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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

  • It was 75°F, cloudy, breezy, and fairly humid at 2:00 PM on July 26, 2017.
  • This week's trail report covers the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
  • Although it was a gray day, it was a warm day and butterflies were out, if a little slow.
  • Special guest appearances were made by a juniper hairstreak and a visitor for whom this was a happy addition to their life list.

The Trails

  • Right at Gifford trail head things were happening.
  • Here common milkweed was done blooming and was forming seed pods.
  • Taking over the role as most favored nectar source was wild bergamot.
  • Next to it, pokeweed was flowering and wasting no time making berries.
  • It's never a real popular nectar source, but what yarrow does attract is often very intersting, such as the juniper hairstreak. Our area's subspecies is the 'olive' juniper hairstreak.
  • Great spangled fritillaries like the bergamot.
  • A pearl crescent was on invasive spotted knapweed.
  • This one displayed the little mark on the hindwing margin below that gives it its name.
  • Many moths were flitting and hiding in the grasses including a Large Lace-border.
  • Along the Sedge Meadow Trail, a red admiral was perched to check out passersby.
  • In the Sedge Meadow proper, blue vervain was standing in the distance.
  • Spotted touch-me-not, or jewelweed was within reach.
  • In the back Old Hayfield, snowberry clearwing, a dayflying sphinx moth, was on the bergamot. Note the black stripe through the eye going back and down to the legs.
  • Several times the Appalachian brown had eluded me this day.
  • A very well worn northern broken-dash seemed to not have a scale left on it.
  • A grape leaf was being chewed up by a pack of Japanese beetles.
  • Along the back edge of the field, ironwood or hophornbeam was forming its hop-like fruit.
  • Next to it, musclewood or American hornbeam was forming its peculiar fruit.
  • A fresh looking female dun skipper was warming up. Spots are much smaller than those of the broken-dash.
  • Then a hummingbird clearwing came through. Compare with the snowberry and note the red vs. black appointments and lack of eye stripe.
  • Goldenrod bunch galls were obvious once they were noticed.
  • The meadow fritillary is like a miniature great spangled fritillary - at least from above.
  • On another yarrow, an ambush bug may have been waiting for that little bee to get closer.
  • A fresher female northern broken-dash posed perfectly.
  • In the Old Pasture, meadowsweet was blooming.
  • Many small beetles were in there.
  • The Wappinger creek trail was pretty dark today, but a red mushroom was hard to miss.
  • So was a noisy young ovenbird.
  • Next week: the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
'Olive' Juniper Hairstreak

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 4 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • 2 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 1 Blue Jay
  • 2 American Crow
  • 1 Tree Swallow
  • 1 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Wood Thrush
  • 3 American Robin
  • 3 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Cedar Waxwing
  • 3 Ovenbird
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 1 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 1 Spicebush Swallowtail
  • 4 Cabbage White
  • 1 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 'Olive' Juniper Hairstreak
  • 1 Spring Azure
  • 5 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Meadow Fritillary
  • 6 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Red Admiral
  • 2 Northern Pearly-eye
  • 4 Appalachian Brown
  • 7 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 7 Monarch
  • 9 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 7 Northern Broken-Dash
  • 10 Dun Skipper
Plants
  • 1 Meadowsweet
  • 1 Wild bergamot
Moth
  • 4 Hummingbird Clearwing
  • 1 Large Lace-border
  • 13 Snowberry Clearwing

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 83°F, partly cloudy, breezy, and not quite as humid as yesterday at 11:30 AM on July 19, 2017.
  • This week's trail report covers the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
  • Invasive black swallowwort was forming seed pods.
  • As for butterflies: northern broken-dash was out in numbers today; black swallowtail was new.

The Trails

  • It was pretty warm, but not too humid as I headed towards the Carriage House.
  • In the trees straight ahead an eastern bluebird was calling.
  • Right next to the Carriage House, green-headed coneflower was blooming.
  • A monarch glided through the Scots Pine Aleé and paused a while in the sun. Their numbers are better this year than last, but still down some 80% over 20 years.
  • Just off the edge of the field was bee balm, so favored by hummingbirds.
  • Butterfly weed, a milkweed species, was not far away.
  • A dark shape in the tall grass caught my eye: a black swallowtail.
  • Something else dark caught my eye in the Little Bluestem Meadow: black swallowwort all in a tangle. Monarchs recognize that it is related to milkweed and will lay their eggs on it, but it is fatal to the caterpillars.
  • The almost black flowers resemble those of milkweed, although they're not in ball.
  • Also similar are the swallow-tail-like pairs of pods. At this point they will mature even if removed.
  • Up ahead, another milkweed relative, spreading dogbane, was popular among great spangled fritillaries.
  • Silver-spotted skippers were in roughly equal numbers.
  • Less obvious were the smaller skippers, mostly dun and northern broken-dash - two of the three difficult to tell apart "witches".
  • In the Fern Glen, tall bellflower was being visited by a little green bee.
  • Spikenard was just beginning to bloom.
  • Wood nettle had a similar leaf, but one encounter is often enough to make the distinction.
  • It was just beginning to form its male flowers.
  • Back in the fens, swamp milkweed was blooming and being attended by "witches", mostly dun skippers.
  • Fall webworm was in the elderberry off the board walk's observation area.
  • Right next to it was a single blossom of square-stemmed monkey flower.
  • On one of the quieter paths, water parsnip, a recent arrival, was getting ready to bloom.
  • Below the deck over the creek was a pale blue flutter: a spring azure laying eggs on horsebalm.
  • A red admiral barged in and claimed a leaf in the sun.
  • By the little foot bridge, an ebony jewelwing was more refined in achieving the same.
  • At the front of the pond, lizard's tail was sweetening the air.
  • Wild mint you could smell when it was brushed against.
  • Around the corner, long awaited Turk's-cap lily had opened.
  • The cool, quiet Cary Pines trail lead to the "Appendix", where a blue jay had become a meal for perhaps a hawk.
  • All around in front of the bench, little volcanos had errupted. They were the homes of little burrowing bees.
  • Next week: the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
Black Swallowtail

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Chimney Swift
  • 2 Eastern Phoebe
  • 3 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 1 Blue Jay
  • 4 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 American Robin
  • 1 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 2 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 1 Field Sparrow
Butterflies
  • 1 Black Swallowtail
  • 2 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 3 Cabbage White
  • 1 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 Orange Sulphur
  • 1 Spring Azure
  • 14 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 5 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Red Admiral
  • 1 Red-spotted Purple
  • 1 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 2 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 1 Monarch
  • 11 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 1 Northern Broken-Dash
  • 7 Dun Skipper
Plants
  • 1 Bee balm
  • 1 Black swallowwort
  • 1 Butterfly weed
  • 1 Green-headed coneflower
  • 1 Spikenard
  • 1 Square-stemmed monkey-flower
  • 1 Tall bellflower
  • 1 Turk's-cap lily
Moth
  • 1 Hummingbird Clearwing
  • 2 Snowberry Clearwing

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