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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, partly cloudy and calm at 2:30 PM on July 16, 2014.
  • Several days of heavy rain showers ended this morning making for a late start.
  • And a meeting made for a rushed end of the walk.
  • The Wappinger Creek was full of water and the fields were full of butterflies.

The Trails

  • A red-spotted purple was going from leaf to leaf on the milkweed at Gifford House.
  • It was licking the se- (or ex-) cretions of the abundant milkweed aphids.
  • On the dirt drive to the Carriage House, a dun skipper was licking stones that it moistened with its own um... bodily fluids.
  • In the first Old Hayfield, a yellow-collared scape moth was barely revealing its metalic blue body.
  • There was no missing the metalic green of the dogbane beetles.
  • Wild bergamot was beginning to bloom. As a butterfly magnet, it picks up as common milkweed wanes.
  • On the Sedge Meadow Trail, a scarlet tanager played hide-and-seek with me for a while.
  • An eastern towhee was not so shy.
  • Some cedar waxwings joined the towhee for a bit.
  • Way across the Sedge Meadow, I could see a butterfly confrontation at the edge of the wood.
  • It looked like northern pearly-eye behaviour.
  • The back Old Hayfield was lively with both dogbanes and common milkweed attracting a host of butterflies, especially today, the three "witches", of which the dun skipper is one.
  • The common wood-nymph was out in great numbers.
  • Once they get a taste for human, they can be hard to shake.
  • Almost under foot was a handsome dragonfly - I'll stick my neck out and suggest female eastern pondhawk.
  • Ah, finally! A decent shot of a coral hairstreak. And there were several to choose from.
  • Resting on the bench in the Old Pasture, I saw a familiar spiral blur above some sunny leaves: a banded hairstreak that had perhaps had a close encounter with a bird-kind.
  • The Wappinger Creek was roaring from upstream to downstream.
  • Near the Appendix, a family of common mergansers was dealing with swift current and many bugs in the air.
  • The Creek surged past the Appendix and I went into the quiet of the Cary Pines Trail.
  • Coming out at the Fern Glen, I found freshly flowering thistle with a pair of seemingly lost beetles on last year's grass head next to it.
  • In from the stone bridge, spotted wintergreen was blooming. I always wonder why it's not "striped wintergreen"
  • With the parking lot in sight, I paused to snap a large-ish bird at the top of tree by the front Old Hayfield - an eastern kingbird.
  • And I still had 10 minutes to be late for the meeting.
Coral hairstreak

Sightings

Birds
  • 5 Common Merganser
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 2 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 5 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 Warbling Vireo
  • 5 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 2 Blue Jay
  • 8 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 5 Tufted Titmouse
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Brown Creeper
  • 1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • 4 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Veery
  • 2 Wood Thrush
  • 5 American Robin
  • 10 Gray Catbird
  • 7 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Black-throated Green Warbler
  • 2 Pine Warbler
  • 2 Ovenbird
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 3 Scarlet Tanager
  • 7 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 1 Field Sparrow
  • 2 Song Sparrow
  • 2 Northern Cardinal
  • 3 Indigo Bunting
  • 2 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 5 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 10 Cabbage White
  • 2 Clouded Sulphur
  • 2 Orange Sulphur
  • 4 Coral Hairstreak
  • 5 Banded Hairstreak
  • 1 'Olive' Juniper Hairstreak
  • 1 Spring Azure
  • 11 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 7 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Eastern Comma
  • 2 Red Admiral
  • 1 Red-spotted Purple
  • 5 Northern Pearly-eye
  • 2 Appalachian Brown
  • 6 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 71 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 16 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 13 Northern Broken-Dash
  • 10 Little Glassywing
  • 6 Delaware Skipper
  • 18 Dun Skipper
Insects
  • 1 Dogbane beetle
  • 1 Eastern pondhawk female
  • 1 Milkweed aphids
Plants
  • 1 Spotted wintergreen
  • 1 Thistle
  • 1 Wild bergamot
Moth
  • 2 Snowberry Clearwing
  • 1 Yellow-collared scape moth

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 77°F and cloudy with light breezes at 11:30 AM on July 9, 2014.
  • The threat of afternoon thunder storms was realized, and NOT after today's walk.
  • Northern pearly-eye and banded hairstreaks finally showed up.
  • Rain prevented a tour of the front Old Hayfield.

