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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 mostly cloudy, windy, humid and around 80°F at 10:30 PM on May 27, 2015.
  • The sun was in and out several times with threatening skies in between.
  • New plants blooming had slowed down last week, but new butterfly arrivals really took off this week.
  • It wouldn't hurt to mention that ticks were around as well...

The Trails

  • Spittlebugs were dotting the bedstraws in the front Old Hayfield at Gifford House.
  • Along the roadway to the back of the Carriage House stood a lone clump of dame's rocket - the invasive immitation of phlox.
  • Right behind the Carriage House beautybush and rhododendron were blooming.
  • In a quiet corner, pink lady's-slipper was up.
  • One of the Scots Pines was sporting a familiar looking fungus.
  • A closer look to get the details was in order.
  • Spotting butterflies is easy when the sun is out and they are active, but photoing them is easier when the sun is behind clouds and they are perched with wings open waiting for the sun's warmth.
  • In the Little Bluestem Meadow, one of this week's arrivals, the little wood-satyr, gave views both above and below.
  • Penstemon or beardtongue was blooming along the road to the Fern Glen.
  • It was now easy to compare true and False Solomon's-seal with both blooming.
  • Common alumroot could also be compared with the much smaller bishop's cap or miterwort.
  • Along the way to the back of the 'Glen, maple-leaved viburnum was getting ready to bloom.
  • On the other side of the path, the alien, but well behaved Paris was already blooming.
  • Back in the poor fen, a "perennial favorite", pitcher plant was well on its way.
  • In numerous locations, red baneberry was becoming easy to distinguish from it's stout seed stemmed cogenitor, white baneberry.
  • Along the path to the stone bridge, the tiny lily, Indian cucumber root was preparing to flower.
  • Right on the stone bridge was a white-striped black, a handsome day-flying moth that rarely sits still.
  • The golden Alexanders by the pond had caught up with its peers in the Old Hayfields.
  • Speaking of pond, at least the painted turtle had to be sunning itself on a log.
  • A surprise was right at the edge of the road on the way out of the 'Glen: an eastern pine elfin. I feared the one day of real spring we had was it for them.
  • Birding was good along the Wappinger Creek Trail, especially at the Appendix, as I like to call the area around trail marker 10. No "lifers", just a nice mix.
  • The Old Pasture was pretty warm. Butterflies that did not want to sit included Juvinal's duskywing, American copper and spring azure.
  • One that did cooperate was American lady offering a peek below as well as above.
  • In the cool of the Sedge Meadow Trail, an American carrion beetle dropped to the ground in front of me, although no carrion was obvious to me.
  • In the Sedge Meadow proper, larger blue flag was up.
  • At that entrance to the back Old Hayfield was a plant unknown to me. Looking it up later was not simple either. I'll put in a vote for field pennycress and keep an eye on it.
  • Following the flutter of a little black and white moth led to the usual result.
  • It spooked and just for a moment revealed it self: a white-spotted sable moth.
  • Pearl crescents were numerous this day, but they were still making more. The female is the larger, more well marked of the two.
  • Back in the cool of the Sedge Meadow Trail, burning bush was blooming inconspicuously. Of course, it was its fall foliage that got this invasive in the door.
  • Up along the high section, a common ringlet paused in the sun.
  • An engine in crescendo urged me to be quick: it was the anonymous mower - a modern day version of the headless horseman.
  • In the front Old Hayfield, a good size caterpillar was working on an invasive honeysuckle bush. That's a good caterpillar - probably one of the tiger moths.
  • Right at my feet was a stand of one-flowered cancerroot - one of those parasitic, chlorophyll free plants.
  • A tiny blur of orange went by; I couldn't believe it landed where I could see it; it was a female Peck's skipper - a great way to end a walk on a hot, sticky day...
  • ... well, next to a shower and a G&T.
White-spotted sable moth

