trail map

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 75°F, partly cloudy and calm at 1:30 PM on September 4, 2013.
  • Yesterday ended a stretch of warm, humid weather punctuated with thunder showers.
  • Some interesting insects today.
  • Mosquitoes weren't even that bad in the Old Gravel Pit.

The Trails

  • Skys were blue and the air was dry and cool over the front Old Hayfield.
  • A praying mantis landed in the path not far in front of me.
  • A number of eastern tailed-blues scampered at ankle height as I continued.
  • On the Sedge Meadow Trail, a crane fly floated across coming to rest on a little branch.
  • In the back of the back Old Hayfield, an immature bug was perched on the fruit of an ironwood.
  • While retracing my steps on the Sedge Meadow Trail, I was surprised by a great spangled fritillary sitting in a tiny patch of sun.
  • In the Old Pasture, a thread-legged bug landed next to the bench. Floating in the air, spread legged, with white joints, it made me think phantom crane fly when I first encountered one. A few seasons passed before I was able to follow one until it landed; it looked like a walking stick! The next time it happened, a passing visitor exclaimed wonder that walking sticks could fly. A little research turned up that indeed one species can... in Florida. Now it went from a simple ID challenge to a mystery. When one turned up at a porch light, I did too - with a jar. The turning point was when it ignored its standard pet food, lettuce, and I realized it had piercing/sucking, not chewing mouth parts - and raptorial forelegs, like a praying mantis: this was no vegetarian! I turned my inqueries to the true bugs and lo and behold, we finally had a match: the short-winged thread-legged bug - its genus being in the assassin bug family.
  • Across from the bench, a not the regular garden spider was tending its web.
  • A large, green grasshopper crash landed and became invisible in the path.
  • I knew there had to be an American copper around, and when it finally showed up I could move on.
  • As the path headed into the woods for the creek, a caterpillar, illuminated by a beam of sun, dangled on a silk thread, rolling it into a ball to winch itself back up into its tree.
  • Farther along the path a white wood aster was nicely lit up.
  • Towards the end of the Cary Pines Trail, a barberry geometer let me get just a couple shots.
  • In the Fern Glen was a hillside of ragweed. The pollen from its tiny male flowers is considered the main cause of hay fever.
  • The view of ostrich fern across the pond was striking.
  • From the boardwalk across the fen, turtlehead could be seen on both sides.
  • Arrow-leaved tearthumb was blooming, too.
  • Swamp milkweed had finished blooming and was now forming seed pods.
  • Boneset had been blooming since July and looked like it would continue for a while.
  • It's always a little hard to tell if beggar-ticks are coming or going - their ray flowers - "petals" are usually insignificant.
  • Mixed in with that was Bur-marigold, a more convincing flower in the same genus.
  • Only one of the saddleback caterpillars could be found today. It was fat.
  • In the Old Gravel Pit, fall webworm had a nest in honeysuckle.
  • As I neared the Carriage House on the Scotch Pine Alleé, something flew across my path. Large as a fritillary, but brown and erratic as a hackberry, it had my attention... It landed on a tree... It was one of the catocala underwing moths. They hide well against tree bark, but in the gap between its folded forewings was the slightest hint of smouldering ember that is the orange hind wing that gives the group their name. Wary and fast, they explode into flight when disturbed with a startling display of the hind wings. It would only let me get just so close. And when I tried to follow it, even less close.
  • But my dinner was close so I was gone, too.
Front Old Hayfield
Praying mantis
Eastern tailed-blue male
Crane fly
Immature bug on ironwood fruit
Great spangled fritillary
Short-winged thread-legged bug
Short-winged thread-legged bug
Not a regular garden spider
Grasshopper
Caterpillar on a thread
White wood aster
Barberry geometer
Common ragweed
Common ragweed
Ostrich fern
Turtlehead
Arrow-leaved tearthumb
Swamp milkweed pods
Boneset
Beggar-ticks
Bur-marigold
Saddleback caterpillar
Fall webworm nest
One of the Catocala underwings

