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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 50°F, overcast and windy at 12:00 PM on October 22, 2014.
  • Again, I hoped to beat the forecasted rain with an early start; it began to sprinkle just at the end. OK.
  • The grounds close for the season at the end of the month - that's next week - and reopen April 1.
  • This will be the last trail report of this season.

The Trails

  • It looked like a bleak November day across the front Old Hayfield by Gifford House.
  • A downy woodpecker worked its way across the road, parking lot, then field.
  • Along the dry side of the Sedge Meadow Trail, a song sparrow perched with a look of astonishment on its face.
  • Farther along, several puffballs were coming up.
  • On the wet side of the Trail, I thought I heard a blue-headed vireo, but found a fox sparrow instead.
  • On the way to the Old Pasture was a familiar mushroom; I always think of pierogis when I see them.
  • This week I offer the "other view" from the bluff over the Wappinger Creek.
  • At the foot bridge on the approach to the Appendix (the area of trail marker 10) witch's butter was appearing on a dead branch.
  • Next to it, another but very different fungus was on another piece of wood.
  • In the Fern Glen, spicebush was holding onto its golden leaves.
  • Usually inconspicuous, Maple-leaved viburnum was sporting that blue aura over pink that I've come to recognize.
  • A fine mist began to fall as I discussed the past week, summer, and season with a passer by. We went on our ways.
  • We'll discuss the winter in April.

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 5 Mourning Dove
  • 2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 3 Downy Woodpecker
  • 7 Blue Jay
  • 1 American Crow
  • 1 Common Raven
  • 8 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 2 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 26 American Robin
  • 1 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Fox Sparrow
  • 2 Song Sparrow
  • 30 Dark-eyed Junco
  • 2 Northern Cardinal

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 75°F, cloudy and windy at 11:15 AM on October 15, 2014.
  • I hoped to beat the forecasted rain with an early start; sun and sprinkles fell in equal amounts. Nice.
  • More leaves had fallen since last week, but those remaining... may have been close to peak.
  • The grounds close for the season at the end of October.

The Trails

  • The sky over the front Old Hayfield was typical of the whole walk: occasional patches of blue, occasional sprinkles.
  • Behind the Carriage House, fothergilla was turning dark red and I recalled its little white Buckingham-palace-guard-hat blossoms of spring.
  • A scan of the sky yielded flat wings, not the V of the earlier turkey vulture.
  • The wedge shaped tail of my first impression was not in the photo... so much for raven, but a little adjustment of brightness and contrast made obvious that it was a red-tailed hawk.
  • Back on earth, the larger Stewartia was almost the same red as the fothergilla next to it.
  • Looking around again, I found blue skies and company approaching.
  • From view from the Scotch Pine Alleé was different with the Little Bluestem Meadow mowed.
  • A wood frog jumped across our path in the Old Gravel Pit.
  • It was as easy to loose as last week's sulphur... It's in the center, of course.
  • Another find was a dead blister beetle. I'm guessing something tried to eat it and won't try again.
  • I almost squashed some little mushrooms right behind me.
  • Eastern commas were still at the sap run, one in pretty good shape and another missing most of a hindwing.
  • The colors in some places were amazing.
  • Right at the Fern Glen parking lot was one of the nicest displays.
  • On the bridge, a runner wearing bright red was almost invisible.
  • By the Fern Glen pond, I sought out last week's scrawny wahoo sapling.
  • Yes, the saddleback caterpillar was still there, too.
  • The Appendix (Trail Marker 10) was good for lunch and birding. White-throated sparrows were many but avoided open spaces.
  • Across the Wappinger Creek by the recently fallen oak was a wall of spicebush... and a spreading carpet of Japanese stilt grass. Let's take this picture next year and compare.
  • I always like the view from the bluff over the Wappinger Creek.
  • The Sedge Meadow seemed bigger with so many leaves down.
  • But that winterberry in the corner was holding onto its yellowing leaves making the berries really stand out.
  • Just around the corner was the entrance to the back Old Hayfield.
  • And soon my exit.
Fern Glen foliage

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Great Blue Heron
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 5 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 4 Blue Jay
  • 2 American Crow
  • 24 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 3 Tufted Titmouse
  • 5 Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 4 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 Brown Creeper
  • 1 Carolina Wren
  • 5 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 3 Eastern Bluebird
  • 3 Hermit Thrush
  • 1 American Robin
  • 6 White-throated Sparrow
  • 1 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 2 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 Orange Sulphur
  • 2 Eastern Comma
Caterpillars
  • 1 Saddleback caterpillar

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