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 84°F, mostly clear and breezy at 1:00 PM on September 27, 2017.
  • This week's trail report covers the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
  • I had the company of a visitor from Albuquerque today.
  • Painted ladies have been out in numbers the last week or so; one was here today.

The Trails

  • The unseasonal heat was no stranger to a New Mexican, but the humidity made for a brief view across the Old Hayfield.
  • Along the Scots Pine Allée, poison ivy was a pretty yellow.
  • A couple steps beyond, Virginia creeper was a rich red.
  • In the Meadow itself, little bluestem and goldenrods were glowing in the afternoon sun.
  • One thicker stalk stood out: it was a praying mantis.
  • It's always a little unnerving they way they turn their head to look at you.
  • With one last look over our own shoulders towards Gifford House, we dove into the shade of the Old Gravel Pit.
  • Coming out to the road to the Fern Glen, we made a little detour up hill to examine a new find: a small tree, Hercules' club.
  • Young plants in the surrounding woods have the same divided leaf...
  • ...and the daunting spines.
  • But this was the first flower to be seen and clinch the ID.
  • Along the road heading down to the Fern Glen, the usual late blooming, blue flowered aster was out.
  • Interestingly, they were much more blue than in the photo.
  • In the lawn in front of the pond was what must have been a very fast growing mushroom. It's a high traffic area.
  • Ostrich ferns hanging from the rocks at the pond's edge added to the tropical feel of the weather.
  • On one rock, a frog and our visitor eyed each other.
  • The ridge running straight back from the eye identified it as an green frog.
  • There were actually two more sitting in the mud below.
  • Leaves were collecting on the still clear water.
  • A red-spotted newt was lazing in the sun in open water.
  • Along the path behind the pond, maple-leaved viburnum posed as if for a field guide illustration.
  • Off the boardwalk in the fen, poison sumac made an image worth remembering.
  • In the thicket around the corner, winterberry was full of fruit.
  • On the way out of the 'Glen, Indian cucumber root leaves were blushing to advertise its fruit.
  • Next week: the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
Praying Mantis

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 8 Blue Jay
  • 1 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 5 Tufted Titmouse
  • 5 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Carolina Wren
  • 1 House Wren
  • 4 American Robin
  • 5 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
Butterflies
  • 3 Cabbage White
  • 2 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 Orange Sulphur
  • 1 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Painted Lady
  • 1 Monarch
Insects
  • 1 Praying mantis
Plants
  • 1 Hercules' club

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 73°F, cloudy and windy at 1:15 PM on September 20, 2017.
  • This week's trail report covers the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
  • There were a lot of small but interesting things today.
  • Caterpillars were among them.

The Trails

  • The front Old Hayfiled looked bleak today.
  • But in the back, black walnuts were dropping from the trees.
  • A handsome cranefly was hanging out by that one nut.
  • It was the big hickory tussock moth caterpillar that I noticed first. It had eaten most of its leaf.
  • On another leaf, a stonefly was patrolling.
  • A few branches away were the shriveled remains of another caterpillar.
  • Orange tumbled to the ground and disappeared: an eastern comma.
  • It would open to try to catch some of the feeble sun.
  • Dogbane leaves were turning bright yellow.
  • One of those psychedelic candy-striped leafhoppers was not hiding well.
  • On the Sedge Meadow Trail, a large fall webworm was on the edge of the recently trimmed path.
  • A dogwood sawfly larva was just past it.
  • I expected more leaves down on the boardwalk.
  • Little asters were going strong in the Sedge Meadow proper.
  • In the back Old Hayfield, one of the net-winged beetles was having a rough time negotiating a plant stalk.
  • Indeed, it took several attempts to just fly away.
  • In the back of the field, invasive burning bush had ramped up from single leaves to branches of color.
  • It was not a good place for a leaf-footed bug to try to hide.
  • Spicebush leaves were turning bright yellow.
  • It was no problem for silver-spotted skippers to hide in the little remaining wild bergamot.
  • Likewise, an orange sulphur had but to remain still to be nearly invisible.
  • Forage looper moths could blend in with dead leaves, too.
  • On the Wappinger Creek Trail, the exuvia of a cicada still clung to a hemlock along the bluff over the creek.
  • At the bottom of the hill, leaves on the path were more as I had expected.
  • On the bank above the creek was a nice example of wreath goldenrod.
  • Just that little splash of color from the burning bush made the view down the creek special.
  • Along the banks, Japanese stilt grass could be found in large patches.
  • This invasive is easily identified by the shiny mid rib of the leaf.
  • As a late bloomer, its tall flower stalks make it easy to spot among other grasses that have already finished.
  • Following a stalk down to the stilt like roots lets one pull up the whole plant vs. one stalk.
  • It's a satisfying pull and an area can be cleared much more quickly that would be thought.
  • At this stage, with seeds, plants should not be left lying but destroyed.
  • Next week: the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
A Net-winged Beetle

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 8 Blue Jay
  • 1 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 5 Tufted Titmouse
  • 5 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Carolina Wren
  • 1 House Wren
  • 4 American Robin
  • 5 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
Butterflies
  • 4 Cabbage White
  • 1 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 Orange Sulphur
  • 1 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 2 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Eastern Comma
  • 1 Silver-spotted Skipper
Insects
  • 1 Candy-striped leafhopper
  • 1 Dogwood sawfly
  • 1 Net-winged beetle
Plants
  • 1 Japanese stilt grass
Moth
  • 1 Forage Looper Moth

Pages

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

Privacy Policy Copyright © 2017