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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 75°F, clear and windy at 3:30 PM on October 19, 2016.
  • This week's trail report covers the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
  • Fall foliage was great today, but dropping fast.
  • Note: the grounds close the end of this month. They open again April 1.

The Trails

  • The pair of oaks at the Gifford trail head was looking very nice today.
  • The Little Bluestem Meadow was all pink and fuzzy.
  • Back across the meadow and highway were farm fields.
  • And in the farm fields were cattle.
  • Ahead was a favorite view down the Scots Pine Alleé.
  • Surprisingly, some of the trees were already bare.
  • The meadow was so beautiful, the entrance to the Old Gravel Pit came too soon.
  • I took just one glance back at Gifford House.
  • In the woods, a sun beam illuminated a patch of hay-scented fern.
  • Looking towards the source, I remembered the little glowing beech tree from last year.
  • Near the exit to the Fern Glen was the big patch of hay-scented fern, now a jumble of pale drying fronds.
  • The late afternoon light was behind the red maple by the Fern Glen pond.
  • On the other side the river birch was turning yellow.
  • Witch hazel was blooming and filling the air with its scent in the wet areas.
  • In the mix was winterberry, now becoming ghostly pale.
  • Near the acid cobble, maple-leaved viburnum leaves were turning purple under the un-maple-like fruit.
  • The creek as viewed from the deck was already in the long shadows.
  • Scattered patches of sun made it to foundations of the stone bridge.
  • On the way out of the 'Glen I noted how the leaves on the ground ran through a spectrum.
  • Some striped maple leaves, still on the branches, were handsomely back lit.
  • Next to them was the viburnum, hobble bush.
  • Spicebush was everywhere.
  • One last stop for the day was at the "Appendix", as I like to call the area by trail marker 10 on the Wappinger Creek Trail. But I was just a little late as another memorable little tree slid under the shadows.
Witch hazel

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Downy Woodpecker
  • 2 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 Blue Jay
  • 4 Common Raven
  • 2 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 American Robin
  • 4 Palm Warbler
  • 2 Dark-eyed Junco
Plants
  • 1 Witch hazel

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 70°F, clear and breezy at 2:03 PM on October 12, 2016.
  • This week's trail report covers the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
  • Fall foliage had continued to advance since last week.
  • Note: the grounds close the end of this month. They open again April 1.

The Trails

  • The Old Hayfield by Gifford House was under warm sun this day.
  • To one familiar with the trails, a dark spot at the crossroads immediately drew attention.
  • It was an abandoned stroller, conjuring images of the works of Edward Gorey.
  • There was still some blooming yarrow seeming to lean and stare in disbelief.
  • In the back of the field, black walnuts threatened to twist hikers' ankles.
  • A grasshopper flew across my path and landed.
  • It was at the edge of an aster.
  • This was throbbing with the activity of bumble bees...
  • honey bees...
  • and less familiar little bees.
  • Burning bush was bright where the trail drops into the woods.
  • There the boardwalk was disappearing under fallen leaves.
  • A bird rose into the bushes along the edge of the back Old Hayfield - a palm warbler.
  • Across the field, a speck flew above the tree line.
  • It was a turkey vulture.
  • A golden-crowned kinglet was secretive in the Old Pasture; I left without a photo through the creek-side exit.
  • From up on the bluff, the creek looked mighty low.
  • The path along the creek was thick with fallen leaves.
  • Something flew across and landed as I took in a view of the creek.
  • It was an interesting wasp with white patches on its antennae.
  • Farther along the creek widened and became quite shallow.
  • Upstream it narrowed and deepened.
  • On the bank above the creek, the fungus stump had been busy producing yet another big one.
  • Off the other side of the trail was a another fungus.
  • This one was also a good size and clearly different.
  • Next week: the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
Palm Warbler

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 2 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 4 Blue Jay
  • 5 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 2 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • 2 Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • 3 Palm Warbler
  • 3 Field Sparrow
  • 3 White-throated Sparrow
  • 2 Northern Cardinal
Butterflies
  • 2 Cabbage White
  • 1 Clouded Sulphur
  • 2 Orange Sulphur

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