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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 60°F, overcast and calm at 2:45 PM on October 16, 2013.
  • Leaves had become noticeably more colorful since last week.
  • The birding hot spot today was again the Sedge Meadow Trail.
  • In two weeks, November 1, the grounds close for the season until April 1.

The Trails

  • Except for the temperature, it was looking like late fall in the front Old Hayfield.
  • Something was suddenly fluttering in my face. It wasn't a falling leaf but a rising butterfly - a common ringlet. I didn't expect any butterflies on such a cool a gray day so late in the season.
  • On the other side of the coin, I was surprised to see my first dark-eyed junco of the season.
  • In the Sedge Meadow, just to continue the trend, mayflies were dancing in the air. One took a breather on a rose cane and so allowed a good look.
  • Birds darting in and out from the bushes may have been enjoying them as well. Yellow-rumped and palm warblers, ruby-crowned kinglets, and cedar waxwings were among the species milling about.
  • Although back Old Hayfield itself was bleak, views of burning bush along the edge and maples deeper in were quite nice.
  • Yellow-rumped and palm warblers were in the corner by the Old Pump House and a norther flicker was up high in the back.
  • Gray days seem to bring out the color of foliage better than sunny days. One maple seemed fluorescent.
  • One lone spotted knapweed had been found by a bumble bee. The bee wasn't moving; perhaps it had even settled there the day before and was still waiting for things to warm up.
  • Dogbane pods were beginning to open.
  • At the exit of the field, palm warblers came out into view.
  • And one came pretty close. Wow.
  • Along the lowest part of the Wappinger Creek Trail were some mushrooms growing out of an elm. They were rather distinctive. I remembered them from I think last year, maybe even the same tree.
  • At the Appendix (i.e., around Trail Marker 10) a different mushroom of similar form was on hemlock.
  • Another item recalled from past years was the view from the bench of a particular maple.
  • Colors continued in the Fern Glen.
  • The surface of the pond featured texture and patterns in contrast.
  • One last burst of color as the walk concluded was wild bergamot and asters at the end (or beginning) of the Scotch Pine Alleé.
Common ringlet!
Front Old Hayfield
Dark-eyed junco
Cedar Waxwing
Mayfly
Maple in fall colors
Burning bush
Northern Flicker
Maple in fall colors
Spotted knapweed
Back Old Hayfield
Dogbane pods
Palm warbler
Palm warbler
Mushroom on elm
Mushroom on hemlock
Maple at the "Appendix"
Maple in the Fern Glen
Leaves on the Fern Glen pond
Wild bergamot and asters

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 3 Blue Jay
  • 3 American Crow
  • 4 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Carolina Wren
  • 3 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • 2 American Robin
  • 4 Cedar Waxwing
  • 12 Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • 5 Palm Warbler
  • 2 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Dark-eyed Junco
Butterflies
  • 1 Common Ringlet
Insects
  • 1 Mayfly

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 60°F, hazy and calm at 2:30 PM on October 9, 2013.
  • That's cooler than it has been, but it was just fine for October.
  • The past couple days of rain stripped some trees of their leaves.
  • Birding hot spot was the Sedge Meadow Trail today.

The Trails

  • A tiny moth let me a close up near the Carriage House on the Scotch Pine Alleé.
  • The third and last butterfly I would see today was a cabbage white trying to make the most of the feeble sun.
  • I didn't recall ever seeing wild bergamot turn such a great color. It usually gets mildew and that's it.
  • Around the corner, pokeweed appeared to have been heavily browsed by deer.
  • Along the edge of the Little Bluestem Meadow, nanny berry was devoid of leaves.
  • But its berries were still hanging in clusters.
  • The Fern Glen pond was still and dark.
  • Leaves on dark water always make me think of the art of M. C. Escher.
  • The 'Glen always has a number of little sassafrass seedlings. But where is there a big one?
  • In the fen, poison sumac was looking sharp.
  • Nearby, green alder cones were dangling along the boardwalk.
  • In the background, that wasn't lichens, that was woolly aphids.
  • These strange things fly.
  • Stranger still, they are food for our only carnivorous caterpillar - that of the harvester.
  • Just before the Wappinger Creek trail heads steeply uphill, there is a nice view that I hadn't really focused on before.
  • I sat a little while in the bench in the Old Pasture. Nothing was happening, I continued.
  • A nice fairy ring was a couple years old off the Sedge Meadow Trail.
  • It could be the same mushroom as the ring that was in the Glen.
  • In the back of the back Old Hayfiled, burning bush was showing why it was brought to this country.
  • Behind it, our native spicebush was a gaudy yellow.
  • Just past them, a few field sparrows were unusually still and not too hidden.
  • I looked in the wet part of the Sedge Meadow because I always do, and found it quite busy with birds. Yellow-rumped warblers were chasing around. A good size woodpecker landed amongst them - a yellow-bellied sapsucker! Ruby-crowned kinglets joined the fray while robins were content to sit and eat cedar berries.
  • You never know what you're going to find... or where.
Unidentified moth
Cabbage white
Wild bergamot fall colors
Pokeweed browsed by deer
Nannyberry devoid of leaves
Nannyberry berries
Fern Glen pond
Fern Glen pond
Sassafras
Poison sumac
Alder cones
Woolly aphids
Woolly aphids
Wappinger Creek
Fairy ring
Fairy ring
Burning bush
Field sparrow

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • 2 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 4 Blue Jay
  • 3 American Crow
  • 9 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Brown Creeper
  • 1 Carolina Wren
  • 3 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 8 American Robin
  • 1 Gray Catbird
  • 4 Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • 3 Field Sparrow
  • 3 Northern Cardinal
Butterflies
  • 3 Cabbage White
Insects
  • 1 Wooly aphid

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