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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

  • This week's trail report covers the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
  • It was 73°F and cloudy at 11:00 AM on July 1, 2015.
  • Sundew had returned to the Fern Glen.
  • New butterfly arrivals included coral hairstreak, and little glassy-wing was rising in numbers.
  • Special guest appearance was a mourning cloak.

The Trails

  • This must have been the 5th walk in a row where it was a nice day following rain.
  • I had barely rolled to a stop when something flew across into the milkweed at Gifford House parking lot.
  • It remained in stealth mode just perching for a while before creeping up the stalk revealing its amazing blue body.
  • It was a wary Virginia ctenucha, a day flying moth, coming to feed on everybody's favorite, milkweed.
  • Speaking of feeding, the black raspberries, or as we always called them, black caps were going to be abundant this year.
  • Behind the Carriage House was stewartia, the curious combination of big flowers and sycamore style exfoliating bark.
  • Hiding under a milkweed leaf in the Little Bluestem Meadow was a favorite: one of the plume moths.
  • The dogbane patch was active with great spangled fritillaries and the common wood-nymph among others.
  • At the bottom of the Old Gravel Pit, the sap run was no longer, but a fallen tree was still attractive to butterflies, at that moment two eastern commas and a red admiral.
  • By the Fern Glen pond, Turk's-cap lily was still fattening its buds - I thought they'd be open today.
  • red-spotted newts were lounging at the water's surface.
  • One clump set back off the path, of purple-flowering raspberry had survived the pillage of the deer.
  • Sundew, a carnivorous plant, had returned after several years' absence. Very nice.
  • Swamp milkweed was budding up to follow common milkweed's flowering period.
  • Around the limestone cobble, lopseed was starting to produce its tiny flowers.
  • Spikenard was easy to miss on the way out of the 'Glen.
  • On the approach to the Appendix, as I like to call the area round Trail Marker 10, was another surprise: a mourning cloak. Not that they're rare, but you just don't always see them.
  • And when the sun went behind a cloud, it opened its wings to show off that rich burgundy color.
  • Next week we'll see what's happening on the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
Round-leaved Sundew

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Great Blue Heron
  • 1 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 4 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 5 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 7 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Wood Thrush
  • 9 American Robin
  • 1 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Pine Warbler
  • 1 Prairie Warbler
  • 3 Ovenbird
  • 1 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 2 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 2 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 2 Northern Cardinal
  • 1 Indigo Bunting
  • 1 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 1 Baltimore Oriole
  • 3 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 7 Cabbage White
  • 1 Clouded Sulphur
  • 2 Banded Hairstreak
  • 20 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 3 Eastern Comma
  • 1 Red Admiral
  • 8 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 8 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 4 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 14 Little Glassywing
Moth
  • 1 Virginia Ctenucha

Notes and Changes since last report

  • This week's trail report covers 1/2 the trail system - the Wappinger Creek Trail side. Next week will be the Cary Pines Trail side.
  • It was 80°F and partly cloudy at 2:30 PM on June 23, 2015.
  • Common milkweed was blooming.
  • New butterfly arrivals included common wood-nymph, northern pearly-eye and "the witches".
  • Special guest appearance was striped hairstreak.

The Trails

  • As expected, common milkweed was blooming at the edge of the Gifford House parking lot.
  • As my favorite nectar souce, it was host to a number of butterflies and other creatures. Common ringlet was one of them.
  • At the corner of the front Old Hayfield, the patch of pink yarrow was in bloom.
  • The striped hairstreak was in several locations today; it is not nearly as common as the banded hairstreak.
  • Great spangled fritillary was out in big numbers in all the big fields.
  • In the woods, along the Wappinger Creek Trail, any sunny spot with broad leaves was a good place to look for banded hairstreaks.
  • Instead of spreading their wings open to the sun, they lean over to be perpendicular to the sun's rays - "lateral basking" they call it.
  • Compared to the striped, the banded hairstreak's bands are narrower and it lacks the red cap on the blue spot.
  • They'll perch on their own spots and when another comes by, they all errupt in a zig-zag spiral.
  • Just a few mushrooms were around. One was nicely illuminated along the side of the trail.
  • At the Watersheds kiosk, shinleaf was blooming.
  • Next week: surprises in the Fern Glen.
Mushroom in the sun

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Mourning Dove
  • 1 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 2 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 5 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 Eastern Kingbird
  • 5 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 3 Tree Swallow
  • 5 Veery
  • 2 Wood Thrush
  • 1 American Robin
  • 5 Gray Catbird
  • 4 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Yellow Warbler
  • 1 Prairie Warbler
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 2 Scarlet Tanager
  • 3 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 4 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 1 Indigo Bunting
  • 3 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 3 Baltimore Oriole
  • 1 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 10 Cabbage White
  • 21 Banded Hairstreak
  • 2 Striped Hairstreak
  • 3 Spring Azure
  • 51 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 8 Meadow Fritillary
  • 2 Eastern Comma
  • 1 Northern Pearly-eye
  • 1 Appalachian Brown
  • 7 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 2 Common Ringlet
  • 1 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 4 European Skipper
  • 1 Northern Broken-Dash
  • 6 Little Glassywing
Plants
  • 1 Common milkweed
  • 1 Purple-flowering raspberry
  • 1 Shinleaf
  • 1 Swamp candles
  • 1 Yarrow
Moth
  • 1 Virginia Ctenucha

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