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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 70°F and partly cloudy at 2:30 PM on May 1, 2014.
  • Although it was almost uncomfortable in the sun, it was acceptable after yesterdays 40° and rain.
  • Cabbage whites and spring azures were out today.
  • A warm, fragrant southerly breeze came in at the end of the day to ease the coming of evening.

The Trails

  • The grass was greening in the Old Hayfields by Gifford House.
  • Early spring cabbage whites can lack the typical dark markings.
  • A male eastern bluebird was lacking nothing.
  • In the back Old Hayfield, invasive autumn olive was just beginning to leaf out.
  • I was hailed to look at some wood anemone along the Wappinger Creek Trail.
  • A tiny fly on the blossom was not noticed until it was on the computer screen.
  • Something hard not to notice was a pile of presumably frog guts. A nearby feather suggested where the rest of the frog had gone.
  • Farther along the trail, ostrich fern was unfulring its fronds.
  • After yesterday's rains, the creek was full.
  • Long afternoon shadows were beginning to project on the water looking upstream.
  • Both toothwort and cut-leaved toothwort were starting to bloom.
  • Near the "Appendix", as I like to call the area around Trail Marker 10, the "chip!" of cardinals caused me to linger for a look.
  • By the junction with Cary Pines Trail, an insect landing in the leaf litter suggested a rove beetle, but binoculars proved it to be a wasp of some sort.
  • Along Cary Pines proper, Canada mayflower was really taking off.
  • Here and there, partridge berry with last year's fruit was mixed in.
  • Up ahead, a moth was doing a poor job of blending in.
  • It was, however, pretty quick to escape, but not before I got one shot good enough to strongly suggest it was a gray spring moth.
  • In the Fern Glen, false rue anemone was blooming in the Roeller bed, along the road.
  • So too was hepatica and for some time now, but I couldn't resist the marvelous blue.
  • In the Linde limestone cobble, a first nodding trillium was just opening.
  • Neighboring cut-leaved toothwort was blooming in a nice patch.
  • Again, a tiny pollenator was at work - this one, a small bee.
  • The leaves of large-flowered trillium were almost as interesting as the flower.
  • A bee fly, a common but interesting pollenator, was soaking up some sun.
  • Twinleaf, just opening, was not without pollenators of its own.
  • The ill scented red trillium, or stinking Benjamen, specializes in attracting flies as pollenators.
  • Finally! A sprig of columbine was rising from the acid cobble.
  • And across the trail was Carolina spring beauty.
  • Right at the railing was something looking rather fern-like.
  • No fiddlehead and something like a bud suggested otherwise. We'll keep an eye on this.
  • Near the kiosk, the forest of mayapple continued to rise.
  • Closer to the kiosk, wood anemone and toothwort were beginning to open.
  • At the back of the pond, the mystery willow was shedding its catkins.
  • Early meadow-rue was blooming with what remind me of little Tiffiny lampshades.
  • On the out of the 'Glen, I noticed wild oats precariously close to lawn mower territory.
  • Bishop's cap was playing dare-devil as well. Its crazy flowers were still but buds.
  • At the top of the bed, hobblebush buds continued to build.
  • The path towards the Old Gravel Pit went through a carpet of White violets.
  • No surprise after yesterday's rains, the bottom of the Old Gravel Pit held a fair amount of water.
  • Shadows were getting even longer by the time I entered the Little Bluestem Meadow.
  • The clouds beyond Gifford House suggested it might be a noisy evening.
  • In the Scotch Pine Alleé, a pine warbler seemed to have a better view of me than I had of it.
  • At the Carriage House, one of the day's several spring azures settled for a moment in the sun.
  • Above, another pine warbler offered a better view for me.
  • The magnolia was what I had wanted to check; it looked about peak.
  • On the other side of the drive was another looking maybe even a little better.
  • And with that I was on my way til another day.
Cabbage white - spring form lacking dark marks
Greening grass in the Old Hayfield
Eastern bluebird - male
Autumn olive leaving out
Frog entrails along the Creek
Wood anemone
Wood anemone and fly
Ostrich fern fiddleheads
Wappinger Creek looking downstream
Wappinger Creek looking upstream
Toothwort
Cut-leaved toothwort
Northern cardinal
Wasp
Canada mayflower
Canada mayflower and partridge berry
A moth...
Gray spring moth
False rue anemone
Hepatica
Nodding trillium
Cut-leaved toothwort
Cut-leaved toothwort
Large-flowered trillium
Large-flowered trillium
Bee fly
Twinleaf & fly
Twinleaf
Red trillium
Columbine leaves
Carolina spring beauty
A fern-like plant
A fern-like plant
Mayapple
Wood anemone
Toothwort
Fallen catkins
Early meadow-rue
Wild oats
Bishop's cap
Bishop's cap
Hobblebush buds
White violets
Bottom of the Old Gravel Pit
Gifford House clouds
Little Bluestem Meadow
Pine warbler
Spring azure
Pine warbler
Magnolia
Magnolia

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Ring-necked Pheasant
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 3 Tree Swallow
  • 7 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • 2 Eastern Bluebird
  • 5 American Robin
  • 1 Northern Mockingbird
  • 1 European Starling
  • 1 Black-throated Green Warbler
  • 3 Pine Warbler
  • 2 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 2 Eastern Towhee
  • 5 Chipping Sparrow
  • 2 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 2 Northern Cardinal
  • 1 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 1 Brown-headed Cowbird
  • 1 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 5 Cabbage White
  • 4 Spring Azure
  • 1 Eastern Comma
Plants
  • 1 Cut-leaved toothwort
  • 1 Early meadow-rue
  • 1 False rue-anemone
  • 1 Nodding trillium
  • 1 Red trillium
  • 1 Toothwort
  • 1 Twinleaf
  • 1 Wild oats
  • 1 Wood anemone
Moth
  • Gray Spring Moth

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 58°F with occasional sprinkles at 2:00 PM on April 23, 2014.
  • The walk started in the Fern Glen.
  • New things were still blooming or coming up every day now.
  • Birds were quiet today.

