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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 73°F, mostly clear and calm at 3:30 PM on September 25, 2013.
  • STILL warm sun and cool, dry air. But it did get a bit warm out in the open fields...
  • Fall colors were looking up now.
  • Still a couple katydids calling; peepers holding in there too.

The Trails

  • A large maple spanworm moth was not hiding well on a door frame at Gifford House.
  • Racing across the sill below was a yellow bear, relative of the woolly bear.
  • An interesting grass was at the entrance to the front Old Hayfield.
  • Purple flowers were at the tops of tall stalks.
  • At the base, it appeared to be a well mannered clumping type of grass.
  • Along the side of the field was some nice color happening.
  • It was deep red Virginia creeper against the dark green cherry leaves.
  • The little, bitter-sweet cherries (I tried one...) contrasted nicely against the red, too.
  • At the back of the field, back lit Virginia creeper almost hurt the eye, as it hung glowing in the black walnut.
  • The Sedge Meadow boardwalk was really collecting leaves now.
  • Color was in and around the edge of the back Old Hayfield.
  • It was dogbane giving the yellow out in the middle.
  • It is always a wonder that seeds fit in the skinny pods.
  • At the back of the field, black walnut bark's texture was enhanced against a background of golden sugar maple.
  • Burning bush all along the edge was in various states of color change.
  • Finally, a different goldenrod gall: this long, oval one from a moth.
  • A garden spider with a shield bug made me think about introducing them to my vegetable garden, where bugs made a mess of the tomatoes.
  • Something landed heavily in the goldenrod next to me: a praying mantis.
  • I manoeuvred for a better position to see and found it worked for both of us.
  • Returning to the Sedge Meadow Trail, I noticed a sawfly larva curled up under a leaf. A tiny spider was there too, but always went to the other side of the leaf when I tried to get a better look.
  • I sat a while at the bench in the Old Pasture hoping for, but finding none of the usual American coppers. I continued into the woods above the Wappinger Creek.
  • A favorite view of the path in afternoon light was before me.
  • I stepped back to check the "four season view" of the creek before continuing on.
  • Lower down the hill was another favorite view right from the path.
  • The Cary Pines Trail is usually quiet and doesn't get featured much here. How does one photograph quiet?
  • The mood of quiet is replaced by one of mystery when brightness streams down through an absence of trees and the sound of distant rushing water comes up from the edge of nothing.
  • Just a touch of giddiness creeps in as the trail narrows to skim along a crest, the water louder and nearer, but still unseen below.
  • In a moment it is quiet and serene again, a passing sun beam illuminating the new color in a young beech.
  • The parking lot side of the Fern Glen deserved some attention. The American hazel had become proper shrubs over the several years since their planting.
  • Catkins, the male flowers, were already formed and would bloom in the Spring.
  • The red on the other side was azalea, its leaf buds also already waiting for Spring.
  • Just beyond was another shrub, a winterberry, but one with orange rather than red berries.
  • Back in the 'Glen's shrub swamp, the more usual winterberry was becoming a pale, ghostly whitish yellow in leaf.
  • I'd smelled witch hazel along the Wappinger Creek Trail, but here it was in the Glen blooming in my face.
  • Overhead in a honeysuckle vine was a banded tussock moth caterpillar.
  • Along the boardwalk in the fen, swamp milkweed pods stood erect, one just beginning to open.
  • The bench at the limestone cobble beckoned, but I continued on my way out.
  • As the path entered the woods again, I was surprised by a woolly bear. It was the first I'd seen on the trails today. Elsewhere lately, I've had to mind my every step.
  • Emerging into the Little Bluestem Meadow from the Old Gravel Pit, I was faced with another favorite view of Gifford House.
  • To the right, the far edge of the meadow reached around and out of sight.
  • The path behind me had come out under glowing maples.
  • The Scotch Pine Alleé soon stretched out before me.
  • Again Virginia creeper added amazing accents of red, but more amazing was the bird activity in the tops of the last pines.
  • The trill of several ruby-crowned kinglets had first drawn my attention above. Chickadees, yellow-rumped and palm warblers, and a downy woodpecker were with them all together in a dizzying flock.
  • Finally getting to the parking lot, I had to turn around to the sound of bluebirds and put up the binoculars one more time above the setting sun. It was just in time as the downy plunged into their midst. Ah, but it was a yellow-bellied sapsucker!
  • And way above all the tree top activity was one lone sillouette of a different shape and a different wing beat: a single monarch heading south.
  • I sighed "good luck" and headed north.
Large maple spanworm moth
Yellow bear
A grass
A grass
A grass
Fall color starting
Virginia creeper in cherry
Cherries against Virginia creeper
Virginia creeper in black walnut
Sedge Meadow boardwalk
Color in the back Old Hayfield
Yellow leaves of dogbane
Dogbane pods
Black walnut against sugar maple
Burning bush
Goldenrod moth gall
Garden spider with shield bug
Praying mantis
Praying mantis
Sawfly larva
Wappinger Creek Trail
"Four season view" of the Wappinger Creek
Wappinger Creek
Quiet on the Cary Pines Trail
Close to the edge on the Cary Pines Trail
The ridge along the Cary Pines Trail
Young beech's first color
American hazel
American hazel catkins
Azalea
Next spring's azalea buds
Orange version of winterberry
"Regular" winterberry
Witch hazel
Banded tussock moth caterpillar
Swamp milkweed pods
Bench by the limestone cobble
Woolly bear
Little Bluestem Meadow and...
... Gifford House
Little Bluestem Meadow
Maples over the trail
Scotch Pine Alleé
Virginia creeper in the Scotch Pine Alleé
Yellow-bellied sapsucker
Monarch south bound

