'Glen, the sky had grown dark and rumblings were coming from the south. In my mind I scanned the route ahead for shelter...
  • When the sky brightened after a mere sprinkle, I abandoned the watershed kiosk, continued the Wappinger Creek Trail into the Old Pasture, where sun was actually coming through the open canopy.
  • At the other end, a watchful eastern comma shared its perch in the sun with a wasp.
  • In the Sedge Meadow, the controversial purple loosestrife was blooming.
  • I admired goldenrods in crescendo behind the wild bergamot in the back Old Hayfield, .
  • Here in the open, skies to the north were fair, but to the south still threatening... and moving north.
  • I really wanted to squirt east towards the parking lot, but suddenly remembered last week's rattlesnake plantain... in the opposite direction back on the Wappinger Creek Trail.
  • A handy shortcut got me there and back in short order with a photo of open blossoms.
  • Noisy clouds were overhead again, the butterflies had disappeared, the only thing between me and my car was a very unconcerned field sparrow.
  • It may have been a dumb young one or a wise old one. I wasn't going to press my luck and try to guess.
Green-headed coneflower

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Mourning Dove
  • 5 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Belted Kingfisher
  • 3 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 5 Blue Jay
  • 1 Common Raven
  • 13 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Brown Creeper
  • 1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Wood Thrush
  • 6 American Robin
  • 3 Gray Catbird
  • 8 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 2 Eastern Towhee
  • 3 Field Sparrow
  • 2 Indigo Bunting
  • 6 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 2 Spicebush Swallowtail
  • 3 Cabbage White
  • 1 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 6 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 5 Meadow Fritillary
  • 25 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Eastern Comma
  • 1 Red-spotted Purple
  • 16 Common Ringlet
  • 10 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 1 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 1 Peck's Skipper
  • 3 Dun Skipper
Plants
  • 1 Green-headed coneflower
  • 1 Purple loosestrife
  • 1 Sneezeweed
  • 1 Spikenard
  • 1 Square-stemmed monkey-flower
  • 1 Wood nettle
Moth
  • 4 Hummingbird Clearwing
  • 1 Snowberry Clearwing

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