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

  • It was 69°F, partly cloudy and calm at 12:30 PM on September 24, 2014.
  • September has been pretty nice.
  • Fall colors were bold in some of the maples on the way in; here they were just starting.
  • Well, it was the first day of Fall.

The Trails

  • Hints of Fall were creeping into the edge of the front Old Hayfield.
  • I was just focusing on two robber flies on neighboring leaves when they disappeared from the view finder. They reappeared together on one leaf.
  • That last little patch of wild bergamot was still attracting a last great spangled fritillary.
  • Butter-and-eggs was one thing looking fresh. It's common and easily overlooked; I wondered when it had started blooming.
  • I had lunch on the bench in the Old Pasture surrounded by little bluestem.
  • Fields like this were typical childhood haunts.
  • A flash of orange around an oak across the way snapped me out of my reverie.
  • Scanning turned up an eastern comma soaking up the sun in typical head down posture.
  • On the way out, I was surprised to find winterberry in such a dry place - then remembered I shouldn't be: it had surprised me last year.
  • The bluff above the Wappinger Creek was looking very autumnal with leaves all over the ground.
  • In the Fern Glen's limestone cobble, Solomon's seal berries were the size of grapes.
  • Back in the fen, poison sumac berries stood out against the turning leaves.
  • The cinnamon fern behind me was taking on an earthy golden glow.
  • On the way out staghorn sumac was fruiting very differently from the other species.
  • The sap run in the Old Gravel Pit looked abandoned at first, but there were several commas and... the question mark that had eluded me last week.
  • I wondered what the moth action in the evening is like here...
  • Farther along this trail two ovenbirds and I startled each other. We checked each other out but they always managed to disappear just at the wrong moment.
  • The Scotch Pine Alleé is always beautiful, but today the red virginia creeper really added something.
  • I thought I was done til I passed by the magnolia. The big fuzzy buds are one of the first things I watch in the spring, bit I don't know if I'd ever noticed the fruit.
  • Always something new.
Robber flies mating

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 5 Mourning Dove
  • 2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 2 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 5 Eastern Phoebe
  • 9 Blue Jay
  • 13 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 2 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 3 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Brown Creeper
  • 4 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Hermit Thrush
  • 2 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Ovenbird
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 3 Eastern Towhee
  • 4 Chipping Sparrow
  • 2 Northern Cardinal
  • 5 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 4 Cabbage White
  • 3 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 Orange Sulphur
  • 2 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 3 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Question Mark
  • 4 Eastern Comma

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 63°F, partly cloudy and calm at 1:00 PM on September 17, 2014.
  • A beautiful day just the way I like it: cool air, warm sun.
  • Even with the season winding down, there were some interesting butterfly encounters.
  • Another recently arrived invasive plant was getting ready to flower: Japanese stilt grass.

The Trails

  • Northern flickers could be seen as well as heard along the Scotch Pine Alleé.
  • As I walked along looking left, right, up, down, a praying mantis landed in front of me.
  • While checking out the field sparrows, one looked different: it was a pine warbler. In fact there were a number scooting about in the low vegetation.
  • In the Old Gravel Pit, an eastern comma rose from a sunny patch and disappeared only to pop up again around the bend. Hanging upside down in a white pine was unusual for a comma...
  • But it reminded to check the leaky tree from two weeks ago. Indeed, today it had commas, red admirals, and a question mark.
  • The neighboring tree had a better view of a red admiral catching some sun.
  • So intent was I in looking up, I almost missed the several fungi, not to mention mosses and lichens almost under foot.
  • At the top of the Fern Glen, I was dismayed to find Japanese stilt grass. The shiny main vein is The Field Mark, but I had tuned in on the tall flower stalks, just now forming.
  • That orange version of winterberry was beginning to turn across the road from the Glen.
  • There too, next year's azalea buds were getting surrounded by color.
  • Farther along the edge, hazel nut catkins were dangling between chewed up leaves.
  • It looked like Japanese beetles were doing the chewing.
  • That strange swollen thing was the nut. The only thing stranger was a cluster of them.
  • A banded tussock moth caterpillar was starting to feed along the edge of a leaf.
  • At the edge of the pond, one of the spreadwings - a group of damselflies - was spreading its wings in the sun.
  • And near the deck was a great example of wreath goldenrod, that was playing hard-to-get last week.
  • On the way out, the leaves and berries of Indian cucumber root were beginning to contrast with each other.
  • The mowed back Old Hayfield was not promising, but a patch of bare dirt seemed to be a yellow jacket's nest.
  • The traffic in and out of the large hole in the ground clinched it.
  • A little scrap of "honeycomb" on the ground finally registered in my mind and explained the bare dirt and large hole: the nest had been attacked... good thing I wasn't.
  • While all that was going on, a meadow fritillary dropped in front of me to sun itself and a clouded sulphur whizzed by - awful busy for an empty mowed field!
  • Back at the entrance to the Sedge Meadow Trail, clusters of Indian pipe were appearing.
  • And in the front Old Hayfield, the few remaining great spangled fritillaries were finding the few remaining stalks of wild bergamot.
  • I turned for one last view across the field before heading for the parking lot on this perfect day.
Spreadwing (damselfly)

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Cooper's Hawk
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 2 Downy Woodpecker
  • 4 Northern Flicker
  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 9 Blue Jay
  • 16 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 3 Tufted Titmouse
  • 4 Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 4 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 4 Brown Creeper
  • 2 House Wren
  • 1 Hermit Thrush
  • 4 Gray Catbird
  • 2 Cedar Waxwing
  • 4 Palm Warbler
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • 3 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 10 Cabbage White
  • 11 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 Orange Sulphur
  • 3 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Meadow Fritillary
  • 3 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Question Mark
  • 4 Eastern Comma
  • 2 Red Admiral
Caterpillars
  • 1 Banded Tussock Moth
Insects
  • 1 Praying mantis
Plants
  • 1 Indian pipe

Pages

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

Privacy Policy Copyright © 2014