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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 72°F and hazy at 1:15 PM on May 7, 2014.
  • No butterflies at all today - it got a bit gray.
  • Speaking of gray, the gray treefrog was calling at the Appendix and in the Old Gravel Pit.
  • Reminder: temperatures like this can really bring out the ticks.

The Trails

  • Starting in the Fern Glen again, I noticed the little patch of bluets by the kiosk corner of the pond was down to one tiny, but pretty flower.
  • At the entrance to the limestone cobble, starry false Soloman's-seal was just about to open.
  • Jack-in-the-pulpit was suddenly everywhere.
  • The miterwort or bishop's cap had opened its crazy little blossom.
  • At the top along the road, the viburnum hobblebush was blooming.
  • In the back of the shrub swamp, gaywings were about to pop.
  • So too the nearby goldthread.
  • The more I looked, the more found of the distinctive leaves. Our small patch has spread a little bit.
  • The service berry stopped me in my tracks.
  • A few days ago it was bare; today it was on its way towards full bloom.
  • A scan of the poor fen turned up leatherleaf.
  • Tucked in a corner the exotic, but polite paris was doing its strange thing.
  • Meanwhile, back in the cobble, the lone nodding trillium was fully open now.
  • Farther along, broad beech fern was fully unfurled.
  • Maidenhair fern was still working on it.
  • A little moth known to me only as Herptogramma thestealis was taking nectar from toothwort along the edge of the pond.
  • At the back of the pond, goldenseal was doing well this year.
  • Continuing towards the dam, I found a clump of early meadow rue cozy with a tree. For a moment, I'd thought it was columbine, which was slow to make an appearance this year.
  • Over my shoulder, I noticed the blue cohosh.
  • A closer look verified it had started to bloom.
  • It would be another day or two for the wild blue phlox, however.
  • Another pass through the shrub swamp, this time looking up, netted me the limber honeysuckle.
  • It too was budding and would remain something to look forward to for a few more days.
  • As I headed out of the 'Glen, I found across the street swelling buds on the azalea. Soon...
  • Out on the Cary Pines Trail, it was a race between the starflower and the Canada mayflower.
  • Toward the far end of the Wappinger Creek Trail, a pileated woodpecker had been making mulch out of a scarred maple.
  • On the way up the hill to the bluff, clumps of pussytoes were getting ready.
  • Heading for Gifford House on the Sedge Meadow Trail, I could see that the mowing season was under way.
  • Around the corner in the front Old Hayfield, a hen ring-necked pheasant was sneaking away.
  • At the Carriage House, fothergilla was budding up.
  • And there was the Bradford pear looking good too.
  • Something was exciting my nose along the path through the Old Gravel Pit .
  • It smelled like honeysuckle, but it wasn't open yet in there.
  • Garlic mustard was sitting there looking guilty, but didn't smell like much at all.
  • Giving up, I continued along to find that the bottom of the pit was finally dry.
  • And so was I; I headed home to fix that.
Bluets
Bluets
Starry false Soloman's-seal
Starry false Soloman's-seal

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Canada Goose
  • 2 Mallard
  • 2 Ring-necked Pheasant
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 2 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 2 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 4 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 5 Blue Jay
  • 9 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 3 Tufted Titmouse
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Veery
  • 4 American Robin
  • 1 Gray Catbird
  • 1 European Starling
  • 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • 1 Black-throated Green Warbler
  • 2 Pine Warbler
  • 1 American Redstart
  • 3 Ovenbird
  • 2 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 4 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 1 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
  • 2 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 2 American Goldfinch
Plants
  • 1 Blue cohosh
  • 1 Bluets
  • 1 Bradford pear
  • 1 Garlic mustard
  • 1 Goldenseal
  • 1 Goldthread
  • 1 Hobble-bush
  • 1 Jack-in-the-pulpit
  • 1 Leatherleaf
  • 1 Miterwort
  • 1 Paris
  • 1 Shadbush
Moth
  • Herptogramma thestealis

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

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