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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

  • ... was again raining in the morning, but 75°, partly cloudy and windy at 2:15 PM on June 13.
  • I was hoping the butterflies would be out and hungry after a few gray, wet days, but activity seemed low.

The Trails

  • On the other hand, as I strolled back towards the Carriage House I glanced at the nettle patch along the way; the tops were all chewed up.
  • When were all those red admirals laying eggs here - a couple weeks ago, right? Yup, I uncurled a nettle leaf (carefully) and there was a baby red admiral. I had seen dozens crossing the road earlier in the week.
  • The warm, moist afternoon air was wonderful today. On the way to the Fern Glen Japanese honeysuckle was adding it's sweet perfume to the mix of grasses and bedstraws.
  • A not so nice smell was that of black swallowwort.
  • An examination of its milky sap and almost black blossoms reveals its kinship with common milkweed, which was blooming in stands at Gifford House.
  • Monarchs recognize that kinship and will lay their eggs on it, but it is poisonous to the caterpillars. The roots persist, the seeds fly far, the plant tolerates a wide range of light and soil conditions, and deer don't eat it...
  • Now is a good time (flowers, NO pods) to give it some of its own medicine if you don't mind herbicides. It can, with great care and patience, be dug out. But that can quickly change one's position on herbicides...
  • At the edge of the Glen's parking lot, winterberry was in bloom.
  • At the edge of the pond, sweetflag was blooming and lizzard's-tail was about to.
  • Back by the fen, thornless purple-flowering raspberry was inviting to a variety of pollinators.
  • The deer always find the diervilla, a honeysuckle relative, before I remember to spray. The one remaining blossom was beyond recognition.
  • Last week, I failed to mention the greenish-flowered pyrola also around that area. Indeed, its flower is greenish.
  • Partridgeberry and American brooklime had suffered similarly.
  • As I headed back to the trails, I found a caterpillar blocking my way. "Radcliff's dagger moth" I later found in Wagner's great guide.
  • Our most common pyrola, shinleaf, was all around the base of the watershead poster on the Wappinger Creek trail. Compare its whiter blossom to that of the other species above.
  • In the back Old Hayfield, black-eyed Susan was beginning to open.
  • In the back of the back Old Hayfield, foxglove was back again.
  • There's always some interesting insect lurking in the blossoms - this day a tiny looper.
  • I almost left without noting the ubiquitous field and roadside inhabitant, hop clover.
  • And another, birdfoot trefoil, I confess, I did photograph the following day.
American brooklime
Greenish-flowered pyrola
Chewed up nettles
Baby red admiral
Japanese honeysuckle
Black swallow-wort
Black swallow-wort blossoms
Flowering raspberry and pollinator
Flowering raspberry
Radcliff's dagger moth
Black-eyed Susan
Foxglove and looper
Hop clover
Common milkweed
Common milkweed blossoms
Shinleaf blossoms
Birdfoot trefoil


  • 2 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Belted Kingfisher
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 2 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 3 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 Eastern Kingbird
  • 1 Warbling Vireo
  • 3 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 4 Blue Jay
  • 6 American Crow
  • 1 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 House Wren
  • 2 Eastern Bluebird
  • 3 Veery
  • 1 Wood Thrush
  • 2 American Robin
  • 2 Gray Catbird
  • 3 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Prairie Warbler
  • 1 Ovenbird
  • 2 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 2 Scarlet Tanager
  • 4 Eastern Towhee
  • 2 Chipping Sparrow
  • 2 Field Sparrow
  • 2 Song Sparrow
  • 4 Northern Cardinal
  • 1 Indigo Bunting
  • 2 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 2 Brown-headed Cowbird
  • 3 Baltimore Oriole
  • 2 American Goldfinch
  • 6 Cabbage White
  • 1 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 1 Question Mark
  • 1 Eastern Comma
  • 3 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 1 Common Ringlet
  • 5 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 1 European Skipper
  • 1 Birdfoot trefoil
  • 1 Black-eyed Susan
  • 1 Common milkweed
  • 1 Deptford pink
  • 1 Diervilla
  • 1 Foxglove
  • 1 Hop clover
  • 1 Shinleaf
  • 1 Sweetflag

Notes and changes since last report

  • 63°F, cloudy and calm at 1:00 PM.
  • It cleared and warmed some, it clouded again, it showered... and repeated the cycle...
  • Bedstraws were in full bloom.
  • European skipper made it's appearance.