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • 2 Downy Woodpecker
  • 2 Eastern Phoebe
  • 9 Blue Jay
  • 13 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 4 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 3 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • 6 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Gray Catbird
  • 7 Cedar Waxwing
  • 2 Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • 2 Palm Warbler
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 2 White-throated Sparrow
  • 4 Northern Cardinal
  • 1 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 7 Cabbage White
  • 6 Clouded Sulphur
  • 6 Orange Sulphur
  • 1 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 6 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Monarch
Caterpillars
  • 1 Banded tussock moth
  • 1 Wooly bear
  • 1 Yellow bear
Plants
  • 1 Witch hazel
Moth
  • 1 Large maple spanworm moth

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 65°F and clear and calm at 2:30 PM on September 25, 2013.
  • Warm sun and cool, dry air again. A nice stretch of this weather we've been having.
  • Fall colors were beginning to show.
  • Mosquitoes... two?
  • Katydids and peepers were still calling, but there were very few butterflies.

The Trails

  • Sugar maples at the Carriage House were beginning to turn, but more brown than the bright yellow we look forward to.
  • At the beginning of the Scotch Pine Alleé, optimistic cabbage whites were planning a family so late in the season.
  • Towards the end, poison ivy and Virginia creeper were turning red.
  • At the back door of the Fern Glen, moody ferns were lurking in the deep shade.
  • Tucked behind the pond, staghorn sumac was flaming red.
  • Leatherwood was getting yellow in brighter locations, but I liked better the mottled look of those in the shade.
  • One doesn't think of ferns when it comes to autumn color, but cinnamon fern in the fen was making a noteable effort.
  • Our one basswood had apparently been host to some leafrollers, but at this point the rolled leaves were untennanted.
  • All around the pond, spicebush was turning gold. A nice small tree throughout the year.
  • On the Cary Pines trail, coral fungus was coming up. With all the rain this year I would have expected more mushrooms.
  • In the Sedge Meadow, asters were abundant.
  • At the opening to the back Old Hayfield, several hickory tussock moth caterpillars were out in the open.
  • The burning bush along the edge of that field was beginning to turn.
  • On my way out through the front Old Hayfield, I had to snap the common, but striking wasp mimic, the locust borer beetle on goldenrod.
Sugar maple at the Carriage House
Cabbage whites mating
Poison ivy
Virginia creeper
Ferns in deep shade
Staghorn sumac
Leatherwood
Cinnamon fern
Rolled basswood leaves
Spicebush
Coral fungus
Asters in the Sedge Meadow
Hickory tussock moth caterpillars
Burning bush
Locust borer beetle

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 2 Barred Owl
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 4 Eastern Phoebe
  • 7 Blue Jay
  • 2 American Crow
  • 9 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 4 Tufted Titmouse
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 House Wren
  • 1 American Robin
  • 1 Gray Catbird
  • 3 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 4 Field Sparrow
  • 2 White-throated Sparrow
  • 1 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 6 Cabbage White
  • 4 Clouded Sulphur
  • 7 Orange Sulphur
  • 2 Pearl Crescent2 Hickory tussock moth
Caterpillars
  • 2 Hickory tussock moth
Fungus
  • 1 Coral fungus

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