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 55°F and partly cloudy with light breezes at 12:00 PM on April 9, 2014.
  • It's actually been starting to feel like Spring.
  • Eastern commas were out in numbers today.
  • Pine warbler was singing in the Fern Glen and elsewhere.
  • A first flower was seen... well, after skunk cabbage...

The Trails

  • Starting in the Fern Glen today, I found spring beauty budding up by the main kiosk.
  • I was delighted to have pointed out to me sharp-lobed hepatica just starting to bloom.
  • The wild pubescence of the young stems is as attractive as the blossom.
  • The leaves... well, I like them too. This is clearly sharp-lobed rather than round-lobed.
  • At the back of the pond, the mystery willow had catkins popping out.
  • On the Cary Pines Trail, eastern commas would erupt from sunny patchs on the trail, lunge towards us, then drop back into the leaves and disappear.
  • The air was cool and a young garter snake was cold and sluggish enough to allow some portraits.
  • Another long awaited sign of spring, trout-lily leaves were coming up along the Wappinger Creek Trail.
  • Regular visitors to the trails will recognize the big old American sycamore at the water's edge.
  • The view of the roots is probably more familiar.
  • An interesting sight in the Old Pasture was a maple clinging to its seeds.
  • The remains of a ring-necked pheasant were in the back Old Hayfield.
  • Feathers must be like snow flakes: no two alike.
  • A look at a bird's foot does much for the argument that birds are related to dinosaurs.
  • The magnolia behind the Carriage House didn't look that much more advanced than the week before.
  • The bottom of the Old Gravel Pit was surprisingly full of water. I suppose it did rain some the day before.
  • Back tracking to the Deer Exclosure trail, we found two different club mosses growing together.
  • One more surprise was lurking around the bend: a tree across the detour trail!
  • It was nice to see some real signs of Spring today.
Spring beauty
Sharp-lobed hepatica
Sharp-lobed hepatica
Sharp-lobed hepatica
Mystery willow
Mystery willow catkins
Eastern comma
Eastern comma
Trout-lily
American sycamore
American sycamore
Maple
Ring-necked pheasant feathers
Ring-necked pheasant feathers
Ring-necked pheasant feathers
Ring-necked pheasant foot
Magnolia
Bottom of the Old Gravel Pit
Club moss
Club moss
Tree on the Detour!

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 2 Eastern Phoebe
  • 4 Tree Swallow
  • 8 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 3 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • 2 Pine Warbler
  • 20 Brown-headed Cowbird
Butterflies
  • 6 Eastern Comma
Herp
  • 1 Garter Snake
Plants
  • 1 Sharp-lobed hepatica

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 55°F and partly cloudy with light breezes at 3:00 PM on April 2, 2014.
  • With this past winter's extensive snow and ice lingering on the trails, opening of the grounds has been delayed from April 1 until this coming Saturday, April 5.
  • This is the first report of this long awaited season.
  • What better way to start than with a butterfly - a mourning cloak?

The Trails

  • Snow banks were still lingering at the edge of Gifford House parking lot.
  • A slight fuzziness in the branches behind the Carriage House raised my hopes.
  • Yes, there was life stirring in the magnolia blossoms!
  • I promised myself I would look up their condition at this time in 2012 - that ridiculously early spring. There was no mention... the blossoms had already peaked the week before.
  • Though winter was long with a lot of snow, there was not much damage along the trails. A few old dead trees were leaning a little more than last season.
  • Shady spots in the woods still held on to patches of snow and ice.
  • The bottom of the Old Gravel Pit had only a few inches of water.
  • The Fern Glen pond was active with backswimmers and water striders on the surface.
  • At the back of the pond, marsh marigold was just unfurling its leaves.
  • Skunk cabbage nearby was flowering and pushing up its leaf rolls.
  • Motion on the opposite shore caught my eye: a mourning cloak coming in to bask! That made Spring official in my book.
  • The newt I'd seen was not to be found again, but there was a fat pollywog lazing in the sun.
  • And at the usual spot near shore, the usual painted turtle was ignoring the usual guy with the camera.
  • At the Acid Rain kiosk, a pretty large branch was down. Actually, it was more like half the tree. This was the most dramatic winter damage on the trails.
  • From there straight to the Wappinger Creek is the area I like to call the "Appendix". Trail marker 10 should remove any doubt. Half a dozen mallards were preening there today.
  • A little farther upstream, a pair of common mergansers almost slipped by unnoticed.
  • The low, late day sun added a little something to my favorite view from the bluff above the creek.
  • Two weeks ago, the hill at the Sedge Meadow Trail boardwalk was still under half a foot of snow.
  • The sound of red-winged blackbirds was all around, but when I zoomed in on tree full of them, they turned out to be brown-headed cowbirds.
  • Some birds are known to be more difficult to locate by their call than others, but ventriloquism?
Snow banks
Magnolia
Magnolia buds
Old dead cedar
Ice in the shade
Bottom of the Old Gravel Pit
Backswimmer
Water strider
Marsh marigold
Skunk cabbage
Mourning cloak
Pollywog
Painted turtle
Big fallen branch
Mallards
Common mergansers
View from the bluff over Wappinger Creek
Sedge Meadow Trail boardwalk
Brown-headed cowbirds

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Wood Duck
  • 6 Mallard
  • 2 Common Merganser
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 7 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 American Crow
  • 20 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 3 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 3 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 4 American Robin
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 3 Dark-eyed Junco
  • 2 Northern Cardinal
  • 10 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 50 Brown-headed Cowbird
  • 2 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 1 Mourning Cloak

Pages

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

Privacy Policy Copyright © 2014