The Trails

  • Right in the Gifford House parking lot Common milkweed was budding up and would soon be opening. It's my favorite nectar source for butterflies.
  • The front Old Hayfield was full of bedstraws. That and the fresh mown path filled the air with a summery scent.
  • The familiar, if only by sight, rough-fruited cinquefoil was blooming.
  • An orange blur crossed my path: my first European skipper of the season.
  • Yarrow is an interesting plant. It doesn't seem to attract many butterflies, but the things it does attract are unusual.
  • The antennae told me immediately that this was probably a fly; the face confirmed it. My old text said thick-headed flies are ususually found on flowers and parasitize wasps and bumble bees.
  • Along the edge of the field, privet - a garden escapee - was proving very attractive to silver-spotted skippers.
  • Once would be one thing, but several times I noticed a bug perched on top of a grass stalk.
  • Gray dogwood was blooming everywhere filling the air with its punky odor.
  • By the Old Pumphouse angelica was making its annual appearance.
  • A passerby reminded me why I consider the Appendix special - that spot where the Cary Pines and Wappinger Creek Trails meet at the creek. I'd have missed dead man's fingers and coral fungus. And our discussion of the black-throated green and pine warblers was interrupted when a great blue heron glided in for a landing.
  • It was sprinkling when I eventually got to the Fern Glen.
  • Around the limestone cobble twinleaf pods would soon be popping.
  • Back in the acid shale columbine was forming seed pods.
  • Along the trail purple-flowering raspberry was getting ready to bloom.
  • In the fen elderberry was thinking about it (along the pond it had already started).
  • I thought blueberry had already blossomed. I turned around and found the berries of one I knew. Oh yes, maleberry. Closer inspection revealed the little brown capsule of last years seeds.
  • By the stone bridge the colony of Indian cucumber root was looking even better than last year. It's a tiny member of the lily family.
  • Near the kiosk Bowman's root was blooming in several locations.
  • I thought the patch of spreading dogbane used to be taller.
  • The knee high blossoms attract a lot of different insects.
  • It was clearing again as I gazed across the Little Bluestem Meadow towards Gifford House.
  • I figured it would stay that way: I was leaving now. It did.
Rough-fruited cinquefoil
European skipper on bedstraw
Old Hayfield full of bedstraw
Thick-headed fly on yarrow
Thick-headed fly on yarrow
Thick-headed fly on yarrow
Silver-spotted skipper
Gray dogwood
Dead man's fingers
Coral fungus
Columbine seed pods
Purple-flowering raspberry
Blueberry berries
Indian cucumber root
Bowman's root
Twinleaf seed pod
Little Bluestem Meadow
Spreading dogbane
Spreading dogbane
Common milkweed
Indian cucumber root


  • 1 Great Blue Heron
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 Yellow-throated Vireo
  • 1 Warbling Vireo
  • 3 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 4 Blue Jay
  • 1 American Crow
  • 4 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 Brown Creeper
  • 1 Carolina Wren
  • 1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 5 Veery
  • 2 Wood Thrush
  • 4 American Robin
  • 7 Gray Catbird
  • 7 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Blue-winged Warbler
  • 2 Black-throated Green Warbler
  • 1 Pine Warbler
  • 2 Prairie Warbler
  • 3 Ovenbird
  • 2 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 2 Scarlet Tanager
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 5 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
  • 1 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 2 Common Grackle
  • 1 Brown-headed Cowbird
  • 2 Baltimore Oriole
  • 2 American Goldfinch
  • 5 Cabbage White
  • 1 Question Mark
  • 2 Red-spotted Purple
  • 13 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 7 Common Ringlet
  • 8 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 5 European Skipper

  <li>1 Bowman's-root</li>
  <li>1 Elderberry</li>
  <li>1 Gray dogwood</li>
  <li>1 Maleberry</li>
  <li>1 Privet</li>
  <li>1 Rough-fruited cinquefoil</li>
  <li>1 Spreading dogbane</li>
  <li>1 Yarrow</li>


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