The Trails

  • In the Howard Roeller Bed, wild ginger was blooming while the leaves were unfurling.
  • A little deeper in, an alien corydalis was blooming .
  • Farther uphill, false rue anemone was up and starting to bud.
  • At the top of the bed, hobblebush flower clusters were forming.
  • Its new leaves looked like some sort of creature from another planet.
  • In spite of the fence around this bed over the winter, deer still got at a young hemlock.
  • And this poor striped maple barely survived being used as a "deer rub" the year before only to get chewed up this winter.
  • Along the limestone cobble, rue anemone had come up and started blooming.
  • Everywhere maidenhair fern fiddleheads were rising from between the rocks.
  • Twinleaf was coming up along side with buds that should be opening in a couple days.
  • Already opening was large-flowered bellwort .
  • Along the edge of the pond was a large-flowered trillium being enjoyed by a practicioner of both yoga and photography.
  • All around the pond and back in the fens, spicebush blossoms were beginning to open.
  • Behind the kiosk, false hellebore was getting big.
  • There too was one of the many patches of trout lily or dogtooth violet that was doing so well this year.
  • At the edge, wood anemone was up, but with few if any buds yet.
  • Mayapple is so much fun at every stage.
  • Back by the deck, yellow lady's-slipper shoots were poking up; those in the cobble were still hiding.
  • Across the road, azalea showed surprisingly little deer browse damage.
  • The American hazelnut, on the other hand, had been clobbered.
  • Higher branches, out of the nibble zone, were sporting male catkins just beginning to open. I didn't see any female flowers.
  • Because of their absence in the 'Glen, I was surprised to find the carpet of Canada mayflower coming up in its usual spot on the Cary Pines Trail.
  • Another surprise was the invasive Japanese primrose in the flood plane of the Wappinger Creek Trail.
  • The wet soils they prefer allows one to extract the extensive root system intact.
  • I had noticed their bright green lettuce-like leaves while getting an angle on a cut-leaved toothwort.
  • And just past that was another favorite plant to hate: narrow-leaved bittercress.
  • This seems to prefer moist, (calcium) rich soils, but will grow most anywhere; its roots make for a satisfying pull.
  • Lesser celendine was mentioned as flowering last week. But its spread along both sides of the trail was very obvious this week.
  • It was nice to see numerous patches and individuals of bloodroot as the trail rose higher and dryer.
  • Just before the rise to the bluff, tufts of Pennsylvania sedge were gracing the sides of the trail.
  • We don't often think of grasses as flowering plants - even less so of sedges. One needs only to get down on their knees to find a tiny marvel. Getting up may be another matter.
  • Up top in the Old Pasture, a little cherry stood out of the crowd with the first Eastern tent caterpillar nest of the season.
  • On the Sedge Meadow Trail, violets were popping up.
  • Along side was the alien creeping Charlie or ground ivy. Fun to pull up in long strings from the leaf litter, not so much fun from turf...
  • The familiar garlic mustard already had buds. Both have history in culinary and medicinal arts.
  • In the back of the back Old Hayfield, burning bush was budding up.
  • A surprise was a cocoon, just like those I usually find in spicebush. I still don't know who's inside.
  • Behind the Carriage House, the magnolia finally had some fully open blossoms.
  • This is usually the end of the trail, but having started in the Fern Glen, there was still the Old Gravel Pit to traverse. The bottom was still holding water.
  • I hope the next report will not be talking about mosquitos...
Wild ginger
Rue anemone
Corydalis
Twinleaf
Large-flowered bellwort
Maidenhair fern fiddleheads
Yoga & photography
Spicebush
False hellebore
Trout lily
Mayapple
Wood anemone
Azalea buds
American hazelnut catkins
Deer browse on American hazelnut
False rue anemone
False rue anemone
New Hobblebush leaves
Deer browse on hemlock
Hobblebush flower buds
Deer rub and deer browse on striped maple
Striped maple
Canada mayflower
Japanese primrose
Japanese primrose
Cut-leaved toothwort
Narrow-leaved bittercress
Narrow-leaved bittercress
Lesser celendine
Lesser celandine
Bloodroot
Pennsylvania sedge
Eastern tent caterpillar on cherry
Eastern tent caterpillar on cherry
Violets
Creeping Charlie
Garlic mustard
Burningbush buds
Cocoon on Burningbush
Carriage house magnolia
Magnolia blossom
Bottom of the Old Gravel Pit
Yellow lady's-slipper shoots

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Ring-necked Pheasant
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 4 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 American Crow
  • 3 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Winter Wren
  • 1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • 3 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 3 White-throated Sparrow
  • 2 Northern Cardinal
  • 1 Brown-headed Cowbird
  • 2 American Goldfinch
Plants
  • 1 Corydalis
  • 1 Ground ivy
  • 1 Large-flowered bellwort
  • 1 Pennsylvania sedge
  • 1 Rue-anemone
  • 1 Spicebush
  • 1 Violet
  • 1 Wild ginger

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