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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 76°F, and overcast with light breezes at 10:30 AM on July 10, 2013. It would shower several times today.
  • Skippers were swarming on the milkweed of the Old Hayfields.
  • There was a new butterfly not only for the Trails, but for me as well.
  • A new camera was recording images for this report.

The Trails

  • Gifford House parking lot had the unobtrusive alien, moth mullein, growing out of the median.
  • Goldfinch were out in the middle of the front Old Hayfield.
  • It took some stalking and a long shot to get a skittish confused haploa.
  • Although the male dun skipper is unmarked, its subtle beauty grows on you.
  • The great spangled fritillary, on the other hand, is quite on the other side of the spectrum.
  • Another little gem was the dogbane beetle.
  • It was time to move on to the Sedge Meadow Trail. Somebody's lost lunch ahead? No, scientific apparatus! Part of a mosquito study, I presume.
  • A great patch of milkweed and dogbane in the back Old Hayfield was now host to countless creatures including a dainty female dun skipper.
  • I was just getting to the "good part" of the field when I heard the rain coming, pulled on my gear and started for the exit. But it didn't last long and when the sun broke out, so did the butterflies.
  • The striking coral hairstreak would be seen several times today.
  • A pair of skippers on one milkweed head was not hard to find.
  • It was a Peck's skipper with another dun.
  • What else was that in there, old twigs? No, that was a spider!. It could not have been hungry; the Peck's was there a long time unmolested.
  • Something bigger whizzed by stopping next to me. An American lady? No, an American snout! I had heard local reports last year, but this was the first for the Trails... and for me.
  • I had a nectarine for lunch at the bench in the Old Pasture. A spring azure had me.
  • Weather was picking up again and I hurried for cover down the Wappinger Creek Trail. It was a hearty rain now.
  • It had let by the time I was on the Cary Pines Trail. There the colors of fungus on moss caught my attention.
  • Oh there were lichens there too.
  • In the Fern Glen, the sun came out again and a swamp milkweed just glistened with rain drops in a close up.
  • Near the bench by the limestone cobble, bright yellow was topping the greenery.
  • It was great St. Johnswort.
  • Closer to the road was tall blue; that was tall bellflower.
  • At the front of the pond was a sweet fragrance from lizard's tail.
  • Wild mint was just across from it.
  • But what was that that landed on the middle tuft? Sure looked like a real nasty mosquito, but I suspect it's actually a cranefly.
  • The path by the kiosk had Culver's root just starting to bloom.
  • In the Old Gravel Pit, the northern pearly-eyes were back where they belonged. I was worried last week when they didn't show up.
  • A surprise awaited me on the dirt road by the Carriage House: a tawny emperor, which was kind enough to give both dorsal and ventral views.
  • Another fine rainy day.
Moth mullein
American goldfinch
Confused haploa
Dun skipper - male
Great spangled fritillary
Dogbane beetle
Lost lunch?
Research equipment
Dun skipper - female
Coral hairstreak
Lurking spider!
Peck's and dun skippers
Peck's skipper
American snout
Spring azure
Fungus on moss
...and lichens
Swamp milkweed
Swamp milkweed
Great St. Johnswort
Great St. Johnswort
Tall bellflower
Tall bellflower
Lizard's tail
Wild mint
Mosquito or crane fly?
Culver's root
Tawny emperor - below
Tawny emperor - above

Sightings

Birds
  • 3 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 6 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 5 Blue Jay
  • 5 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 House Wren
  • 4 Veery
  • 1 Wood Thrush
  • 3 American Robin
  • 3 Gray Catbird
  • 3 Cedar Waxwing
  • 2 Prairie Warbler
  • 2 Ovenbird
  • 1 Scarlet Tanager
  • 2 Eastern Towhee
  • 2 Chipping Sparrow
  • 4 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
  • 2 Indigo Bunting
  • 1 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 2 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 1 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 7 Cabbage White
  • 8 Clouded Sulphur
  • 2 American Copper
  • 2 Coral Hairstreak
  • 1 Banded Hairstreak
  • 1 Hickory Hairstreak
  • 1 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 2 Spring Azure
  • 1 American Snout
  • 11 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 4 Pearl Crescent
  • 4 Northern Pearly-eye
  • 11 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 70 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 34 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 1 Peck's Skipper
  • 1 Crossline Skipper
  • 36 Northern Broken-Dash
  • 19 Little Glassywing
  • 11 Delaware Skipper
  • 30 Dun Skipper
Plants
  • 1 Culver's-root
  • 1 Great St. Johnswort
  • 1 Lizard's-tail
  • 1 Moth mullein
  • 1 Swamp milkweed
  • 1 Tall bellflower
  • 1 Wild mint
Moth
  • 2 Confused Haploa
  • 1 Hummingbird Clearwing
  • 3 Snowberry Clearwing
  • 1 Virginia Ctenucha

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 80°F, mostly cloudy and breezy at 1:00 PM on July 03, 2013. Cloud cover varied through the afternoon.
  • Northern pearly-eye, common wood-nymph and dun skipper were back.
  • More fruits were ripening.
  • Some special guest appearances livened up day.

