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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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  • It was overcast, 55° and calm at 2:00 PM on October 24, 2012.
  • Peepers continued to peep this week. Katydids I didn't hear until night fall.
  • Bull frogs were still active in the Fern Glen pond.
  • The colors of Japanese barberry and burning bush dominated the landscape.

  • Fans of old barns should like the Old Pump House with Japanese barberry, a bush honeysuckle and burning bush - both of Asian origin - in front of it.
  • The calls of a couple crows drew my attention overhead; a loose cloud of about 75 passed westward.
  • In the back Old Hayfiled was barberry in a more usual red.
  • But scattered through the woods, were all shades between orange and red.
  • The view from the bluff above the Wappinger Creek was worth stopping for.
  • Down in the flood plain was the best witch hazel blooms I'd seen this year.
  • Close and relax your eyes; when you open them try to focus on the main branch for a 3D view.
  • Burning bush was striking along the creek.
  • A favorite spot of the Ecology Camp kids provided access to the Creek and a bench for the weary.
  • I found myself looking back up through the same barberry that I'd looked down at earlier from the edge of the back Old Hayfield.
  • The path up to the Carriage House was thick with burning bush of a paler pink.
  • But it was the Cary Pines Trail that I followed, where a pair of oak seedlings caught my eye.
  • One had intricate patterns highlighting its veins.
  • The other's leaves were drab until the bright red petioles.
  • More bright red was poking out of the pine needles on the forest floor: partridge berry.
  • In the Fern Glen, hobblebush leaves were subtile in their beauty.
  • The view of the pond was interesting from across the limestone cobble.
  • Great Solomon's seal provided an exotic texture.
  • Finally, a maple-leaved viburnum with berries!
  • A surprise was all the bullfrogs out around the pond.
  • Except for the family of red-breasted nuthatch, the path was quiet all the way through the old Gravel Pit until opening to the Little Bluestem Meadow... under a bough of burning bush.
Old Pump House
Japanese Barberry
Japanese Barberry
View from the bluff over Wappinger Creek
Witch hazel and burning bush
Witch hazel in 3D
Favorite Ecology Camper destination on Wappinger Creek
Burning bush
Japanese barberry
Burning bush
Young oak
Young oak
Young oak
Fern Glen pond
Great Solomon's seal
Maple-leaved viburnum
Bull frogs
Little Bluestem Meadow


  • 1 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 75 American Crow
  • 12 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 7 Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 7 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 2 American Robin
  • 4 White-throated Sparrow

Notes and changes since last report:

  • It was clear, 55° and calm at 2:30 PM on October 17, 2012.
  • The sun was warmer than the air was cool.
  • There was still a butterfly lurking along a sunny edge.
  • At the end of the month, the grounds close for the season.

The Trails

  • A goldenrod had survived the annual mowing of the Little Bluestem Meadow.
  • Two maples across the meadow from the new bench were bare already.
  • Low sun was illuminating foliage in the Old Gravel Pit.
  • I'd decided to leave my sweatshirt in the parking lot. Standing in warm pockets of sun, surrounded by layers of color, I did not miss it.
  • One corner of the pond has been catching the last rays of sun in the Fern Glen.
  • Trees were begging to have photos of their reflections flipped upside down.
  • Leaves floating on the tannin blackened water recalled the early works of M. C. Escher.
  • At the back of the pond, sweet pepperbush was glowing against the black waters below.
  • A long, quiet walk along the Cary Pines Trail was punctuated by a patch of sun coming through the canopy to ignite a little maple.
  • The flood plain section of the Wappinger Creek Trail had just a few new mushrooms today.
  • The edge of the back Old Hayfield promised to hold a butterfly or two.
  • It wasn't until the front Field however, that I found one... Actually it found me first, darting out from the same tree as did last week's red admiral.
  • I could just get enough of a peek at the underside and top side to call it an eastern comma - question marks had been more common this year.
  • With my quest for a butterfly fulfilled, I took a last look across the field at Gifford House and made my way home.
Little Bluestem Meadow mowed
Bare maples
Foliage in the Old Gravel Pit
Foliage in the Old Gravel Pit
Fern Glen pond
Fern Glen pond
Fern Glen pond
Sweet pepperbush
Sun on a maple
The back Old Hayfield
Eastern comma
Eastern comma
Eastern comma
Gifford House


  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 6 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Hairy Woodpecker
  • 2 Eastern Phoebe
  • 3 Blue Jay
  • 6 American Crow
  • 22 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 8 Tufted Titmouse
  • 6 Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 5 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Carolina Wren
  • 3 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 7 Eastern Bluebird
  • 2 American Robin
  • 1 Palm Warbler
  • 2 Field Sparrow
  • 6 Fox Sparrow
  • 6 White-throated Sparrow
  • 19 Dark-eyed Junco
  • 4 American Goldfinch
  • 1 Eastern Comma


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