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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

  • It was 75°F, partly cloudy and calm at 2:00 PM on May 14, 2014.
  • It would cloud over but remain warm and calm.
  • First of the season butterflies included juniper hairstreak and meadow fritillary.
  • Birds have been coming back too - Canada warbler was a nice find.

The Trails

  • At Gifford House parking lot, lilacs were beginning to bloom.
  • A very few are of a much darker shade, which appeals more to me.
  • Along the edge of the first Old Hayfield, an old apple was blooming.
  • The high and dry section of the Sedge Meadow Trail was carpeted with dwarf cinquefoil in yellow and white.
  • Something dark was darting among them: a juniper hairstreak.
  • In the back Old Hayfield, the flowering dogwood along the edge could be seen across the field.
  • Zooming in showed some perfect fully open blossoms.
  • The benches were out on the trails again.
  • While taking advantage of the one in the Old Pasture, I noticed a nearby warbler call. A little patience and "pishing" produced a Canada warbler. Nice.
  • Gaywings surprise was at the Watershed kiosk on the Wappinger Creek Trail.
  • Farther along in the floodplain, a Juvinal's duskywing was patrolling the path.
  • Off the side, a large mushroom was growing out of a dead tree.
  • A sweet scent was in the air. It was the invasive Japanese barberry.
  • Out on the Cary Pines Trail, starflower had won the race to blossom with the Canada mayflower.
  • In the Fern Glen, one of the mystery perennials was blooming.
  • Some of the large-flowered trillium had been out long enough to take on a pink cast.
  • In the limestone cobble, wild blue phlox. had started to bloom.
  • Jacob's ladder was all about.
  • A favorite deer snack, Soloman's seal was ripening.
  • Along the pond, coming up like run away asparagas was carrion flower.
  • The tendrils make it pretty distinct.
  • At the front of the pond, golden Alexanders was budding up.
  • Hiding along the edge, a lone golden ragwort was starting to bloom.
  • Red baneberry was along the way to the fen.
  • On the wet side of the path, colt's foot was going to seed.
  • Color out in the poor fen caught my eye: some rhodora survived the winter's intense deer browse.
  • Right along the boardwalk, highbush blueberry was just starting to bloom.
  • Spreading globeflower appeared to be finishing.
  • Along the road to the stone bridge, interrupted fern was coming up.
  • The fertile interruptions in the otherwise sterile fronds were apparent.
  • Right by the kiosk, in spite of the overcast skies, a tiger swallowtail glided in.
  • Just in from the kiosk, mayapple was budding up.
  • So too, was everybody's favorite: large yellow lady's-slipper.
  • Way in the back of the Glen, looking a little like poison ivy with its shiny red leaves, was wild sarsaparilla.
  • The coming flower should remove any confusion between the two.
  • Heading towards the Old Gravel Pit, I found the big patch of hay-scented fern coming up.
  • Behind the Carriage House, fothergilla had really progressed since last week.
  • The blossoms seemed to have an alomst almond scent.
Lilacs

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 3 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 2 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 Warbling Vireo
  • 3 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 3 Blue Jay
  • 2 Tree Swallow
  • 5 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 House Wren
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 2 Veery
  • 3 Wood Thrush
  • 3 American Robin
  • 5 Gray Catbird
  • 1 European Starling
  • 1 Black-throated Green Warbler
  • 2 Pine Warbler
  • 2 Prairie Warbler
  • 5 Ovenbird
  • 1 Canada Warbler
  • 1 Scarlet Tanager
  • 8 Eastern Towhee
  • 4 Chipping Sparrow
  • 2 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 2 Northern Cardinal
  • 1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • 1 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 1 Brown-headed Cowbird
  • 1 Baltimore Oriole
  • 2 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 1 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 6 Cabbage White
  • 3 'Olive' Juniper Hairstreak
  • 4 Spring Azure
  • 1 Meadow Fritillary
  • 3 Juvenal's Duskywing
Plants
  • 1 Dwarf cinquefoil
  • 1 Flowering dogwood
  • 1 Fothergilla
  • 1 Gaywings
  • 1 Golden ragwort
  • 1 High bush blueberry
  • 1 Jacob's ladder
  • 1 Japanese barberry
  • 1 Lilac
  • 1 Mystery plant
  • 1 Rhodora
  • 1 Solomon's-seal
  • 1 Spreading globeflower
  • 1 Starflower
  • 1 Wild blue phlox
Moth
  • 1 Bluish spring moth
  • 1 White-striped Black

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 72°F and hazy at 1:15 PM on May 7, 2014.
  • No butterflies at all today - it got a bit gray.
  • Speaking of gray, the gray treefrog was calling at the Appendix and in the Old Gravel Pit.
  • Reminder: temperatures like this can really bring out the ticks.

