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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 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

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 70°F and clear and calm at 1:00 PM on September 18, 2013.
  • Warm sun and cool, dry air. I love this weather.
  • Mosquitoes were almost non-existant. I love this too.
  • Not a skipper in sight anywhere today. Others might love that.

The Trails

  • Right in front of me in the Gifford parking lot was a small milkweed with a colony of the introduced oleander aphids.
  • I thought about looking for monarch caterpillars but didn't have to make a decision: one was already there. It's getting late in the season - I hope it makes it. Their numbers are way down with reports of a 60% drop to a 20 year low at their Mexican winter grounds last winter.
  • Along the edge of the front Old Hayfield was fine example of a goldenrod bunch gall, caused by a midge's larva living inside. Its secretion stops the stem from growing taller, but the leaves keep coming out and so form a bunch, giving the larva a safe place to live. Bunch galls only happen on Canada goldenrod, making that goldenrod ID easier.
  • The boardwalk across the end of the Sedge Meadow had been collecting falling leaves - something I'd been denying.
  • Another goldenrod that I find relatively easy to ID is rough-leaved goldenrod. It likes wet soils and has pretty big basal leaves.
  • The Old Pasture has been reliable for American coppers for a while now. Just sit at the bench and watch the path.
  • Across the path, a white form female sulphur looked as if it were extra massive as it dangled from an already curved goldenrod.
  • A view of the sun dappled Wappinger Creek exemplified the beautiful day it was.
  • Just above the Fern Glen, a spotted apatelodes caterpillar was hanging out under a leaf.
  • There was one a few weeks ago. This time the characteristic red abdominal prolegs were obvious.
  • A dragonfly was perched nearby and I had to try for it.
  • In the Old Gravel Pit, I thought I heard golden-crowned warbler and swung my gaze in that direction but found instead psychadelic spider webs up fairly high.
  • The lighting, the smells in the air... it was spectacular today. The view down the Scotch Pine Alleé was another that will be recalled when this day is mentioned.
  • Off to the side, I spotted my first common milkweed letting loose its seeds to seek new homes. And I returned to my own.
Oleander aphids on milkweed
Monarch caterpillar on milkweed
Canada goldenrod with goldenrod bunch gall
Fallen leaves on Sedge Meadow boardwalk
Rough-leaved goldenrod
American copper
White form female sulphur
Wappinger Creek
Spotted apatelodes
Spotted apatelodes
Dragonfly
Spider web
Scotch Pine Alleé
Milkweed seeds

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 6 Blue Jay
  • 1 American Crow
  • 18 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 5 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Brown Creeper
  • 2 House Wren
  • 1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 1 Veery
  • 1 American Robin
  • 3 Gray Catbird
  • 4 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Black-and-white Warbler
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 4 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
Butterflies
  • 29 Cabbage White
  • 34 Clouded Sulphur
  • 14 Orange Sulphur
  • 1 American Copper
  • 3 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 1 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Meadow Fritillary
  • 13 Pearl Crescent
Caterpillars
  • 1 Monarch
  • 1 Spotted apatelodes
Moth
  • 1 Snowberry Clearwing

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