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Mallard
  • 2 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 6 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 3 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 2 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 Yellow-throated Vireo
  • 9 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 1 Blue Jay
  • 2 American Crow
  • 2 Common Raven
  • 3 Tree Swallow
  • 3 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 3 Brown Creeper
  • 9 Veery
  • 1 Wood Thrush
  • 6 American Robin
  • 6 Gray Catbird
  • 1 European Starling
  • 4 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Chestnut-sided Warbler
  • 2 Pine Warbler
  • 2 Prairie Warbler
  • 2 American Redstart
  • 7 Ovenbird
  • 2 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 1 Scarlet Tanager
  • 4 Eastern Towhee
  • 6 Chipping Sparrow
  • 2 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 1 Indigo Bunting
  • 2 Brown-headed Cowbird
  • 1 Baltimore Oriole
  • 2 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 1 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 6 Cabbage White
  • 7 Clouded Sulphur
  • 3 American Copper
  • 1 Eastern Pine Elfin
  • 1 Spring Azure
  • 1 Meadow Fritillary
  • 42 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 American Lady
  • 2 Red Admiral
  • 31 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 32 Common Ringlet
  • 6 Juvenal's Duskywing
  • 1 Peck's Skipper
  • 1 Hobomok Skipper
Caterpillars
  • 1 Tiger moth
Insects
  • 1 American carrion beetle
Plants
  • 1 Beardtongue
  • 1 Beauty bush
  • 1 Burning bush
  • 1 Common alumroot
  • 1 Dame's rocket
  • 1 False Soloman's-seal
  • 1 Larger blue flag
  • 1 One-flowered cancer-root
  • 1 Paris
  • 1 Pink lady's-slipper
  • 1 Pitcher plant
  • 1 Rhododendron
  • 1 Star-of-Bethlehem
  • 1 Field pennycress?
Moth
  • 1 White-spotted sable moth

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was mostly cloudy, windy and 55°F at 1:45 PM on May 20, 2015.
  • And I was complaining about 60° last week...
  • But when the sun came out this time, a few butterflies were seen.
  • Rush hour was over: not thay many new plants were flowering.
  • Some things have been setting seed e.g., twinleaf, Dutchman's breeches, bloodroot.

The Trails

  • Having been stung by a bumble bee this morning, I was particularly aware of them today.
  • Something wasn't quite right about the one that flew by and landed in the front Old Hayfield.
  • The snowberry clearwing is also called bumble bee moth.
  • I was half way down the path when I realized I was surrounded by creeping buttercup.
  • Here and there were patches of bird's-eye speedwell.
  • A tree swallow was eyeing me as I headed for the Sedge Meadow Trail.
  • There I would find hooked crowfoot, another buttercup, one with tiny petals.
  • At the edge of the Sedge Meadow itself a pair of mating craneflies was sitting out while others danced up and down in columns in the air.
  • That Russian olive in the back Old Hayfield was blooming by now.
  • Common barberry, In the back of that field, is less common than Japanese barberry, but both are invasive.
  • A redstart was calling from the short cut to the Wappinger Creek.
  • At ground level wild geranium was a little easier to photo.
  • Back out in the sunny field was golden Alexanders.
  • Along the Wappinger Creek Trail, yellow-throated vireo, and great crested flycatcher were calling.
  • Waaaay up ahead a lone female common merganser was patrolling. Love that hair.
  • In the Fern glen, swamp azalea was sweetening the air.
  • A surprise farther back in the fen was limber honeysuckle. I hadn't seen even buds last week.
  • Maybe next week will be warmer, but please, not too much...
Swamp Azalea

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Common Merganser
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 3 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 1 Great Crested Flycatcher
  • 1 Yellow-throated Vireo
  • 10 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 1 American Crow
  • 1 Tree Swallow
  • 1 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Brown Creeper
  • 3 Wood Thrush
  • 9 American Robin
  • 5 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Prairie Warbler
  • 1 American Redstart
  • 1 Ovenbird
  • 1 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 1 Scarlet Tanager
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 3 Chipping Sparrow
  • 1 Field Sparrow
  • 2 Song Sparrow
  • 1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • 1 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 1 Baltimore Oriole
  • 3 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 2 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Eastern Comma
Plants
  • 1 Bird's-eye speedwell
  • 1 Buttercup
  • 1 Common barberry
  • 1 Golden Alexanders
  • 1 Hooked crowfoot
  • 1 Limber honeysuckle
  • 1 Swamp azalea
  • 1 Wild geranium
Moth
  • 1 Snowberry Clearwing
  • 1 White-banded toothed carpet
  • 1 White-striped Black

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