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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 70°F, clear and breezy at 2:00 PM on October 4, 2017.
  • This week's trail report covers the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
  • Cool air and warm sun presented a dilemma: shorts or a flannel shirt.
  • Eastern commas and a painted lady were out today.

The Trails

  • It was quite warm in the front Old Hayfield. Jeans and a t-shirt were a good compromise.
  • Along the edge, a tattered cabbage white probed a tired wild basil.
  • An eastern comma rose from the path and went into the honesuckle.
  • Overhead, a turkey vulture teetered into sight and out again.
  • Back on the ground, fading goldenrod was poking between the leaves of a blackberry species.
  • There was a commotion from the top of the tree line by the spring house.
  • It was only in view long enough to verify it was a red-tailed hawk.
  • On the Sedge Meadow Trail, something flew past my face: a painted lady.
  • It hung around long enough for a little view of the top side.
  • Another blur in front of my face as I left. Was it following me? No, it was another comma.
  • As if to admit it had been found out, it flashed its top side.
  • A usual haunt for them is the stretch of path that drops into the woods...
  • ... and down to the boardwalk through the swamp.
  • Cool shade was creeping across the back Old Hayfield.
  • It's always a surprise to find winterberry thriving in the Old Pasture.
  • It was nice with the white pine behind it.
  • There was no color yet in the view from the bluff over the Wappinger Creek, but it's always nice.
  • Down below, the sun was low across the calm waters.
  • Farther along, in the floodplain there was an occasional disturbance on the surface.
  • It was gangs of trout!
  • Next week: the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
Painted Lady

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 3 Eastern Phoebe
  • 5 Blue Jay
  • 1 American Crow
  • 3 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 2 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • 1 American Robin
  • 3 Gray Catbird
  • 1 American Redstart
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 2 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 6 Cabbage White
  • 1 Clouded Sulphur
  • 3 Orange Sulphur
  • 2 Eastern Comma
  • 1 Painted Lady

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

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