The Trails

  • Starting in the Fern Glen again, I noticed the little patch of bluets by the kiosk corner of the pond was down to one tiny, but pretty flower.
  • At the entrance to the limestone cobble, starry false Soloman's-seal was just about to open.
  • Jack-in-the-pulpit was suddenly everywhere.
  • The miterwort or bishop's cap had opened its crazy little blossom.
  • At the top along the road, the viburnum hobblebush was blooming.
  • In the back of the shrub swamp, gaywings were about to pop.
  • So too the nearby goldthread.
  • The more I looked, the more found of the distinctive leaves. Our small patch has spread a little bit.
  • The service berry stopped me in my tracks.
  • A few days ago it was bare; today it was on its way towards full bloom.
  • A scan of the poor fen turned up leatherleaf.
  • Tucked in a corner the exotic, but polite paris was doing its strange thing.
  • Meanwhile, back in the cobble, the lone nodding trillium was fully open now.
  • Farther along, broad beech fern was fully unfurled.
  • Maidenhair fern was still working on it.
  • A little moth known to me only as Herptogramma thestealis was taking nectar from toothwort along the edge of the pond.
  • At the back of the pond, goldenseal was doing well this year.
  • Continuing towards the dam, I found a clump of early meadow rue cozy with a tree. For a moment, I'd thought it was columbine, which was slow to make an appearance this year.
  • Over my shoulder, I noticed the blue cohosh.
  • A closer look verified it had started to bloom.
  • It would be another day or two for the wild blue phlox, however.
  • Another pass through the shrub swamp, this time looking up, netted me the limber honeysuckle.
  • It too was budding and would remain something to look forward to for a few more days.
  • As I headed out of the 'Glen, I found across the street swelling buds on the azalea. Soon...
  • Out on the Cary Pines Trail, it was a race between the starflower and the Canada mayflower.
  • Toward the far end of the Wappinger Creek Trail, a pileated woodpecker had been making mulch out of a scarred maple.
  • On the way up the hill to the bluff, clumps of pussytoes were getting ready.
  • Heading for Gifford House on the Sedge Meadow Trail, I could see that the mowing season was under way.
  • Around the corner in the front Old Hayfield, a hen ring-necked pheasant was sneaking away.
  • At the Carriage House, fothergilla was budding up.
  • And there was the Bradford pear looking good too.
  • Something was exciting my nose along the path through the Old Gravel Pit .
  • It smelled like honeysuckle, but it wasn't open yet in there.
  • Garlic mustard was sitting there looking guilty, but didn't smell like much at all.
  • Giving up, I continued along to find that the bottom of the pit was finally dry.
  • And so was I; I headed home to fix that.
Bluets
Bluets
Starry false Soloman's-seal
Starry false Soloman's-seal

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Canada Goose
  • 2 Mallard
  • 2 Ring-necked Pheasant
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 2 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 2 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 4 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 5 Blue Jay
  • 9 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 3 Tufted Titmouse
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Veery
  • 4 American Robin
  • 1 Gray Catbird
  • 1 European Starling
  • 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • 1 Black-throated Green Warbler
  • 2 Pine Warbler
  • 1 American Redstart
  • 3 Ovenbird
  • 2 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 4 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 1 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
  • 2 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 2 American Goldfinch
Plants
  • 1 Blue cohosh
  • 1 Bluets
  • 1 Bradford pear
  • 1 Garlic mustard
  • 1 Goldenseal
  • 1 Goldthread
  • 1 Hobble-bush
  • 1 Jack-in-the-pulpit
  • 1 Leatherleaf
  • 1 Miterwort
  • 1 Paris
  • 1 Shadbush
Moth
  • Herptogramma thestealis

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