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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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  • It started at 82°F, cloudy, and windy at 2:30 PM on August 2, 2017. Rain at 66°F followed...
  • This week's trail report covers the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
  • Butterflies and birds were both hunkered down today.

The Trails

  • Maybe most of the dark clouds stayed to the north, but some came over Gifford parking lot bringing a shower.
  • The big kiosk provided shelter and a view of the trail head...
  • ... and of a young eastern bluebird taking a bath in a driveway puddle.
  • It would duck down and flap around.
  • The results were not pretty.
  • As the sky brightened and rain lightened to sprinkles, I headed out towards the Carriage House where mist was rising off the road.
  • The fields were filling with Queen Anne's lace.
  • From the Scots Pine Allée, clouds and mist could be seen in the hills beyond.
  • From the Little Bluestem Meadow, the view of the other direction was ominous.
  • A glance over the shoulder towards Gifford House verified I was surrounded by the scattered showers in the forecast.
  • The entrance to the Old Gravel Pit was not exactly welcoming, but that was the way...
  • Light rain was falling at the Fern Glen, where Culver's root was blooming.
  • Along the edge of the pond, elderberry were starting to ripen.
  • On the trail on the other side of the kiosk, great lobelia had started to bloom.
  • Near the Shrub Swamp plaque, there appeared to be water hemlock blooming. This is one of a number of poisonous parsely family members.
  • On the other side of the cross road was a brand new bridge.
  • Right off the side of it was water parsnip.
  • The flower is different from the preceding, but the leaves are even more distinct.
  • Up ahead, helleborine, an alien orchid, was still blooming.
  • Lemon smelling horse-balm had started blooming and looked almost finished.
  • Around the corner, white wood aster had started and looked like it would continue for a while.
  • Light rain and I continued along the Cary Pines Trail where Indian pipe was coming up next to last season's stalks.
  • Next week: the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
Culver's Root


  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 3 Blue Jay
  • 1 American Crow
  • 1 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Carolina Wren
  • 3 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Gray Catbird
  • 2 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 1 American Goldfinch
  • 1 Great lobelia
  • 1 Horse-balm
  • 1 Indian pipe
  • 1 Queen Anne's lace
  • 1 Water hemlock
  • 1 Water parsnip
  • 1 White wood aste


Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 75°F, cloudy, breezy, and fairly humid at 2:00 PM on July 26, 2017.
  • This week's trail report covers the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
  • Although it was a gray day, it was a warm day and butterflies were out, if a little slow.
  • Special guest appearances were made by a juniper hairstreak and a visitor for whom this was a happy addition to their life list.

The Trails

  • Right at Gifford trail head things were happening.
  • Here common milkweed was done blooming and was forming seed pods.
  • Taking over the role as most favored nectar source was wild bergamot.
  • Next to it, pokeweed was flowering and wasting no time making berries.
  • It's never a real popular nectar source, but what yarrow does attract is often very intersting, such as the juniper hairstreak. Our area's subspecies is the 'olive' juniper hairstreak.
  • Great spangled fritillaries like the bergamot.
  • A pearl crescent was on invasive spotted knapweed.
  • This one displayed the little mark on the hindwing margin below that gives it its name.
  • Many moths were flitting and hiding in the grasses including a Large Lace-border.
  • Along the Sedge Meadow Trail, a red admiral was perched to check out passersby.
  • In the Sedge Meadow proper, blue vervain was standing in the distance.
  • Spotted touch-me-not, or jewelweed was within reach.
  • In the back Old Hayfield, snowberry clearwing, a dayflying sphinx moth, was on the bergamot. Note the black stripe through the eye going back and down to the legs.
  • Several times the Appalachian brown had eluded me this day.
  • A very well worn northern broken-dash seemed to not have a scale left on it.
  • A grape leaf was being chewed up by a pack of Japanese beetles.
  • Along the back edge of the field, ironwood or hophornbeam was forming its hop-like fruit.
  • Next to it, musclewood or American hornbeam was forming its peculiar fruit.
  • A fresh looking female dun skipper was warming up. Spots are much smaller than those of the broken-dash.
  • Then a hummingbird clearwing came through. Compare with the snowberry and note the red vs. black appointments and lack of eye stripe.
  • Goldenrod bunch galls were obvious once they were noticed.
  • The meadow fritillary is like a miniature great spangled fritillary - at least from above.
  • On another yarrow, an ambush bug may have been waiting for that little bee to get closer.
  • A fresher female northern broken-dash posed perfectly.
  • In the Old Pasture, meadowsweet was blooming.
  • Many small beetles were in there.
  • The Wappinger creek trail was pretty dark today, but a red mushroom was hard to miss.
  • So was a noisy young ovenbird.
  • Next week: the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
'Olive' Juniper Hairstreak


  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 4 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • 2 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 1 Blue Jay
  • 2 American Crow
  • 1 Tree Swallow
  • 1 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Wood Thrush
  • 3 American Robin
  • 3 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Cedar Waxwing
  • 3 Ovenbird
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 1 American Goldfinch
  • 1 Spicebush Swallowtail
  • 4 Cabbage White
  • 1 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 'Olive' Juniper Hairstreak
  • 1 Spring Azure
  • 5 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Meadow Fritillary
  • 6 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Red Admiral
  • 2 Northern Pearly-eye
  • 4 Appalachian Brown
  • 7 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 7 Monarch
  • 9 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 7 Northern Broken-Dash
  • 10 Dun Skipper
  • 1 Meadowsweet
  • 1 Wild bergamot
  • 4 Hummingbird Clearwing
  • 1 Large Lace-border
  • 13 Snowberry Clearwing


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