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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 61°F and calm with light rain at 1:15 PM on June 11, 2014.
  • Rain would come and go, never too hard.
  • Quiet foot steps, scents in the air, a slightly different look to everything. A little rain makes things interesting.
  • European skipper was the only new butterfly today. That there were any was a little surprising.

The Trails

  • Rainy days present some interesting opportunities on the trails. An iris at Gifford House was fun to photo.
  • Off to the side of the front Old Hayfield was a flowering tree that I had called fringe tree before.
  • I'm now sure it's not, but by the pea-like blossoms I think it may be yellow wood.
  • A hen turkey errupted from the tall grass, hissing like a huge cat. She seemed divided between charging me and rounding up her chicks. I pretended to ignore her and moved slowly away.
  • Another surprise, not quite as breath taking, was the first European skipper of the season.
  • One of the hawkweeds was blooming abundantly.
  • Along the Sedge Meadow Trail, gray dogwood was flowering.
  • Now I realized it was probably the bedstraw I was smelling - it was filling the fields.
  • The invasive multiflora rose was starting to add its beautiful fragrance to the air.
  • Yarrow was quietly coming into its own.
  • In the back Old Hayfield, the first dogbane tiger moth was out.
  • So familiar is the ox-eye daisy, I almost missed its debut. Maybe I did in fact.
  • I couldn't miss a red eft where trail exits the Old Pasture above the Wappinger Creek... as long as I was looking down.
  • Farther along, witch's butter was very similar in color.
  • At the Appendix (about Trail Marker 10) a gaceful grass stood out against the water.
  • All the way out at the Fern Glen pond, on the river birch at the edge was the work of the velvet erineum gall mite. Not your typical gall.
  • At the water's edge was a white sport of blue flag.
  • This year the carrion flower was leaning away from the path.
  • I was never sure if it was its direction of growth or the scent of its flower that led to its demise last year.
  • Always intriguing, pitcher plant was blooming in the poor fen.
  • Near the acid cobble, maple-leaved viburnum was beginning to bloom. Elsewhere on the trails, in more light, it was further along.
  • Deep in the shrub swamp, water speedwell was opening its tiny blossoms.
  • Limber honeysuckle was waisting no time forming berries.
  • Oh, the azalea gall - I had "promised" that last week. The blossoms were just about gone, but the galls were still there.
  • Royal fern was sprawling over the railing along the road by the stone bridge.
  • Spreading dogbane was beginning to bloom in the little Bluestem Meadow.
  • The garden escapee, foxglove was blooming near the Carriage House.
  • I usually find something inside of a blossom...
  • ...but not until I get home.
Iris

Sightings

Birds
  • 5 Wild Turkey
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 3 Chimney Swift
  • 2 Downy Woodpecker
  • 4 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 2 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 Great Crested Flycatcher
  • 1 Yellow-throated Vireo
  • 2 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 2 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 House Wren
  • 1 Winter Wren
  • 1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • 4 Eastern Bluebird
  • 5 Veery
  • 1 Wood Thrush
  • 10 American Robin
  • 2 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Blue-winged Warbler
  • 1 Pine Warbler
  • 2 Prairie Warbler
  • 6 Ovenbird
  • 1 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 1 Scarlet Tanager
  • 2 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 2 Field Sparrow
  • 2 Song Sparrow
  • 2 Northern Cardinal
  • 1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • 1 Indigo Bunting
  • 3 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 2 Pearl Crescent
  • 3 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 5 Common Ringlet
  • 1 European Skipper
Plants
  • 1 Bedstraw
  • 1 Carrion flower
  • 1 Foxglove
  • 1 Fringe tree... not
  • 1 Hawkweed
  • 1 Maple-leaved viburnum
  • 1 Multiflora rose
  • 1 Ox-eye daisy
  • 1 Pitcher plant
  • 1 Spreading dogbane
  • 1 Water speedwell
  • 1 Yarrow
Moth
  • 1 Dogbane Tiger Moth

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 68°F, partly cloudy and calm at 10:00 AM on June 4, 2014.
  • From there it went into the 70s and clouded over.
  • A lap around the Fern Glen preceeded the usual start at Gifford House.
  • Peck's skipper was the only new butterfly noted. Afternoon clouds may have influenced that.

