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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 whole trail system.
  • It was 64°F, cloudy and blustery at 2:00 PM on October 9, 2015.
  • After 1-1/4" of rain yesterday the creeks were up but not as swollen as expected.
  • This is the last trail report of this season. The grounds will be closed Nov. 1 and will reopen April 1.

The Trails

  • It was wild and blustery as I headed towards the Carriage House.
  • Invasive oriental bittersweet had been hiding along the side of the road, but was now making its fruit obvious.
  • Magnolia buds seemed to lean defiantly into the wind.
  • Behind the Carriage House, blue appeared in the sky to brighten the remaining leaves on the hills.
  • In the Old Gravel pit, burning bush and Japanese barberry were easy to spot: they still had their leaves and they were colorful.
  • Sometimes a mechanism that gives invasives an advantage (like early or late leaves) also helps in fighting them - here by making even small plants obvious for removal.
  • Burning bush can take over the understory.
  • In the Fern Glen, a hearty fly was clinging to a brochure box.
  • And a hearty American green frog was in the shallows of the pond.
  • The golden leaves were striking on the blackening water.
  • For a moment I feared a black swallowwort vine had escaped my notice - it was a native clematis, virgin's bower.
  • I didn't remember a tree with leaves so small.
  • Those "leaves" were the strange fruit of ironwood.
  • Deeper in the 'Glen, I was surrounded by still colorful beech.
  • Along the road out of the 'Glen, the muted colors of oaks were dominating.
  • At the "Appendix", those maples were still hanging on to their brilliance.
  • Just beyond in the floodplane was a good example of Japanese barberry taking over the understory.
  • I paused to look back at the view down stream.
  • Then I looked down the bank to find a snapping turtle swimming by.
  • It paused to look up at me...
  • In the depths of the Sedge Meadow Trail was another bully of understory and fields: honeysuckle. The several bushy Asian species keep their leaves in production after others have fallen.
  • And in the back Old Hayfield, most leaves had indeed fallen.
  • The winds had taken care of the leaves covering the Sedge Meadow boardwalk.
  • I should have such luck at home.
  • Until April...
Snapping turtle

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Turkey vulture
  • 2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 3 Blue Jay
  • 8 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 3 Tufted Titmouse
  • 3 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 American Robin
  • 2 Dark-eyed Junco
  • 1 American Goldfinch

Notes and Changes since last report

  • This week's trail report covers the whole trail system.
  • It was 56°F, cloudy and calm at 9:45 AM on October 21, 2015, warming up to 62 by noon.
  • A lot of leaves were on the ground now, but it's not over yet.
  • Reminder: the grounds will be closing for the season at the end of this month.

The Trails

  • The front Old Hayfield had lost much of the color around the edge.
  • If the leaves were going, some of the birds were still around: an eastern bluebird was still hanging around the bluebird boxes.
  • In fact, there was a whole family of maybe 5.
  • Among the accompanying birds were a few yellow-rumped warblers.
  • A surprise was butter and eggs still blooming.
  • Along the Sedge Meadow Trail was a more sobering sight: goldenrods going to seed... it was indeed getting late in the season.
  • The back Old Hayfield had also dropped leaves along its edge.
  • Sun peeked out for a moment in the Old Pasture.
  • It was feeling warm enough to enjoy the cool of the wooded Wappinger Creek Trail while taking in the view from the bluff.
  • My favorite view was just a few steps farther.
  • At the bottom of the hill, the scent of witch hazel was quite strong. This time I finally spotted the source. It was just hanging over the water.
  • Way in the distance downstream I could barely make out the call of a raven. I would later find two in the Fern Glen.
  • At the Appendix, a small but brilliant maple was reflected in the calm water. I remembered it doing the same last year.
  • I got low down on the road to the Fern Glen to admire the fallen leaves.
  • Up to this point I'd been hearing chipmunks giving the alarm call at every bend on every path. This one appeared to be charging me! I was saved only by a passing car. No, we all got away alive.
  • At the edge of the Fern Glen pond, bull frogs were quietly waiting for their prey to pass too close.
  • I carefull skirted them, completed my inspection of the 'Glen and headed out through the Old Gravel Pit, to exit into the Little Bluestem Meadow.
  • The view of the Gifford House held me for a while. And I finally spotted a butterfly.
  • Only two weekends left before the trails close...
Yellow-rumped warbler

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 2 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 13 Blue Jay
  • 1 American Crow
  • 2 Common Raven
  • 6 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 2 Tufted Titmouse
  • 3 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 5 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Hermit Thrush
  • 6 American Robin
  • 1 European Starling
  • 4 Cedar Waxwing
  • 4 Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 10 Dark-eyed Junco
  • 1 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 2 Clouded Sulphur

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