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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, partly cloudy and calm with low humidity at 12:45 PM on August 3, 2016.
  • This week's trail report covers the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
  • There had been some needed rain a few days ago - plants and butterflies were happier today.
  • Spicebush swallowtails were out in numbers I've never seen before.

The Trails

  • Last week, the front Old Hayfield at Gifford House's goldenrod had started blooming.
  • Hope was found in the back back corner: a monarch caterpillar - their numbers are reported to have dropped some 80% over 2 decades. Plant milkweed!
  • Tiger swallowtails were well represented today.
  • One Peck's skipper scooted along the path in front of me.
  • On the Sedge Meadow Trail, boneset was beginning to bloom.
  • A little bee was feeding in the crown.
  • In the back Old Hayfield, a tattered common wood-nymph paused to soak up some sun.
  • Spicebush swallowtails were all over the wild bergamot... and each other.
  • We most often see the male, with powdery blue on the hind wing.
  • The female is less often encountered and has a real, honest blue - a metalic blue, though it's a little hard to tell here in the shaddow.
  • The steep descent of the Wappinger Creek Trail had a couple sunny spots; I always slow down and scan them before entering.
  • This one was being staked out by a couple well worn eastern commas, and patrolled by a spicebush swallowtail.
  • Another good spot to look for butterflies is just past the bottom of the slope where there is a view over the embankment.
  • It's not a bad spot for birds either - a mix of red-eyed vireos and tufted titmice had adults and noisy young of each.
  • I'd forgotten about the fungus by the Watersheds kiosk.
  • It was a good size, but it seemed that it should have been bigger... and in a different spot?
  • I meant to keep tabs on the growth, but the last time I looked was May 25.
  • Down in the flood plain, wood nettle had been flowering for a while.
  • But now, the female flowers were beginning to look like they were forming seeds.
  • The male flowers below still looked new.
  • Nearby was the common Indian tobacco.
  • As a lobelia the blossom is pretty, if small.
  • It's a great view from the bench at the Appendix, as I like to call the loop around Trail Markers 10 and 11.
  • Those sandy mounds, too big for ant hills, were back.
  • And for once, there was activity... a little head poked out.
  • In a moment, a bee or wasp climbed out...
  • ... shook off...
  • ... and was gone.
  • And then, so was I. Next week: the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
Spicebush swallowtails courting

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • 2 Belted Kingfisher
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 2 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 3 Eastern Kingbird
  • 2 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 2 Blue Jay
  • 2 American Crow
  • 2 Tree Swallow
  • 7 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 4 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • 2 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Wood Thrush
  • 2 American Robin
  • 5 Gray Catbird
  • 13 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Blue-winged Warbler
  • 1 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 3 Eastern Towhee
  • 2 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 2 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • 1 Indigo Bunting
  • 8 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 8 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 22 Spicebush Swallowtail
  • 42 Cabbage White
  • 6 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 Orange Sulphur
  • 1 American Copper
  • 3 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 15 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Meadow Fritillary
  • 37 Pearl Crescent
  • 2 Eastern Comma
  • 3 Northern Pearly-eye
  • 5 Appalachian Brown
  • 17 Common Ringlet
  • 12 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 1 Monarch
  • 8 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 1 Peck's Skipper
  • 1 Northern Broken-Dash
  • 1 Mulberry Wing
  • 8 Dun Skipper
Caterpillars
  • 1 Monarch
Moth
  • 17 Hummingbird Clearwing
  • 2 Snowberry Clearwing

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 85°F, partly cloudy and calm with low humidity at 2:30 PM on July 27, 2016.
  • This week's trail report covers the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
  • With the late start, butterfly activity was slowing down.
  • But there was a new plant for me.

The Trails

  • The Little Bluestem Meadow had a few interesting plants, like bee balm, lurking along the edge by the Carriage House.
  • Tucked in a little deeper was American germander.
  • It's individual blossoms were unusual.
  • And behind that was just a little patch of butterfly weed, a species of milkweed, being visited by a pearl crescent.
  • A pecking noise drew my attention upwards in the Scots Pine Alleé: it was a hairy woodpecker.
  • The spreading dogbane at the back of the Little Bluestem Meadow was still going strong.
  • With all the butterflies in there, it would be a fine place to work on IDs... like skippers - this one looks sort of like a northern broken-dash, but then again...
  • In the Old Gravel Pit, a noisey family of white-breasted nuthatch was overhead.
  • At the top of the Fern Glen, hobblebush berries were ripening.
  • Ditto with the elderberry along side the pond.
  • Farther back, New York ironweed was starting to think about flower buds.
  • All the way at the back, summer-sweet was still thinking - it had been seemingly ready to bloom for weeks now.
  • Near the base, goldenseal berries were ripening.
  • In the back of the 'Glen, in the fen, swamp milkweed was still going strong and attracting spicebush swallowtails.
  • The missing hindwing orange spot 3 up from the bottom helps ID this butterfly. It has been having a good year.
  • Right at edge of the boardwalk, boneset was budding up.
  • Tiny tearthumb was blooming too.
  • Not much farther in, that strange pitcher plant had dropped its red petals and was forming its fruit.
  • On the other side stood the innocent looking poison sumac.
  • Its loose berry clusters are one distinction from the other benign species of sumac.
  • The big spikenard was still going strong in the back of the 'Glen.
  • Something was rambling around its big flower clusters.
  • It looked like a stink bug of some sort.
  • Near the deck, one of the yellow lady's slippers was producing a seed pod.
  • At one of the little bridges was an interesting lacy plant. I'll have to watch for the flower to try to figure this one out.
  • Another interesting plant had been on my watch list.
  • The clasping, divided leaves seemed unusual.
  • The umble type flower was not so distinct, but suggested carrot family. I later settled on water parsnip.
  • By the kiosk, there was no mistaking cardinal flower getting ready to bloom.
  • You might want to check next week because...
  • Next week: the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
Spicebush Swallowtail on Swamp Milkweed

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 1 Barred Owl
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 2 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 3 Eastern Kingbird
  • 1 Blue Jay
  • 2 American Crow
  • 2 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 2 American Robin
  • 2 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Ovenbird
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 1 Scarlet Tanager
  • 3 Eastern Towhee
  • 3 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
  • 1 Indigo Bunting
  • 1 Baltimore Oriole
  • 1 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 2 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 3 Spicebush Swallowtail
  • 10 Cabbage White
  • 4 Orange Sulphur
  • 6 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Meadow Fritillary
  • 24 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Question Mark
  • 1 Northern Pearly-eye
  • 1 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 4 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 1 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 3 Northern Broken-Dash
  • 4 Dun Skipper
Plants
  • 1 Tearthumb
  • 1 Water parsnip

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