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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 73°F, cloudy and windy at 1:15 PM on September 20, 2017.
  • This week's trail report covers the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
  • There were a lot of small but interesting things today.
  • Caterpillars were among them.

The Trails

  • The front Old Hayfiled looked bleak today.
  • But in the back, black walnuts were dropping from the trees.
  • A handsome cranefly was hanging out by that one nut.
  • It was the big hickory tussock moth caterpillar that I noticed first. It had eaten most of its leaf.
  • On another leaf, a stonefly was patrolling.
  • A few branches away were the shriveled remains of another caterpillar.
  • Orange tumbled to the ground and disappeared: an eastern comma.
  • It would open to try to catch some of the feeble sun.
  • Dogbane leaves were turning bright yellow.
  • One of those psychedelic candy-striped leafhoppers was not hiding well.
  • On the Sedge Meadow Trail, a large fall webworm was on the edge of the recently trimmed path.
  • A dogwood sawfly larva was just past it.
  • I expected more leaves down on the boardwalk.
  • Little asters were going strong in the Sedge Meadow proper.
  • In the back Old Hayfield, one of the net-winged beetles was having a rough time negotiating a plant stalk.
  • Indeed, it took several attempts to just fly away.
  • In the back of the field, invasive burning bush had ramped up from single leaves to branches of color.
  • It was not a good place for a leaf-footed bug to try to hide.
  • Spicebush leaves were turning bright yellow.
  • It was no problem for silver-spotted skippers to hide in the little remaining wild bergamot.
  • Likewise, an orange sulphur had but to remain still to be nearly invisible.
  • Forage looper moths could blend in with dead leaves, too.
  • On the Wappinger Creek Trail, the exuvia of a cicada still clung to a hemlock along the bluff over the creek.
  • At the bottom of the hill, leaves on the path were more as I had expected.
  • On the bank above the creek was a nice example of wreath goldenrod.
  • Just that little splash of color from the burning bush made the view down the creek special.
  • Along the banks, Japanese stilt grass could be found in large patches.
  • This invasive is easily identified by the shiny mid rib of the leaf.
  • As a late bloomer, its tall flower stalks make it easy to spot among other grasses that have already finished.
  • Following a stalk down to the stilt like roots lets one pull up the whole plant vs. one stalk.
  • It's a satisfying pull and an area can be cleared much more quickly that would be thought.
  • At this stage, with seeds, plants should not be left lying but destroyed.
  • Next week: the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
A Net-winged Beetle

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 8 Blue Jay
  • 1 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 5 Tufted Titmouse
  • 5 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Carolina Wren
  • 1 House Wren
  • 4 American Robin
  • 5 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
Butterflies
  • 4 Cabbage White
  • 1 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 Orange Sulphur
  • 1 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 2 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Eastern Comma
  • 1 Silver-spotted Skipper
Insects
  • 1 Candy-striped leafhopper
  • 1 Dogwood sawfly
  • 1 Net-winged beetle
Plants
  • 1 Japanese stilt grass
Moth
  • 1 Forage Looper Moth

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 75°F, calm, and mostly clear at 2:00 PM on September 13, 2017.
  • This week's trail report covers the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
  • It was a quiet day for butterflies and birds both.
  • Caterpillars were on the move.

The Trails

  • It was a beautiful late summer afternoon on the way to the Carriage House behind Gifford House.
  • Dark red leaves in the shrubs were calling attention to the blue-black berries of Virginia creeper.
  • Just a little farther along was an empty nest of perhaps fall webworm.
  • Along the Scots Pine Allée, a banded tussock moth caterpillar was climbing one of the pines.
  • Out in the Little Bluestem Meadow white fluff was rising and drifting in the air.
  • A closer look ruled out milkweed.
  • Thistle was the next thought but that didn't seem right either... maybe a lettuce?
  • No doubt about silverrod. There's always a patch at the end of the pines.
  • Something flew by that wasn't a wasp: an American copper.
  • There was a blue glow around the body, seemingly from dense hairs. Interesting...
  • Around the corner milkweed tussock moth caterpillars could be found on a number of milkweeds.
  • A scan of the meadow back towards Gifford House turned up little more than a few cabbage whites and orange sulphurs, but it's always a favorite view.
  • In the Fern Glen, a woolly bear was eating swamp milkweed.
  • In the back of the 'Glen, spikenard berries were ripening.
  • Even burried in the wetland, Jack-in-the-pulpit was hard to miss.
  • Back above the deck, the usual colony of whorled aster was in bloom.
  • Closer to the deck, tall white lettuce was flowering.
  • It's a strange little flower that the lettuces have.
  • Ah, there was a whole Jack-in-the-pulpit, leaves and all still intact.
  • Speckled alder was in the shrub swamp and already looking forward to spring.
  • Its female cones...
  • and male catkins were formed and ready for win... I won't say it.
  • Next week: the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
American Copper

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 5 Blue Jay
  • 6 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 4 American Robin
  • 1 Ovenbird
Butterflies
  • 3 Cabbage White
  • 1 Clouded Sulphur
  • 2 Orange Sulphur
  • 1 American Copper
Caterpillars
  • 1 Banded Tussock Moth
  • 1 Milkweed tussock moth
  • 1 Woolly bear
Plants
  • 1 Tall white lettuce
  • 1 Whorled aster

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