The Trails

  • Once around Gifford House's milkweed didn't turn up much. Plants out in the open had just about peaked.
  • A clouded sulphur was "puddling" on the way to the Carriage House. Very few whites and sulphurs are around this season.
  • The patch of spreading dogbane in the Little Bluestem Meadow was lively with silver-spotted skippers and northern broken-dashes, among other things.
  • The bottom of the Old Gravel Pit was a new place for northern pearly-eye. The usual spot was empty, and they were a week late this year.
  • A couple well worn anglewings were soaking up the sun. Yup, commas.
  • At the Fern Glen pond, Culver's root was just beginning to bloom.
  • Carrion flower was already making berries.
  • Here and there, fringed loosestrife was popping up.
  • Around the limestone cobble, lopseed was putting out its tiny flowers.
  • Back in the fen, swamp milkweed was getting under way.
  • Another easy to miss flower, enchanter's nightshade, had been up in several places.
  • Finally, on the Wappinger Creek trail, two weeks late - unless I just missed them - were banded hairstreaks.
  • Unlike most butterflies, that open their wings to the sun, hairstreaks usually take it broadside in "lateral basking".
  • I was pretty sure I'd seen the Appalachian brown behind the Sedge Meadow already. Indeed I had; it's just that there's been few of them this year.
  • One black-eyed Susan in the back Old Hayfield seemed to have a bump on it. It was an American copper, and looking very fresh too.
  • As it got dark and started to sprinkle, things slowed down... including the camera's shutter: a snowberry clearwing's wings were just about invisible. The tail was invisible because it was gone.
  • The front view, if a little blurry, shows what I like to call suspenders: the dark two stripes that the hummingbird clearwing does not have.
  • A surprise appearance of a coral hairstreak was nice.
  • While unsuccessfully trying to find it again for a photo, I did find and photo a Delaware skipper .
  • The thunder overhead conviced me not to press my luck further, but to press on instead.
  • It was raining lightly and kind of pleasantly right up until I reached the car, then it really opened up.
  • My lucky day.
American copper on black-eyed Susan

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Mourning Dove
  • 2 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • 3 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 8 Eastern Phoebe
  • 4 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 1 Blue Jay
  • 7 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 2 Tufted Titmouse
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 Brown Creeper
  • 1 House Wren
  • 1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • 4 Veery
  • 2 Wood Thrush
  • 3 American Robin
  • 7 Gray Catbird
  • 11 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Black-throated Green Warbler
  • 6 Pine Warbler
  • 1 Prairie Warbler
  • 1 Ovenbird
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 4 Scarlet Tanager
  • 7 Eastern Towhee
  • 2 Chipping Sparrow
  • 3 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 3 Northern Cardinal
  • 1 Indigo Bunting
  • 3 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 17 Cabbage White
  • 2 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 American Copper
  • 1 Coral Hairstreak
  • 5 Banded Hairstreak
  • 33 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 5 Eastern Comma
  • 2 Red Admiral
  • 13 Northern Pearly-eye
  • 1 Appalachian Brown
  • 58 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 66 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 12 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 11 Northern Broken-Dash
  • 8 Little Glassywing
  • 2 Delaware Skipper
  • 5 Dun Skipper
Plants
  • 1 Culver's-root
  • 1 Enchanter's nightshade
  • 1 Fringed loosestrife
  • 1 Lopseed
  • 1 Swamp milkweed
Moth
  • 2 Snowberry Clearwing
  • 1 Yellow-collared scape moth

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