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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 70°F, overcast and calm at 10:30 AM on August 31, 2016.
  • This week's trail report covers the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
  • A gray, sprinkley day made for a quiet butterfly day - except for a Leonard's skipper.
  • The wild bergamot was really winding down.

The Trails

  • The New York iron weed off the far end of the Gifford House parking lot was looking good.
  • A dead moth or two made me look up.
  • Sure enough, a flower spider was lurking above.
  • The goldenrods in the front Old Hayfield were starting to show their age.
  • American goldfinch were hard to see in there, especially the females.
  • Black swallowwort pods were starting to ripen - indeed, one had opened.
  • The extensive roots and shoots in waiting mean pulling would be ineffective.
  • And it'll be back if the whole rhizome isn't removed - it can break or sometimes there's a gap to fake you out.
  • A few common wood-nymphs were out today.
  • The wild bergamot was getting tired. The few blooming stands were covered with great spangled fritillaries.
  • Dogbanes had stopped flowering a few weeks ago, but rather than looking tired they were forming pods.
  • A Leonard's skipper was trying to catch some of the weak sun and wouldn't show its distinctive underside. I confess I was assuming it was just another Peck's until I double checked at home.
  • Purple loosestrife was throughout the Sedge Meadow.
  • Earlier, a large owl (maybe) had fled through the tree line from the front to the back Old Hayfield.
  • High in a maple lurked a large fungus instead.
  • Under foot were tiny moths that typically blend in with the grass stalks that they cling to.
  • On the Wappinger Creek Trail, I backed up to check the fungus on the broken tree from weeks before.
  • It was all but gone. I must have missed it.
  • Perhaps I shall have another chance - it appeared a new one was growing.
  • Next week: the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
Leonard's Skipper

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Great Blue Heron
  • 1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 2 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 7 Blue Jay
  • 1 American Crow
  • 1 Common Raven
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 House Wren
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Veery
  • 1 Wood Thrush
  • 3 American Robin
  • 4 Gray Catbird
  • 2 Eastern Towhee
  • 4 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Indigo Bunting
  • 9 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 6 Cabbage White
  • 2 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 29 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Pearl Crescent
  • 7 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 1 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 1 Leonard's Skipper

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 85°F, clear and breezy at 1:00 PM on August 24, 2016.
  • This week's trail report covers the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
  • Spicebush swallowtails were dropping off in numbers after a great run this season.
  • The dogbane patch in the Little Bluestem Meadow was winding down too.

The Trails

  • A monarch was milling about the Gifford parking lot in the mowed grass under the light poles. I wonder what the attraction was - this wasn't the first time I've seen this.
  • After so many spicebush swallowtails this year, a male black swallowtail really stood out by the Carriage House.
  • Along the Little Bluestem Meadow, a milkweed tussock moth caterpillar was working on some new leaves.
  • The dogbane patch in the Little Bluestem Meadow was almost gone after a good run this year.
  • It always seems odd to find a dragonfly far from water, this one in the Old Gravel Pit.
  • White snakeroot was starting to bloom along the path there too.
  • A popular bird perch is on the left side as the path rises and swings left.
  • The whitewash is here every year, but I've never seen a bird.
  • It could be that the view from the branches above covers the trail well in both directions.
  • On the approach to the Fern Glen, something flew up out of the grass and landed on an oak leaf - it was a very fashionable looking bug of some kind.
  • In the 'Glen right by the kiosk, zig-zag goldenrod was beginning to bloom.
  • On the pond side of the kiosk, that sprawling vine, groundnut was now blooming.
  • Closer to the pond, bottle gentian (or closed gentian) was blooming. The name explains it all.
  • Towards the back of the pond, New York ironweed was still going strong, pulling in fritillaries and bees.
  • Around the limestone cobble, great lobelia was still holding up too.
  • Back under the hemlocks near the deck, mushrooms tall and flat were nearly side by side.
  • Off by itself was a coral fungus.
  • The Cary Pines Trail had a good variety as well, including an almost punky mushroom.
  • Next week: the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
Black Swallowtail

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 4 Blue Jay
  • 3 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 House Wren
  • 2 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 American Robin
  • 1 Field Sparrow
  • 5 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 1 Black Swallowtail
  • 1 Spicebush Swallowtail
  • 5 Cabbage White
  • 15 Clouded Sulphur
  • 2 Orange Sulphur
  • 8 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 2 Pearl Crescent
  • 2 Monarch
  • 3 Least Skipper
Caterpillars
  • 1 Milkweed tussock moth
Plants
  • 1 Bottle gentian
  • 1 Groundnut
  • 1 White snakeroot
  • 1 Zigzag goldenrod

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