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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 80something°F and clear with light breezes at 1:00 PM on May 25, 2016.
  • This week's trail report covers the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
  • Black swallowtail and American lady were among the returning butterflies today.

The Trails

  • I hate when it jumps from the 60s to the 80s, but it's good for butterflies - the first black swallowtail was cruising Gifford House parking lot.
  • And the first American lady was on honeysuckle in the front Old Hayfield.
  • Also in that field was young common milkweed - my favorite nectar source for butterflies and the most important host for monarch caterpillars.
  • In the back of the field near the old Spring House, the viburnum, nannyberry, was blooming.
  • Just in the Sedge Meadow Trail, burning bush was blooming. It came to this country for its fall foliage...
  • A day-flying moth, the white-striped black, offered a rare photo op.
  • In the back Old Hayfield, one-flowered cancer-root was easy to miss.
  • The first dogbane tiger moth was hanging out on dogbane.
  • The fungus by the Watershed kiosk on the Wappinger Creek Trail had gotten bigger.
  • Right by the kiosk, shinleaf was budding up.
  • The garden escapee, Star-of-Bethlehem, was along the flood plane section of the trail.
  • One of my mystery plants was nearby: a whorl of 3 divided leaves and clusters of tiny, anise-smelling flowers.
  • A plant easily remembered after one encounter even without flowers is wood nettle.
  • More common and equally memorable is stinging nettle.
  • Tall meadow rue was just ahead with its flat spread of leaves and growing stalk.
  • Narrow-leaved bitter cress was beginnning to flower.
  • This invasive can be separated from its similar relatives by the auricles (I like "moustache") as the leaf joins the stem.
  • Next week: the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
American lady

Sightings

Birds
  • 3 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 Great Crested Flycatcher
  • 1 Yellow-throated Vireo
  • 2 Warbling Vireo
  • 5 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 5 Tree Swallow
  • 3 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 2 Veery
  • 1 Wood Thrush
  • 1 American Robin
  • 5 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Blue-winged Warbler
  • 1 Prairie Warbler
  • 1 Black-and-white Warbler
  • 4 Ovenbird
  • 1 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 2 Common Yellowthroat
  • 1 Scarlet Tanager
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 2 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • 1 Indigo Bunting
  • 2 Brown-headed Cowbird
  • 2 Baltimore Oriole
Butterflies
  • 1 Black Swallowtail
  • 1 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 3 Cabbage White
  • 1 Clouded Sulphur
  • 2 Spring Azure
  • 25 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 American Lady
  • 1 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 4 Common Ringlet
Plants
  • 1 Burning bush
  • 1 Mystery plant
  • 1 Nannyberry
  • 1 Narrow-leaved bittercress
  • 1 One-flowered cancer-root
  • 1 Star-of-Bethlehem
Moth
  • 1 Dogbane Tiger Moth

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was partly cloudy with light breezes at 12:00 PM on May 18, 2016; the air was cool, the sun warm; it made it to 72°F.
  • This week's trail report covers the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
  • I had some company on the trails this week.
  • Common ringlet and little wood-satyr were the returning butterflies today.

The Trails

  • Tree swallows were zooming over Gifford House parking lot and perching in trees in the Old Hayfield.
  • In a quiet corner, pink lady's-slipper was about to bloom.
  • Throughout the woods, starflower had begun to bloom.
  • At the edge of the Fern Glen pond, sweetflag was doing its strange thing.
  • In the limestone cobble, false Solomon's-seal was about to flower.
  • Surprise, the clintonia or bluebead was blooming this year.
  • The large-flowered bellwort and twinleaf were done with that and already forming seed pods.
  • Alumroot looks like giant bishop's cap.
  • Its leaves hark to its domestic relative, coral bells.
  • Previously pink large-flowered trillium was positively red now.
  • Near the acid cobble, maple-leaved viburnum was forming flower buds.
  • Red baneberry was done with all that and on its way to forming fruit.
  • In the back of the 'Glen, our well watched pink lady's-slipper was about to move to the next stage.
  • Patience trumped pursuit when a scarlet tanager came into view and remained for a minute or two.
  • Another subject of study, yellow lady's-slipper was so close to blooming. Come tomorrow.
  • Not far away stonecrop, a sedum had been on the verge for a couple weeks it seemed.
  • One of our tiniest buttercups, hooked crowfoot was doing its best.
  • Climbing the shrubs in the fen was our native, limber honeysuckle.
  • A pair of beetles attracted my attention to a plant I always walk by.
  • I noticed it was flowering - small but enough look up: smooth gooseberry.
  • Choke cherry was near the kiosk.
  • Wild geranium was lurking here and there underneath.
  • Invasive dame's rocket ranges from white to purple and is distinguished from native phlox by its four rather than 5 petals.
  • The mayapple colony seemed to have been waiting for the warmer weather.
  • Right at the edge of the pond, golden Alexanders was very close to blooming.
  • Around the side, it would be a while for carrion flower.
  • Almost missed little Herb-robert in the cobble.
  • Along the road on the way out was common barberry.
  • It's pretty, not as common as Japanese barberry, but exotic as well.
  • Next week: the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
Scarlet Tanager

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 Warbling Vireo
  • 1 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 1 American Crow
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 House Wren
  • 3 Veery
  • 2 American Robin
  • 2 Gray Catbird
  • 1 European Starling
  • 2 Yellow Warbler
  • 1 Black-throated Green Warbler
  • 2 Pine Warbler
  • 1 Black-and-white Warbler
  • 1 American Redstart
  • 3 Ovenbird
  • 3 Scarlet Tanager
  • 3 Chipping Sparrow
  • 1 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 1 Indigo Bunting
  • 3 Brown-headed Cowbird
  • 1 Baltimore Oriole
  • 2 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 3 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 3 Spring Azure
  • 2 Pearl Crescent
  • 2 Common Ringlet
Plants
  • 1 Alumroot
  • 1 Choke cherry
  • 1 Clintonia
  • 1 Common barberry
  • 1 Dame's rocket
  • 1 False Solomon's-seal
  • 1 Herb-Robert
  • 1 Hooked crowfoot
  • 1 Limber honeysuckle
  • 1 Pink lady's-slipper
  • 1 Smooth gooseberry
  • 1 Starflower
  • 1 Sweetflag
  • 1 Wild geranium

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