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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 56°F, breezy and misting at 2:00 PM on September 30, 2015.
  • This was the middle of a cool, rainy week; suddenly it was Fall.
  • Mushrooms have been waiting for this...

The Trails

  • Mist hanging in the air behind the Gifford Carriage House was a good indicator of how the walk would be today.
  • Something was in the road coming towards me.
  • Not a skunk, but a cat - a healthy looking one. It snuck off at my approach.
  • Virginia creeper was lighting up on the Scots Pine Alleé.
  • Colors really come out on a gray day. The Little Bluestem Meadow's namesake grass was glowing.
  • That muted red might have been oak starting up.
  • The promise of bright yellow to come was clearly maple.
  • Dogbanes in the adjacent field were a bright, pale yellow.
  • The first of the expected bounty of mushrooms was in the Old Gravel Pit.
  • Little parasols were not much farther along the way.
  • A big downed maple had quite the colony of a shelf fungus.
  • The margin of each "ear" had a glowing violet edge.
  • Something else was well past its prime, reminding me of how I *don't* like my eggs.
  • In the Fern Glen's fen, poison sumac was putting on a nice display with cinnamon fern helping in the foreground and spicebush in the background.
  • In spite of 3-1/2 inches of rain overnight, the creek under the bridge was not the torrent one might have expected.
  • Nearby, Indian cucumber root had an interesting way of making its fruit obvious.
  • A large mushroom was hidden behind the kiosk.
  • Not so hidden in the pond were several red-spotted newts.
  • On the Cary Pines Trail, a dead hemlock had come down.
  • By the big snag farther ahead, red maple seedlings made a colorful carpet.
  • At the approach to the "Appendix", tiny mushrooms were like scattered popcorn on the ground.
  • Inspected down and close, they turned out to be quite interesting.
  • Next week: the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
Tiny mushrooms

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 2 Downy Woodpecker
  • 4 Blue Jay
  • 5 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 American Robin
  • 40 European Starling
Butterflies
  • 1 Cabbage White

Notes and Changes since last report

  • This week's trail report covers the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
  • It was 72°F, mostly clear and breezy at 3:00 PM on September 23, 2015.
  • It was another quiet, but pleasant late summer day.

The Trails

  • Right next to the parking spot at Gifford House was a vaguely familiar plant.
  • Ground cherry, I wondered? No, velvetleaf, but it was on the same page...
  • A mass of birds abandoned the thistle - now all seeds - on the approach to the Carriage House.
  • Around the back, magnolia was fruiting.
  • The path entering the Old Gravel Pit section was thick with fallen leaves - hard to ignore.
  • At the edge of the Fern Glen, a tiny, metallic green bee was preening itself on a sunny leaf.
  • Farther along, a spider with interesting eye spots was dining in its shelter.
  • At the pond, a painted turtle was enjoying the last rays of the day.
  • Spotted touch-me-not exploding seed pods at the back of the pond waited for a passerby to brush against them.
  • Down on the water's surface was quite the congregation of water striders.
  • Wreath goldenrod was blooming along the trail to the back. This and zig-zag are the two woodland species that I find fairly easy to ID.
  • Maple-leaved viburnum's un-maple-like berries were robust this year.
  • Along the boardwalk through the fen, little remained of the witch hazel that was recently host to fall webworm.
  • There was one left on a neighboring shrub.
  • Around the corner was speckled alder with catkins already waiting for spring.
  • More leaves reduced to veins. I'de been hoping for some big caterpillars that would be getting ready to pass the winter.
  • Close, but no cigar, sawfly larvae are interesting caterpillar-like creatures. Sometimes when disturbed, they all wave their abdomens in unison.
  • Deeper in the shrub swamp, winterberry and spicebush were showing off bright red berries.
  • On the way out, Solomon's seal and false Solomon's seal were now quite distinct from each other.
  • Cary Pines Trail is usually quiet. But it has its moments.
  • Next week: the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
Water Striders

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 4 Eastern Phoebe
  • 10 Blue Jay
  • 3 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 2 Tufted Titmouse
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 House Wren
  • 2 Eastern Bluebird
  • 5 American Robin
  • 1 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Cedar Waxwing
  • 5 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
Butterflies
  • 15 Cabbage White
  • 4 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 Orange Sulphur
  • 1 Spring Azure
  • 1 Great Spangled Fritillary
Plants
  • 1 Velvetleaf
  • 1 Wreath goldenrod

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