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

  • This week's trail report covers the whole trail system.
  • It was 56°F, cloudy and calm at 9:45 AM on October 21, 2015, warming up to 62 by noon.
  • A lot of leaves were on the ground now, but it's not over yet.
  • Reminder: the grounds will be closing for the season at the end of this month.

The Trails

  • The front Old Hayfield had lost much of the color around the edge.
  • If the leaves were going, some of the birds were still around: an eastern bluebird was still hanging around the bluebird boxes.
  • In fact, there was a whole family of maybe 5.
  • Among the accompanying birds were a few yellow-rumped warblers.
  • A surprise was butter and eggs still blooming.
  • Along the Sedge Meadow Trail was a more sobering sight: goldenrods going to seed... it was indeed getting late in the season.
  • The back Old Hayfield had also dropped leaves along its edge.
  • Sun peeked out for a moment in the Old Pasture.
  • It was feeling warm enough to enjoy the cool of the wooded Wappinger Creek Trail while taking in the view from the bluff.
  • My favorite view was just a few steps farther.
  • At the bottom of the hill, the scent of witch hazel was quite strong. This time I finally spotted the source. It was just hanging over the water.
  • Way in the distance downstream I could barely make out the call of a raven. I would later find two in the Fern Glen.
  • At the Appendix, a small but brilliant maple was reflected in the calm water. I remembered it doing the same last year.
  • I got low down on the road to the Fern Glen to admire the fallen leaves.
  • Up to this point I'd been hearing chipmunks giving the alarm call at every bend on every path. This one appeared to be charging me! I was saved only by a passing car. No, we all got away alive.
  • At the edge of the Fern Glen pond, bull frogs were quietly waiting for their prey to pass too close.
  • I carefull skirted them, completed my inspection of the 'Glen and headed out through the Old Gravel Pit, to exit into the Little Bluestem Meadow.
  • The view of the Gifford House held me for a while. And I finally spotted a butterfly.
  • Only two weekends left before the trails close...
Yellow-rumped warbler

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 2 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 13 Blue Jay
  • 1 American Crow
  • 2 Common Raven
  • 6 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 2 Tufted Titmouse
  • 3 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 5 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Hermit Thrush
  • 6 American Robin
  • 1 European Starling
  • 4 Cedar Waxwing
  • 4 Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 10 Dark-eyed Junco
  • 1 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 2 Clouded Sulphur

Notes and Changes since last report

  • This week's trail report covers the whole trail system.
  • It was 58°F, cloudy and calm at 2:30 PM on October 14, 2015, but the sky would be constantly changing.
  • Foliage colors were really nice, but katydids and peepers were still calling.
  • Note that the grounds will be closing for the season at the end of this month.

The Trails

  • Birds chipping right across the street from Gifford House parking lot turned out to be yellow-rumped warblers .
  • All the common milkweed was letting loose their seeds.
  • Gifford House itself was looking a little like Halloween with the moody sky behind it.
  • Behind the Carriage House, a red squirrel scolded me as I passed by.
  • The view across the Little Bluestem Meadow was worthy of pause.
  • And the field on the other side wasn't too shabby either.
  • For comparison, I tried to duplicate one or two (three, actually) of the shots I took last week.
  • On a smaller scale, poison ivy and Virginia creeper were bright against the heavy texture of tree stump bark.
  • At the end of the Scots Pine Alleé was a riot of color where young maples and fading ferns mixed.
  • Along the edge of the Little Bluestem Meadow was a great angle on the viburnum, nannyberry. Only the deep red of the leaf was obscured by the sky's reflection.
  • Over my shoulder, the sun was coming out on my route through the Scots Pine Alleé.
  • Farther back, blue skies were now over Gifford House.
  • But as I looked back from the bend into the Old Gravel Pit section, clouds were already inching their way back over the sky.
  • A mass of white snakeroot seed heads was striking against the leaves.
  • Even more striking was a mass of still blooming flowers of the same.
  • The sun came out again for a moment to light up the path before me.
  • A young striped maple stood out against the dull leaf litter.
  • An areal display of mushrooms presented the opportunity for countless unusual portraits.
  • It is prudent to look to the left and the right when crossing a road, here the road to the Fern Glen.
  • Leaves on the pond reminded me of the early works of M. C. Escher.
  • The view from the bridge had to be investigated.
  • A tuft of maidenhair spleenwort caught my attention.
  • It seemed to be enjoying the view upstream.
  • So, what's downstream?
  • In the Fern Glen proper, witch hazel was out more than last week, but surprisingly it didn't smell as strong.
  • On the way out of the 'Glen, a bug - perhaps the invasive marmorated stink bug - was hiding in the curl of a leaf.
  • On the Cary Pines Trail, the sun again came through to make the background maples look like leaping flames.
  • The effect was perhaps more convincing from farther back.
  • Close up was just pretty. This was another spot with so much beauty on so many scales.
  • From the Appendix, I ran up the hill to where I may have left my hat. No hat, but another nice view of the Little Bluestem Meadow.
  • By the time I got to the back Old Hayfield, the sun was low enough to graze the bottom of the clouds.
  • Around the side, the bench was inviting but it was much later than I'd expected...
  • I only paused on the Sedge Meadow Trail for just one more photo to compare with last week: I had promised the boardwalk would soon be covered with leaves.
  • Do come for a walk this weekend... oh, and don't worry about the hat, thank you; it was still in the car...
Ferns and Maples

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 3 Eastern Phoebe
  • 7 Blue Jay
  • 4 American Crow
  • 12 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 2 Tufted Titmouse
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Brown Creeper
  • 1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 2 American Robin
  • 1 Gray Catbird
  • 3 Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • 6 White-throated Sparrow
  • 2 American Goldfinch

Pages

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

Privacy Policy Copyright © 2016