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Trail Reports

Insights on trail conditions and the plants and animals you can expect to encounter throughout the seasons.

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Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 80°F and partly cloudy with light breezes at 1:00 PM on June 29, 2016.
  • This week's trail report covers the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
  • It's been 2 weeks since the last report - new arrivals of species are over that period.

The Trails

  • The action today started right over Gifford House parking lot when a pack of eastern kingbirds and red-winged blackbirds mobbed a red-tailed hawk.
  • Around the edge of the parking lot, common milkweed and Canada thistle were quietly starting to bloom.
  • Movement in the middle of the road to the Carriage House stopped me.
  • There on the hot gravel in the blazing sun was a American green frog.
  • Behind the Carriage House stood Stewartia, the tree with sycamore-like bark and an un-sycamore-like flower.
  • At the back of the Little Bluestem Meadow, the stand of spreading dogbane was doing very well.
  • Near the bottom of the Old Gravel Pit, shinleaf was a surprise.
  • In the Fern Glen, new fruits were forming such as those of bluebead, bellwort, and Soloman's seals - false and true.
  • Tall meadow rue, and lopseed were among the few things starting to bloom.
  • It was apparent that purple-flowering raspberry had been going for a while.
  • All the way in the back of the 'Glen, wild sarsaparilla was producing berries surprisingly larger than its tiny flowers of earlier.
  • In the fen, swamp candles had been going a while already.
  • Swamp milkweed still had quite a way to go.
  • Easy to miss in spite of its name was large cranberry.
  • Near the front of the pond, Turk's cap lily was budding up.
  • Carrion flower had finished flowering and was working on big clusters of berries.
  • Right at the front of the pond, lizard's tail and wild mint were starting.
  • A little patch of mud attracted an eastern tailed-blue for moisture and minerals.
  • Off the edge in the water, broad-leaved arrowhead seemed to be starting up.
  • On the way out of the 'Glen was tiny enchanter's nightshade.
  • There too were spikenard and black cohosh just barely beginning to open.
  • Next week: the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
Common milkweed

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 3 Mourning Dove
  • 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 2 Eastern Phoebe
  • 3 Eastern Kingbird
  • 1 Yellow-throated Vireo
  • 3 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 1 Blue Jay
  • 2 American Crow
  • 1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 Veery
  • 2 American Robin
  • 1 Gray Catbird
  • 2 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Black-throated Green Warbler
  • 1 Pine Warbler
  • 3 Ovenbird
  • 2 Scarlet Tanager
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 3 Chipping Sparrow
  • 1 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 1 Indigo Bunting
  • 4 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 1 House Finch
  • 2 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 9 Cabbage White
  • 1 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 1 Spring Azure
  • 11 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Red Admiral
  • 2 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 1 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 9 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 1 Northern Broken-Dash
Plants
  • 1 Broad-leaved arrowhead
  • 1 Canada thistle
  • 1 Common milkweed
  • 1 Enchanter's nightshade
  • 1 Large cranberry
  • 1 Lizard's-tail
  • 1 Purple-flowering raspberry
  • 1 Shinleaf
  • 1 Spikenard
  • 1 Spreading dogbane
  • 1 Stewartia
  • 1 Swamp candles
  • 1 Tall meadow-rue
  • 1 Wild mint

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 60°F and cloudy with light breezes at 11:00 AM on June 8, 2016. It sprinkled for a good part of the walk.
  • This week's trail report covers the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
  • Great spangled fritillary and European skipper were seen earlier during the week, but not today...

The Trails

  • The front Old Hayfield at Gifford House was frothy white with bedstraw.
  • That's a lot of tiny white flowers.
  • White campion was off to the side here and there.
  • Half way along the field, yarrow was blooming.
  • Right at the edge, birdfoot trefoil was just starting up.
  • Every once in a while, yellow goatsbeard would stand out like a giant dandelion.
  • The giant seed head continued the trend.
  • A frightful sight was black swallowwort in bloom.
  • This viney relative of milkweed is recognized as such by monarchs and they will lay eggs on it, but it is fatal to the caterpillars.
  • The spot, near the junction of the Sedge Meadow and Wappinger Creek Trails, was marked with some green flagging for your perusal... and its eventual removal.
  • Oxeye daisy was out in clumps.
  • Masses of multiflora rose blooms were along the shrubby side of the trail.
  • Privet was thick along there too.
  • Butterflies aren't very active on cool, gray days, but that can work both ways for the butterfly watcher: a little wood-satyr was trying catch some sun sideways and from above.
  • A robber fly was just hanging out on a milkweed leaf.
  • My favorite butterfly magnet, milkweed, was just starting to bud up.
  • In the back of the field, a young bluebird was watching me watching it.
  • At my feet was a tiny vetch that I hadn't noticed before.
  • It's narrow leaves and little blue blossoms suggest slender vetch.
  • Another study in tiny was a chickweed or a stitchwort.
  • A bumblebee was pretty lethargic today too.
  • Tower mustard was standing above everything, but with only tiny flowers at the top.
  • A little spring moth went from spot to spot before settling down long enough for one shot. In the sun, metalic sparkles glitter in the dark margins.
  • The familiar cow vetch bore unfamilar bugs.
  • The view back down the Sedge Meadow Trail was of blooming gray dogwood.
  • Its small blossoms fill the air with a funkiness.
  • In the Sedge Meadow were several heads of Angelica.
  • Indigo buntings seem to sing from high in trees, but often feed low in fields where they "chip" sort of like a cardinal.
  • An Appalachian brown in the back Old Hayfield was a surprise until considering that water runs on 3 of the 4 sides.
  • All the way in the back, ironwood fruit were developing. Did I miss the flower?
  • I think it was a hickory sporting little round galls on some leaves.
  • Keeping distance and moving slowly paid off while following a white-spotted sable moth.
  • A pair of crane flies was well hidden in last year's dogbane pods.
  • I knew the "other rose" would be in the Old Pasture. I forget what, but it's not multiflora.
  • By the watershed kiosk on the Wappinger Creek Trail, shinleaf was getting ready to bloom.
  • Down in the floodplane, nearing the Appendix, invasive narrow-leaved bitter cress pods were swelling with seed. Can't just pull and leave them now; they should be removed.
  • Next time: the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
White-spotted sable moth

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Yellow-billed Cuckoo
  • 2 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Great Crested Flycatcher
  • 1 Yellow-throated Vireo
  • 6 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 1 Tree Swallow
  • 3 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 Eastern Bluebird
  • 5 Veery
  • 3 American Robin
  • 6 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Brown Thrasher
  • 2 European Starling
  • 2 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Blue-winged Warbler
  • 1 Prairie Warbler
  • 1 Black-and-white Warbler
  • 1 Ovenbird
  • 1 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 3 Indigo Bunting
  • 1 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 1 Brown-headed Cowbird
  • 2 Baltimore Oriole
  • 1 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 2 Appalachian Brown
  • 7 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 2 Common Ringlet
Plants
  • 1 Bedstraw
  • 1 Birdfoot trefoil
  • 1 Black swallowwort
  • 1 Chickweed
  • 1 Cow vetch
  • 1 Gray dogwood
  • 1 Multiflora rose
  • 1 Multiflora rose not
  • 1 Ox-eye daisy
  • 1 Privet
  • 1 Slender vetch
  • 1 Tower mustard
  • 1 White campion
  • 1 Yarrow
  • 1 Yellow goat's-beard
Moth
  • 1 Little Spring Moth
  • 1 White-spotted sable moth

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