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 2 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 2 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 6 Blue Jay
  • 2 American Crow
  • 1 Common Raven
  • 5 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 3 Tufted Titmouse
  • 3 House Wren
  • 4 American Robin
  • 4 Gray Catbird
  • 2 Cedar Waxwing
  • 2 Eastern Towhee
  • 8 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
Butterflies
  • 71 Cabbage White
  • 36 Clouded Sulphur
  • 23 Orange Sulphur
  • 1 American Copper
  • 6 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 8 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 5 Meadow Fritillary
  • 36 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Eastern Comma
  • 2 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 16 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 1 Least Skipper
  • 1 Peck's Skipper
  • 3 Zabulon Skipper
Caterpillars
  • 1 Fall webworm
Insects
  • 1 Praying mantis
  • 1 Thread-legged bug
Plants
  • 1 Arrow-leaved tearthumb
  • 1 Beggar-ticks
  • 1 Bur-marigold
  • 1 Turtlehead
Moth
  • 1 Barberry geometer
  • 1 Catocala Underwing
  • 1 Snowberry Clearwing

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 80°F, partly cloudy and calm at 1:30 PM on August 28, 2013.
  • Fruits were ripening.
  • Mosquitoes continued their decline with only a few thick spots.
  • A promethea moth was in the road on the way home. Does that count?

The Trails

  • Lifeless, in the vast expanse of the hot Gifford House parking lot was a galium sphinx caterpillar.
  • At the edge of a dried puddle behind the Carriage House was a lively group of 10 pearl crescents.
  • The sky from the Scotch Pine Alleé was dramatic this afternoon.
  • The nannyberry along the edge of the Little Bluestem Meadow that faked me out in May was now bearing fruit.
  • Right at its base, those of Japanese barberry were ripening.
  • Behind me was a view across the goldenrods of Gifford House.
  • Ahead was the bare oak against that sky.
  • And then it was into the Old Gravel Pit - mosquito haven... I was keeping ahead of them until something rose from the side of the path. A fresh red admiral.
  • There were a number in the Fern Glen pestering me as I examined newly opened groundnut.
  • I was careful about shooing them away as I observed how the saddleback caterpillars had gotten bigger.
  • Mixed in with the poison sumac and highbush blueberry was ripening bittersweet nightshade.
  • On the way out was a perfect maple-leaved viburnum with fruit.
  • Out on the Cary Pines Trail just before joining the Wappinger Creek Trail were some fine fungal fruiting bodies, otherwise known as mushrooms.
  • At the footbridge below the Appendix (Trail Marker 10 area) was a plant that I'd been avoiding. It looked like a nettle but wasn't either of the two I knew.
  • OK, leaves opposite and well toothed. Flowers dense and undistinguished in the leaf axils... False nettle said the book!
  • Something else kind of prickley looking flew by towards the upstream end of the Wappinger Creek Trail. Some kind of crane fly I would guess, judging by the legs .
  • Gray dogwood berries were no mystery in the Old Pasture. Dark clouds started calling, and a welcome cool wind picked up; I moved on.
  • From the back Old Hayfield, the clouds looked impressive, but benign.
  • A little gray ball hiding amongst the monarda caught my eye and provoked curiosity. Then the spider web in the neighboring hollow explained all.
  • A big gray ball had been getting bigger. I kept curiosity at a distance and made sure not to provoke the lone guard on duty.
  • My duty was done; I went home.
  • OK, it wasn't on the Trails, but it COULD have been... a male promethea moth. I don't see these often at all.
Galium sphinx caterpillar
Pearl crescents "mud puddling"
View from the Scotch Pine Alleé
Nannyberry
Nannyberry
Groundnut
Saddleback caterpillars
Poison sumac
Maple-leaved viburnum
Mushrooms
False nettle
False nettle
False nettle
Crane fly?
Gray dogwood berries
Male promethea moth

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Wild Turkey
  • 2 Black Vulture
  • 2 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • 2 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 4 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 3 Blue Jay
  • 1 American Crow
  • 9 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Carolina Wren
  • 1 House Wren
  • 1 American Robin
  • 4 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Black-throated Green Warbler
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 2 Northern Cardinal
  • 1 House Finch
  • 5 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 3 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 1 Spicebush Swallowtail
  • 26 Cabbage White
  • 19 Clouded Sulphur
  • 4 Orange Sulphur
  • 1 American Copper
  • 2 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 7 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Meadow Fritillary
  • 17 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Red Admiral
  • 1 Common Ringlet
  • 8 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 8 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 6 Least Skipper
  • 1 Peck's Skipper
  • 8 Zabulon Skipper
Caterpillars
  • 1 Galium sphinx
Plants
  • 1 False nettle
  • 1 Groundnut

Pages

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

Privacy Policy Copyright © 2014