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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, cloudy, calm, and humid at 1:00 PM on July 12, 2017.
  • This week's trail report covers the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
  • In spite of it being a gray day, it was warm and butterflies were out and about.
  • New butterflies included question mark, mulberry wing and black dash.

The Trails

  • It was a cloudy but steamy July day in the Gifford hayfields.
  • The warmth was good enough to bring out plenty of skippers to study, like a female dun skipper.
  • The warm background color and bright yellow "airplane" make the mulberry wing easy. The low, slow, fluttery flight helps confirm the ID.
  • Similar to the female dun is the female northern broken-dash but the spots are bigger and there is a touch of orange along the edge of the wing near the base.
  • The male broken-dash has much more orange above but shares with the female the thick, pale hindwing spot band below.
  • An easy moth was a relief: the dogbane tiger moth.
  • All kinds of insects cause galls. The goldenrod ball gall is from the larva of the Goldenrod Gall Fly.
  • It looked a little big for a comma; indeed it was a question mark.
  • Common wood-nymphs were in constant motion today. One finally perched along the Sedge Meadow Trail.
  • Orange and electric blue help ID the Virginia ctneucha in the back Old Hayfield.
  • A constant "Chip!" in the weeds of the back Old Hayfield was from a common yellowthroat.
  • I always wonder if the bench gets much use.
  • Today a common whitetail was using it.
  • In the back, the Canada lily was hiding under the honeysuckle berries.
  • Dogbane beetles were out in the dogbane.
  • The elusive coral hairstreak made a special appearance on milkweed.
  • Just one more less common skipper today was the black dash.
  • Northern pearly-eyes were hanging out on big trees on the Wappinger Creek Trail.
  • Invasive Japanese spiraea was blooming.
  • Finally a female Gypsy moth - they don't fly well, but the dark brown males have been flying around for a week or two.
  • Next week: the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
Canada Lily

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 3 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 2 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 3 Blue Jay
  • 2 American Crow
  • 1 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Wood Thrush
  • 3 American Robin
  • 3 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 2 Common Yellowthroat
  • 1 Scarlet Tanager
  • 3 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Field Sparrow
  • 2 Song Sparrow
  • 1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • 2 Indigo Bunting
  • 3 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 13 Cabbage White
  • 1 Coral Hairstreak
  • 49 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Question Mark
  • 1 Eastern Comma
  • 1 Red Admiral
  • 4 Northern Pearly-eye
  • 1 Appalachian Brown
  • 10 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 22 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 1 Monarch
  • 28 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 25 Northern Broken-Dash
  • 1 Little Glassywing
  • 2 Mulberry Wing
  • 2 Black Dash
  • 6 Dun Skipper
Moth
  • 1 Dogbane Tiger Moth
  • 1 Gypsy Moth
  • 1 Virginia Ctenucha

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 80°F, partly cloudy and calm at 1:30 PM on July 5, 2017.
  • This week's trail report covers the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
  • New butterflies included coral hairstreak, common wood-nymph and dun skipper.
  • Many small obscure moths were under foot on the trails.

The Trails

  • Along the road side of Gifford House parking, common milkweed was blooming well.
  • Off the end of the parking lot, invasive crown vetch was at its peak.
  • Behind the Carriage House, black raspberries were ripening - looks like a good year for them.
  • In spite of having been mowed earlier this season, the patch of spreading dogbane was blooming.
  • It was very popular with great spangled fritillaries.
  • Silver-spotted skippers were probably in equal numbers.
  • How did a moth that big get into the brochure box in the Old Gravel Pit?
  • Oh, it came in as a caterpillar and pupated; and now the adult hatched.
  • It was the eastern tent caterpillar moth.
  • Wild basil was blooming along the road to the Fern Glen.
  • A wrapped up goldenrod suggested a caterpillar was within.
  • But no, it was a big spider or at least its babies.
  • In the limestone cobble, the comical twinleaf pods now looked like they were loosing their teeth.
  • Fruit of the maple-leaved viburnum was forming.
  • Purple-flowering raspberry seemed very late to bloom, but a later check said maybe a week.
  • Back in the fen, arrow arum was blooming with its jack-in-the-pulpit-like flower.
  • Round-leaved sundew was back again - some years it seems completely absent.
  • A surprise was an Abbot's sphinx caterpillar in an elderberry - it was actually on Virginai creeper that was winding through the elderberry.
  • A closer examination of the elderberry itself revealed fruit forming.
  • A native loosestrife, swamp candles was blooming.
  • Up above, poison sumac berries were forming.
  • Down below, large cranberry was flowering.
  • On the way back out of the 'Glen, a caterpillar had balled up leaflets of a fern.
  • Out on the creek side of the Cary Pines Trail, little moths were scattering with each step. They've been on every trail today. Maybe by next week I'll have an ID.
  • Next week: the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
Abbot's Sphinx

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 3 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 1 Blue Jay
  • 1 American Crow
  • 6 Tree Swallow
  • 1 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 House Wren
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 2 Veery
  • 1 American Robin
  • 1 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Pine Warbler
  • 1 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 2 Field Sparrow
  • 1 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 2 Cabbage White
  • 11 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Red Admiral
  • 3 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 3 Silver-spotted Skipper
Caterpillars
  • 1 Abbot's sphinx
Plants
  • 1 Arrow arum
  • 1 Crown vetch
  • 1 Japanese spiraea
  • 1 Large cranberry
  • 1 Purple-flowering raspberry
  • 1 Swamp candles
  • 1 Wild basil

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