The Trails

  • First stop was the milkweed in Gifford House parking lot, where the classic tale of the spider and the fly was being played out on a leaf.
  • The handsome little grapeleaf skeletonizer moth was sipping from a blossom.
  • What I was after was a hairstreak that looked a little different - it was the elusive hickory hairstreak .
  • In the Little Bluestem Meadow, I encountered the striped hairstreak and, with the banded showing up later, it was a fine hairstreak day indeed.
  • Along the approach to the Fern Glen, creeping bellflower, a garden escapee, was blooming.
  • Back in the fen, swamp candles had opened too.
  • Nearby, swamp milkweed would be soon to follow.
  • Right next to it, elderberry was forming berries while in other places it was still blooming.
  • Farther down the boardwalk, blueberries were ripening.
  • Overhead, some berries of limber honeysuckle were fully red while others were still solid green.
  • By the stone bridge, shinleaf had opened its waxy blossoms.
  • Along the road back to the parking, enchanter's nightshade - another tiny flower with a big name - was blooming.
  • I wanted a shot of the false Solomon's seal berries, but the leaves were chewed up. My 2nd thought was, "who's chewing?" It was a sawfly larva of some sort.
  • Along the pond, a number of beetles were poised to drop at the slightest disturbance. They were not Japanese beetles.
  • Fringed loosestrife with its nodding yellow blossoms was starting up.
  • Along the Wappinger Creek Trail, tall meadow-rue was opening its fuzzy looking flower clusters.
  • Finally! I wasn't until the 3rd "usual place" that the northern pearly-eye showed up - but only two.
  • Climbing the rise to the bluff, I saw ahead of me Indian pipe. And farther ahead, a cluster of more.
  • Right next to them was a mushroom I couldn't refuse. Hmmm - with all this rain, I would expect more than we've been having.
  • More berries in the Old Pasture - this time gray dogwood, attended by that psychadellic plant hopper. What a different world it would be if they were the same size as their relatives, the cicadas.
  • The sound of claws on bark is not unusual coming from the big shagbark hickory on the way to the Sedge Meadow, but this sounded bigger than the usual squirrels. It was racoons.
  • There were three. I got a couple portraits and left them in peace.
  • In the back Old Hayfield, another fine patch of fringed loosestrife was offering superior photo ops.
  • This was the place for skippers today. Peck's, Delaware and dun were lurking amongst the little glassywings. Come earlier in the morning, and check the cow vetch and dogbane.
  • But at this time on this day, what I'd really like to be checking out is the beverage assortment available at a swimming pool.
The spider and the fly
Grapeleaf skeletonizer moth
Hickory hairstreak
Creeping bellflower
Creeping bellflower
Swamp candles
Swamp candles
Swamp milkweed
Elderberry berries
Blueberries
Limber honeysuckle berries
Shinleaf
Shinleaf
Enchanter's nightshade
Enchanter's nightshade
A sawfly larva
Not a Japanese beetle
Fringed loosestrife
Fringed loosestrife
Tall meadow-rue
Tall meadow-rue
Northern pearly-eye
Indian pipe
Indian pipe
Mushroom
Gray dogwood berries
Plant hopper
Racoons
Racoon
Fringed loosestrife

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 3 Eastern Phoebe
  • 6 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 1 Blue Jay
  • 8 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Brown Creeper
  • 1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • 2 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 3 Veery
  • 3 American Robin
  • 3 Gray Catbird
  • 2 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Prairie Warbler
  • 3 Ovenbird
  • 2 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 3 Eastern Towhee
  • 4 Chipping Sparrow
  • 4 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 3 Northern Cardinal
  • 2 Indigo Bunting
  • 2 Baltimore Oriole
  • 1 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 1 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 14 Cabbage White
  • 1 Hickory Hairstreak
  • 1 Striped Hairstreak
  • 1 Spring Azure
  • 7 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Meadow Fritillary
  • 2 Northern Pearly-eye
  • 11 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 23 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 15 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 1 Peck's Skipper
  • 1 Northern Broken-Dash
  • 25 Little Glassywing
  • 1 Delaware Skipper
  • 1 Black Dash
  • 2 Dun Skipper
Plants
  • 1 Creeping bellflower
  • 1 Enchanter's nightshade
  • 1 Fringed loosestrife
  • 1 Indian pipe
  • 1 Shinleaf
  • 1 Swamp candles
  • 1 Tall meadow-rue
Mammals
  • 3 Racoon
Moth
  • 2 Grape Leaf Skeletonizer Moth
  • 1 Virginia Ctenucha

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