The Trails

  • It was pretty cool and shady in the Fern Glen at this hour making the maple-leaved viburnum was tricky to photo.
  • On the other hand, that slowed down the white-banded toothed carpet that constantly zooms then hides when out in the open.
  • A stark beam of sunshine illuminated a wild sarsparilla and its swelling fruit.
  • Off the high edge of the limestone cobble, red baneberry too was forming fruit.
  • Right next to it was white baneberry.
  • I can never find a difference in the leaves, but now the just forming fruit is clearly different.
  • Another mystery plant was starting to produce its peculiar rectangular flower head.
  • And behind them all, the curious (and exotic) vancouveria was budding up.
  • Just about to emerge by the kiosk, I stopped and stepped back to look closer at the well hidden Bowman's root; its first blossom was open.
  • On the other side of the little foot bridge, mayapple apples were forming.
  • Behind the railing around the Fern Glen sign lurked the native honeysuckle relative, diervilla. It would blossom soon.
  • It was a short ride to Gifford House where common milkweed was getting ready to blossom.
  • The sound of grackles and starlings drew my attention to a bare tree top. Only one European starling was left when the lens got there.
  • Behind the Carriage House, beautybush was starting to blossom.
  • It would be a while before even buds appear on the dog bane in the Little Bluestem Meadow.
  • I could hear an eastern kingbird in the distance, perhaps at the top of that dead tree.
  • Yup, there it was.
  • Out on the Cary Pines Trail, bracken was a study of threes.
  • Approaching the Appendix, I noted an empty egg shell along the path. Maybe a robin's?
  • On the Wappinger Creek Trail, invasive narrow-leaved bittercress was flowering. Last call to compost this before seeds are too mature.
  • Farther along, after the foot bridge, a dead or dying tree was sprouting a fungus. I've watched this kind grow over an inch in radius per day.
  • As I climbed the bluff, a blur of a great blue heron streaked along the water below. Even at quite a distance and through the trees, if I could see it, it could see me. It left.
  • In the Old Pasture, gray dogwood was budding.
  • Several angelica were starting to bloom in the Sedge Meadow.
  • Near the enormous fallen white oak, a fresh northern eudeilinea rested on a leaf.
  • I don't know how many different galls I came across today. Secretions of a larval insect cause a plant to grow a shelter for it to live in. There's actually a field guide for them.
  • Out along the edge of the back Old Hayfield, a pair of song sparrows was very attentive to me. Their nest must have been near by.
  • Cow vetch was blooming here and there.
  • Even though I scan each one, it's for butterflies, and I can miss other details until they appear in the digital dark room.
  • You can't miss spittle bugs, however. The young froth up excreted plant juices with air to make their nurseries.
  • The posture of this caterpillar suggests something else doomed it and the unhatched parasite eggs. They too are doomed.
  • A perky Peck's skipper was obliging enough to show its wings both above and below.
  • And a common ringlet was actually perching for a moment. It had clouded over; that really slows butterflies down for the photographer.
  • Mated butterflies, like these little wood-satyrs, can be seen flying together, usually the male just hanging in tow.
  • No further comment.
Song sparrow

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Mallard
  • 1 Great Blue Heron
  • 2 Chimney Swift
  • 4 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 5 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 Great Crested Flycatcher
  • 1 Eastern Kingbird
  • 1 Yellow-throated Vireo
  • 1 Warbling Vireo
  • 7 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 4 Blue Jay
  • 1 Tree Swallow
  • 6 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 2 House Wren
  • 4 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • 8 Veery
  • 6 Wood Thrush
  • 4 American Robin
  • 2 Gray Catbird
  • 5 European Starling
  • 2 Cedar Waxwing
  • 4 Blue-winged Warbler
  • 1 Black-throated Green Warbler
  • 2 Pine Warbler
  • 2 Prairie Warbler
  • 2 Blackpoll Warbler
  • 1 Black-and-white Warbler
  • 3 Ovenbird
  • 1 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 1 Scarlet Tanager
  • 5 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 3 Field Sparrow
  • 2 Song Sparrow
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
  • 3 Indigo Bunting
  • 1 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 1 Common Grackle
  • 1 Baltimore Oriole
  • 1 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 2 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 1 Spicebush Swallowtail
  • 5 Cabbage White
  • 1 Clouded Sulphur
  • 14 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Red-spotted Purple
  • 31 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 14 Common Ringlet
  • 2 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 4 Juvenal's Duskywing
  • 2 Peck's Skipper
  • 2 Hobomok Skipper
Plants
  • 1 Angelica
  • 1 Beauty bush
  • 1 Bowman's-root
  • 1 Cow vetch
  • 1 Maple-leaved viburnum
  • 1 Narrow-leaved bittercress
Moth
  • 1 Snowberry Clearwing

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