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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 75°F, cloudy and windy at 11:15 AM on October 15, 2014.
  • I hoped to beat the forecasted rain with an early start; sun and sprinkles fell in equal amounts. Nice.
  • More leaves had fallen since last week, but those remaining... may have been close to peak.
  • The grounds close for the season at the end of October.

The Trails

  • The sky over the front Old Hayfield was typical of the whole walk: occasional patches of blue, occasional sprinkles.
  • Behind the Carriage House, fothergilla was turning dark red and I recalled its little white Buckingham-palace-guard-hat blossoms of spring.
  • A scan of the sky yielded flat wings, not the V of the earlier turkey vulture.
  • The wedge shaped tail of my first impression was not in the photo... so much for raven, but a little adjustment of brightness and contrast made obvious that it was a red-tailed hawk.
  • Back on earth, the larger Stewartia was almost the same red as the fothergilla next to it.
  • Looking around again, I found blue skies and company approaching.
  • From view from the Scotch Pine Alleé was different with the Little Bluestem Meadow mowed.
  • A wood frog jumped across our path in the Old Gravel Pit.
  • It was as easy to loose as last week's sulphur... It's in the center, of course.
  • Another find was a dead blister beetle. I'm guessing something tried to eat it and won't try again.
  • I almost squashed some little mushrooms right behind me.
  • Eastern commas were still at the sap run, one in pretty good shape and another missing most of a hindwing.
  • The colors in some places were amazing.
  • Right at the Fern Glen parking lot was one of the nicest displays.
  • On the bridge, a runner wearing bright red was almost invisible.
  • By the Fern Glen pond, I sought out last week's scrawny wahoo sapling.
  • Yes, the saddleback caterpillar was still there, too.
  • The Appendix (Trail Marker 10) was good for lunch and birding. White-throated sparrows were many but avoided open spaces.
  • Across the Wappinger Creek by the recently fallen oak was a wall of spicebush... and a spreading carpet of Japanese stilt grass. Let's take this picture next year and compare.
  • I always like the view from the bluff over the Wappinger Creek.
  • The Sedge Meadow seemed bigger with so many leaves down.
  • But that winterberry in the corner was holding onto its yellowing leaves making the berries really stand out.
  • Just around the corner was the entrance to the back Old Hayfield.
  • And soon my exit.
Fern Glen foliage

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Great Blue Heron
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 5 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 4 Blue Jay
  • 2 American Crow
  • 24 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 3 Tufted Titmouse
  • 5 Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 4 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 Brown Creeper
  • 1 Carolina Wren
  • 5 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 3 Eastern Bluebird
  • 3 Hermit Thrush
  • 1 American Robin
  • 6 White-throated Sparrow
  • 1 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 2 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 Orange Sulphur
  • 2 Eastern Comma
Caterpillars
  • 1 Saddleback caterpillar

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 65°F, partly cloudy and windy at 1:00 PM on October 8, 2014.
  • Again there was about 0.2" of rain the day before.
  • Some places the leaves have noticably thinned.
  • I heard my first golden-crowned kinglets of the season.

The Trails

  • It was a cool and breezy start across the front Old Hayfield.
  • Along the edge, privet berries contasted with the unusual leaf colors.
  • You know the season is getting on when goldenrod goes to seed.
  • The Sedge Meadow boardwalk was covered with the leaves that were missing from the branches above.
  • Birds were very active between there and the back Old Hayfield with a blue jay being the only one to let me get a photo.
  • A couple clouded sulphurs were out there, too.
  • It was amazing how they could drop to the ground right in front of you and disappear.
  • After losing it twice - without it even moving, I moved on to easier subjects such as a golden hickory in the Old Pasture.
  • The view from the bluff over the Wappinger Creek is a favorite that I haven't taken in a while.
  • It's always been difficult to capture the atmosphere in the depths of the Cary Pines Trail.
  • In the back of the Fern Glen, some of the winterberry had turned their ghostly white.
  • I paused to look at the poor little eastern wahoo - a native relative of the invasive burning bush.
  • It has never flourished, but there was some color to it.
  • One longer branch had clump of still green leaves... with a silhouette? A bird dropping or a caterpillar?
  • Yes, a caterpillar. Now I had to go in and find out which one.
  • The visitor on the deck probably thought I'd seen a bear when I let out a "whoop": it was a saddleback caterpillar.
  • My whoop was purely from the surprise of seeing it, not of feeling it - the sting from those bristles I've only read about.
  • The rest of the walk was pretty quiet after that...
  • ...except for a new patch of Japanese stilt grass the had to be removed immediately.
Saddleback caterpillar

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 3 Northern Flicker
  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 2 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 Blue-headed Vireo
  • 5 Blue Jay
  • 13 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 2 Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • 3 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Gray Catbird
  • 3 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Palm Warbler
  • 2 Common Yellowthroat
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 5 Chipping Sparrow
  • 4 White-throated Sparrow
  • 4 Dark-eyed Junco
  • 3 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 3 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 Monarch
Caterpillars
  • 1 Saddleback caterpillar

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