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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 83°F and partly cloudy with light breezes at 10:00 AM on July 2, 2014.
  • The threat of afternoon thunder storms was realized, but after today's walk.
  • Common wood-nymph was finally making an appearance.
  • Surprisingly absent today was banded hairstreak. An afternoon last weekend in Red Hook totaled 40.
  • Little glassy-wing was back in numbers with just a couple northern broken-dash thrown in.

The Trails

  • Common milkweed was coming into full bloom behind Gifford House.
  • Milkweeds famously support monarchs as their caterpillars' sole food, but many other creatures feed on the leaves or nectar... or each other, such as this jumping spider that had captured a daddy longlegs.
  • From a tree top over Gifford Parking lot, an indigo bunting gave its song of paired phrases.
  • Below, at the entrance to the first Old Hayfield, Canada thistle had established a colony to the dismay of the gardener but to the delight of the American goldfinch for which the seed was originally intended.
  • In the back Old Hayfield, one of the plume moths dangled from a leaf.
  • The common wood-nymph was finally back. End of May is usually the peak of the first brood - there was no sign of them at all.
  • A great spangled fritillary looked in trouble with poorly formed wings. When they hatch, butterflies and moths need room for their wings to expand and dry and harden. This doesn't look fatal, rather this individual will probably fly with a slight limp.
  • Ducking into the shady path to the creek at the back of the field, I was reintroduced to the colony of Canada lilies. These are not garden escapees, but are actually native to our area.
  • This was the second time today that I would see a rusty brown bird with a long tail. But this time it landed on a bare branch where I could see it; it was the brown thrasher I suspected.
  • Enjoying the cool shade of the Wappinger Creek Trail, I thought I saw a flash of color on the other shore of the creek.
  • A scan of the binoculars turned up an anglewing.
  • A long lens with image stabilization clinched it as an eastern comma.
  • By the Watershed kiosk, shinleaf was blooming.
  • The constant racket from above the head of the Cary Pines trail was from a very active ovenbird.
  • I seemed to have its complete attention, so I presumed a nest was not far.
  • In the Fern Glen, spikenard was just beginning to blossom.
  • Back in the acid cobble, purple-flowering raspberry was making a poor show this year.
  • Next to it, maple-leaved viburnum was making fruit already.
  • At the deck by the Creek, I checked the recently intalled "birder-fly feeder" for butterflies, other insects or birds coming for them.
  • It was empty, but something was sitting on the arm of a chair.
  • I'm convinced, should humans ever set foot on Mars, they will find proof that indeed there had been life on this now dead planet.
  • In the Old Gravel Pit, wild licorace was blooming with absurdly tiny flowers.
  • Behind the Carriage House, another strange sight was what appeared to be a sycamore sporting flowers. It was Stewartia.
  • One last interesting sight, technically not on the trails, but at the porch light of the Plant Science Building, was a dobsonfly. The huge mandibles of the male are not for biting, but for charming the ladies.
Dobsonfly - male

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Mourning Dove
  • 2 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • 3 Downy Woodpecker
  • 2 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 2 Eastern Phoebe
  • 5 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 7 Blue Jay
  • 4 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 House Wren
  • 1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • 5 Veery
  • 1 Wood Thrush
  • 7 American Robin
  • 3 Gray Catbird
  • 2 Brown Thrasher
  • 5 Cedar Waxwing
  • 3 Black-throated Green Warbler
  • 1 Prairie Warbler
  • 4 Ovenbird
  • 2 Common Yellowthroat
  • 1 Scarlet Tanager
  • 4 Eastern Towhee
  • 2 Chipping Sparrow
  • 1 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
  • 5 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • 3 Indigo Bunting
  • 4 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 18 Cabbage White
  • 30 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 4 Meadow Fritillary
  • 3 Eastern Comma
  • 1 Red Admiral
  • 35 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 34 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 10 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 1 Least Skipper
  • 2 European Skipper
  • 13 Little Glassywing
Insects
  • 1 Dobsonfly
Plants
  • 1 Canada lily
  • 1 Purple-flowering raspberry
  • 1 Shinleaf
  • 1 Spikenard
  • 1 Wild licorace
Moth
  • 1 Plume moth

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 78°F and cloudy with light breezes at 2:30 PM on June 25, 2014.
  • Weather was coming in and skies were variable the whole time.
  • Cedar waxwings could be heard above on every trail.
  • American lady was a nice sight.
  • A chigger bite this evening was not nice in any way. They are here.

The Trails

  • The threat of showers was never realized this afternoon - I had my rain gear.
  • Heading into the Old Gravel Pit, one could smell the elderberry before seeing it.
  • The red low battery icon blinked as I zoomed in on a flower head.
  • My brow furrowed as I probed the empty pocket for the fresh battery that went into it 30 minutes ago.
  • Partridgeberry was blooming in a number of places.
  • In the Fern Glen, an American lady was a subject that justified suspending battery austerity mode.
  • Swamp candles were blooming off the board walk in the fen.
  • The small flowers were worth a closer look.
  • On the Wappinger Creek Trail, an ebony jewelwing perched in the sun allowing a rare photo.
  • Zooming in shows what predators these harmless appearing dragonfly relatives are. All those leg bristles filter prey out of the air as they fly.
  • Farther along the trail was the most well marked yellow slant-line (moth) that I'd ever seen.
  • Movement along the Sedge Meadow Trail halted me: an Appalachian brown. The wear & tear on the edges of the wings, especially the shadowed right wings, suggested that I had indeed caught a glimpse of one last week.
  • Out in the back Old Hayfield, black-eyed Susans were blooming and being attended by bees and other critters.
  • In the front Old Hayfield, European skippers were still out in numbers, some on the newly blooming rough-fruited cinquefoil.
  • The alien Deptford pink could be found hiding in the tall grass.
  • Back at Gifford parking lot, I found there was still some charge on the battery and squandered two photos of butter and eggs including a close up.
  • With abandon, I sought out the so-common-you-forget-about-it birdfoot trefoil.
  • The only other thing I could find was common St. Johnswort.
  • Well, except for that spare battery; it was on the floor of the car.
Ebony jewelwing

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Barred Owl
  • 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 2 Yellow-throated Vireo
  • 1 Warbling Vireo
  • 2 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 2 Blue Jay
  • 1 Tree Swallow
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 House Wren
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 3 Veery
  • 2 Wood Thrush
  • 3 American Robin
  • 2 Gray Catbird
  • 2 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Blue-winged Warbler
  • 1 Pine Warbler
  • 1 Prairie Warbler
  • 2 Ovenbird
  • 2 Scarlet Tanager
  • 3 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 1 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
  • 1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • 1 Brown-headed Cowbird
  • 1 Baltimore Oriole
  • 2 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 1 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 1 Spring Azure
  • 8 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 7 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Red-spotted Purple
  • 4 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 24 Common Ringlet
  • 3 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 13 European Skipper
  • 1 Peck's Skipper
Plants
  • 1 Bittersweet nightshade
  • 1 Common milkweed
  • 1 Crown vetch
  • 1 Daisy fleabane
  • 1 Poison sumac
  • 1 Tall meadow-rue
Moth
  • 1 Snowberry Clearwing

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