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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 60°F, clear and breezy at 1:00 PM on April 20, 2016.
  • Last week had temps near 70°F, but today was cool enough to think about a sweatshirt.
  • More new spring flowers were blooming.
  • Spring azure was abundant and a few eastern pine elfins were on the wing.

The Trails

  • The Old Hayfields didn't look much different from last week - maybe a little greener.
  • On the Wappinger Creek Trail, wood anemone had started blooming.
  • Mixed in was Pennsylvania sedge.
  • In the flood plain section, rosettes of invasive narrow-leaved bitter cress were starting the 2nd half of their life cycle.
  • Toothwort was beginning to bloom in the same area.
  • The downy stem and sets of 3 rather than 2 leaves helps distinguish cut-leaved toothwort from regular toothwort when the leaves aren't as narrow as they "should be".
  • Along the Cary Pines Trail, Canada mayflower was carpeting both sides of the path.
  • Somehow I see them as little green soldiers.
  • Last year's partridge berry was easy to spot amongst them.
  • Here and there a sprig of spotted wintergreen was starting new growth.
  • As the trail came out above the Fern Glen, I wondered when the eastern pine elfin would appear - it would be today... for me. The tattered edges indicated it had been around for a while already.
  • On the way down to the 'Glen proper, I heard the trill of a gray treefrog - first of the season I'd say.
  • In the Roeller bed, along the road, false rue-anemone was just starting to bloom.
  • Below, in the limestone cobble, large-flowered bellwort was getting under way.
  • Early meadow rue was getting started too.
  • Along the edge above the pond, last week's large-flowered trillium was now fully open.
  • At the pond's outlet, marsh marigold was finally blooming.
  • Behind the kiosk, mayapple was coming up like so many parasols.
  • Back in the shrub swamp, shadbush was making a weak show.
  • The individual blossoms looked fine; there just didn't seem to be as many as usual.
  • On the way out of the 'Glen, I paused to examine the Jacob's ladder.
  • It was budding, so maybe blooms next week.
  • On the last leg through the Old Gravel Pit, a cabbage white disappeared as it passed in front of a cherry.
  • Closer inspection revealed that it had stopped to take in some sun on a patch of camoflaging lichen.
  • Then we were both gone.
Eastern Pine Elfin

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 4 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 3 Eastern Phoebe
  • 4 Tree Swallow
  • 4 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • 5 American Robin
  • 4 European Starling
  • 1 Pine Warbler
  • 6 Chipping Sparrow
  • 1 Field Sparrow
  • 3 Song Sparrow
  • 1 Red-winged Blackbird
Butterflies
  • 1 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 7 Cabbage White
  • 3 Eastern Pine Elfin
  • 19 Spring Azure
  • 2 Eastern Comma
Herp
  • Gray treefrog
Plants
  • 1 Cut-leaved toothwort
  • 1 Early meadow-rue
  • 1 False rue-anemone
  • 1 Large-flowered bellwort
  • 1 Marsh marigold
  • 1 Pennsylvania sedge
  • 1 Shad bush
  • 1 Toothwort
  • 1 Wood anemone

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was maybe 55°F, clear and breezy at 2:00 PM on April 13, 2016.
  • The flattened wild flowers had perked up with the departure of snow and rain.
  • Pine warblers could be heard in many places.
  • Even a few butterflies were out today.

The Trails

  • Several Tree swallows were making noise on, around and above the bluebird boxes in the front Old Hayfield behind Gifford House.
  • Pine warblers were calling all through the Old Gravel Pit, but only allowing an occasional glimpse.
  • As the trail approached the Fern Glen, a mourning cloak was casually soaking up the sun.
  • The sunny hillside along the road to the 'Glen was acceptable to an eastern comma or two.
  • Right along the road was my favorite patch of round-lobed hepatica - it had recovered nicely. If you're going to try to bloom this time of year, you've got to be able to cope with a little cold and wet snow.
  • Large-flowered trillium, just above the pond, had remained erect through it all and was starting to open its bloom today.
  • Across the water behind the trillium was a basking painted turtle. Northern watersnake was on a neighboring log, too.
  • Oh good! The Virginia waterleaf was not wiped out last year!
  • On the other hand, Trout-lily was everywhere.
  • toothwort was getting ready to bloom by the main kiosk, among several locations.
  • The path by the kiosk takes one by several stands of leatherwood, just coming into bloom.
  • Its little blossom is worth a closer look.
  • Pine warblers were calling in the Fern Glen too, but the flash of yellow was a palm warbler. OK!
  • I forgot to get a photo of the coltsfoot last week. It doesn't seem so abundant this year.
  • Near the end of today's walk, the Sedge Meadow Trail had a few nice moments when a group of ruby-crowned kinglets worked their way around me.
  • Not a great photo, sorry, but *any* photo of kinglet is an achievement considering how active they are.
  • I could happily call it a day.
Mourning Cloak

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Ring-necked Pheasant
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 2 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 10 Eastern Phoebe
  • 2 Blue Jay
  • 1 Tree Swallow
  • 4 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Brown Creeper
  • 1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 4 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 8 American Robin
  • 4 European Starling
  • 5 Pine Warbler
  • 4 Palm Warbler
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 2 Chipping Sparrow
  • 2 Song Sparrow
  • 2 Dark-eyed Junco
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
  • 1 Brown-headed Cowbird
Butterflies
  • 2 Spring Azure
  • 2 Eastern Comma
  • 1 Mourning Cloak
Plants
  • 1 Carolina spring beauty
  • 1 Large-flowered trillium
  • 1 Leatherwood
  • 1 Trout-lily

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