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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

  • This week's trail report covers the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
  • It was 72°F, mostly clear and breezy at 3:00 PM on September 23, 2015.
  • It was another quiet, but pleasant late summer day.

The Trails

  • Right next to the parking spot at Gifford House was a vaguely familiar plant.
  • Ground cherry, I wondered? No, velvetleaf, but it was on the same page...
  • A mass of birds abandoned the thistle - now all seeds - on the approach to the Carriage House.
  • Around the back, magnolia was fruiting.
  • The path entering the Old Gravel Pit section was thick with fallen leaves - hard to ignore.
  • At the edge of the Fern Glen, a tiny, metallic green bee was preening itself on a sunny leaf.
  • Farther along, a spider with interesting eye spots was dining in its shelter.
  • At the pond, a painted turtle was enjoying the last rays of the day.
  • Spotted touch-me-not exploding seed pods at the back of the pond waited for a passerby to brush against them.
  • Down on the water's surface was quite the congregation of water striders.
  • Wreath goldenrod was blooming along the trail to the back. This and zig-zag are the two woodland species that I find fairly easy to ID.
  • Maple-leaved viburnum's un-maple-like berries were robust this year.
  • Along the boardwalk through the fen, little remained of the witch hazel that was recently host to fall webworm.
  • There was one left on a neighboring shrub.
  • Around the corner was speckled alder with catkins already waiting for spring.
  • More leaves reduced to veins. I'de been hoping for some big caterpillars that would be getting ready to pass the winter.
  • Close, but no cigar, sawfly larvae are interesting caterpillar-like creatures. Sometimes when disturbed, they all wave their abdomens in unison.
  • Deeper in the shrub swamp, winterberry and spicebush were showing off bright red berries.
  • On the way out, Solomon's seal and false Solomon's seal were now quite distinct from each other.
  • Cary Pines Trail is usually quiet. But it has its moments.
  • Next week: the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
Water Striders

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 4 Eastern Phoebe
  • 10 Blue Jay
  • 3 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 2 Tufted Titmouse
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 House Wren
  • 2 Eastern Bluebird
  • 5 American Robin
  • 1 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Cedar Waxwing
  • 5 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
Butterflies
  • 15 Cabbage White
  • 4 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 Orange Sulphur
  • 1 Spring Azure
  • 1 Great Spangled Fritillary
Plants
  • 1 Velvetleaf
  • 1 Wreath goldenrod

Notes and Changes since last report

  • This week's trail report covers the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
  • It was 75°F, mostly clear and breezy at 2:30 PM on September 16, 2015.
  • It was another quiet, but pleasant late summer day.

The Trails

  • A few low lying plants survived the recent mowing of the front Old Hayfield. A female eastern tailed-blue was finding them.
  • In the back Old Hayfield, invasive burning bush was starting to show how it got to this country.
  • Japanese barberry was doing likewise.
  • Our native Virginia creeper was keeping up with the competition.
  • At the field's exit, I paused to remove some pointy grass seeds from my socks and enjoyed the peace of a late summer afternoon.
  • As I rose to me feet, something flew across in front of me to land on a sunny leaf. It was a species of net-winged beetle, sometimes mistaken for a moth.
  • If it were not for the interesting shadow, a bug-chewed leaf would never have been noticed.
  • The Old Pasture is a reliable place to find American copper.
  • Another came by and both went up together in a spiral, one returning to the ground, the other to a goldenrod.
  • On the way out of the Old Pasture, a lone winterberry was glowing in the low light.
  • Along the Wappinger Creek Trail, invasive Japanese stilt grass was starting to flower.
  • The tall, late season flower stalks make good "red flags" to announce its presence.
  • And the shiny midrib of the leaf clinches the ID.
  • The stilt-like roots allow one's fingers to slide under and lift sometimes the whole plant out for a satisfying pull!
  • A steely-nerved American green frog almost got burried by a wad of soon-to-be compost.
  • Note: I'm trusting the seeds were not yet pollinated, otherwise disposal rather than compost would be safer.
  • I sighed and gazed down the Creek.
  • Next week: the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
Net-winged Beetle

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 2 Northern Flicker
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 3 Blue Jay
  • 8 Gray Catbird
  • 2 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 23 Cabbage White
  • 9 Clouded Sulphur
  • 3 Orange Sulphur
  • 3 American Copper
  • 3 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 3 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 5 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Monarch
Insects
  • 1 Net-winged beetle
Plants
  • 1 Japanese stilt grass

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