trail map

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 must have been 90°F, at 1:00 PM on July 17, 2013. And it was humid... with partly cloudy skies and light breezes.
  • Definition of dilemma: the difficult choice between two equally unpleasant alternatives, e.g. to roast in the sun or to be drained by mosquitos in the shade.
  • Juniper hairstreaks and Appalachian browns were around today.
  • Why visitors are asked to stay on the marked trails.

The Trails

  • The milkweed in Gifford parking lot was pretty much done flowering and was forming seed pods.
  • Also along the edge was white vervain.
  • Its blossoms, like blue vervain's, are minute but I check because once in a while blue will have a butterfly.
  • The invasive spotted knapweed attracts a few more butterflies.
  • Behind the Carriage House, pokeweed was budding. Birds later enjoy the purple berries.
  • I was surprised to find the bottom of the Old Gravel Pit was flooded. That's usually a spring time event.
  • The detour past the Deer Management kiosk also took me by the disturbingly named fungus, dead man's fingers.
  • In the Fern Glen's limestone cobble, queen-of-the-prairy was up and blooming.
  • I understand this pretty native to the West can be aggressive.
  • A photographic challenge is lopseed, another good size plant with minute flowers.
  • At the front of the pond, Joe-pye weed was getting ready to bloom.
  • In several places, white wood aster was doing well.
  • By the stone bridge, the alien orchid, helleborine was budding up.
  • Not far away, spotted wintergreen was in full bloom.
  • On the way out of the Glen, I had to stop in spite of the mosquitos to get these most interesting little cup-like mushrooms.
  • At the Appendix, as I like to call the area around trail marker 11 on the Wappinger Creek Trail, were numerous "anthills". Nothing was coming or going, but I suspected it was actually a bee or wasp.
  • In the back Old Hayfield, several American coppers were on yarrow. Yarrow doesn't seem to attract many insects, but those that do show up are usually interesting.
  • Northern broken dashes were all over the intermediate dogbane, but so were a number of juniper hairstreaks.
  • When I got to my favorite milkweed patch, my jaw dropped in amazement: a path had been trampled into the milkweed patch; crushed plants were lying along its length.
  • It wasn't just a path but an entire network with some intersections expanded into clearings.
  • As a secondary effect after the initial damage, plants now unsupported by their neighbors were collapsing into the gaps.
  • As noted in the 7/10 Trail Report, research field work at the Cary Institute can be encountered anywhere and may or may not be immediately obvious. This is one of the reasons that visitors are asked to stay on the marked trails.
  • The milkweed patch will certainly recover. But consider this kind of activity repeated over and over...
  • Crushing heels, choking dust, trampled food plants, and disturbance to their winter slumbers are threats monarchs face from the same eco-tourism (if not carefully regulated) that is a promising alternative to logging and ranching in the monarch's overwintering grounds in Mexico.
  • Closer to home, even with tight regulation, thousands - millions of visitors are "Loving our National Forests to Death".
  • One of many finds on the web, was the book Tourism, Ecotourism, and Protected Areas by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It considers ecotourism's many facets - positive and negative - with case studies from around the world including mention of the two above. Section 3. Negative tourism impacts was of particular interest with descriptions of the far reaching cumulative impacts on soil, wildlife, vegetation, landscape and beyond.
  • We humans are many and are growing on this small and shrinking planet. If we are not more careful, the next thing we step on may be our own toes.
Common milkweed
White vervain
White vervain
Spotted knapweed
Pokeweed
Pokeweed
Bottom of the Old Gravel Pit
Dead man's fingers
Queen-of-the-prairy
Queen-of-the-prairy
Lopseed
Lopseed
Joe-pye weed
Joe-pye weed
White wood aster
Helleborine
Helleborine
Spotted wintergreen
Mushrooms
Anthills - not
American copper
Juniper hairstreak
Unsupported plants falling over
Network of crushed vegetation
Path trampled through milkweed

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Turkey Vulture
  • 7 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Hairy Woodpecker
  • 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 4 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 Eastern Kingbird
  • 6 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 5 Blue Jay
  • 15 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 House Wren
  • 1 Winter Wren
  • 1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • 1 Wood Thrush
  • 2 American Robin
  • 2 Gray Catbird
  • 6 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Ovenbird
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 3 Scarlet Tanager
  • 6 Eastern Towhee
  • 2 Field Sparrow
  • 3 Song Sparrow
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
  • 1 Indigo Bunting
  • 3 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 1 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 1 Spicebush Swallowtail
  • 4 Cabbage White
  • 4 Clouded Sulphur
  • 2 Orange Sulphur
  • 4 American Copper
  • 4 Coral Hairstreak
  • 1 Striped Hairstreak
  • 6 'Olive' Juniper Hairstreak
  • 3 Spring Azure
  • 17 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 11 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Eastern Comma
  • 4 Northern Pearly-eye
  • 6 Appalachian Brown
  • 7 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 36 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 14 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 2 Crossline Skipper
  • 25 Northern Broken-Dash
  • 6 Little Glassywing
  • 1 Delaware Skipper
  • 1 Mulberry Wing
  • 39 Dun Skipper
Plants
  • 1 Boneset
  • 1 Helleborine
  • 1 Lopseed
  • 1 Pokeweed
  • 1 Queen of the prairy
  • 1 Spotted knapweed
  • 1 Spotted wintergreen
  • 1 White vervain
  • 1 White wood aster
Moth
  • 2 Hummingbird Clearwing
  • 6 Snowberry Clearwing

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 76°F, and overcast with light breezes at 10:30 AM on July 10, 2013. It would shower several times today.
  • Skippers were swarming on the milkweed of the Old Hayfields.
  • There was a new butterfly not only for the Trails, but for me as well.
  • A new camera was recording images for this report.

The Trails

  • Gifford House parking lot had the unobtrusive alien, moth mullein, growing out of the median.
  • Goldfinch were out in the middle of the front Old Hayfield.
  • It took some stalking and a long shot to get a skittish confused haploa.
  • Although the male dun skipper is unmarked, its subtle beauty grows on you.
  • The great spangled fritillary, on the other hand, is quite on the other side of the spectrum.
  • Another little gem was the dogbane beetle.
  • It was time to move on to the Sedge Meadow Trail. Somebody's lost lunch ahead? No, scientific apparatus! Part of a mosquito study, I presume.
  • A great patch of milkweed and dogbane in the back Old Hayfield was now host to countless creatures including a dainty female dun skipper.
  • I was just getting to the "good part" of the field when I heard the rain coming, pulled on my gear and started for the exit. But it didn't last long and when the sun broke out, so did the butterflies.
  • The striking coral hairstreak would be seen several times today.
  • A pair of skippers on one milkweed head was not hard to find.
  • It was a Peck's skipper with another dun.
  • What else was that in there, old twigs? No, that was a spider!. It could not have been hungry; the Peck's was there a long time unmolested.
  • Something bigger whizzed by stopping next to me. An American lady? No, an American snout! I had heard local reports last year, but this was the first for the Trails... and for me.
  • I had a nectarine for lunch at the bench in the Old Pasture. A spring azure had me.
  • Weather was picking up again and I hurried for cover down the Wappinger Creek Trail. It was a hearty rain now.
  • It had let by the time I was on the Cary Pines Trail. There the colors of fungus on moss caught my attention.
  • Oh there were lichens there too.
  • In the Fern Glen, the sun came out again and a swamp milkweed just glistened with rain drops in a close up.
  • Near the bench by the limestone cobble, bright yellow was topping the greenery.
  • It was great St. Johnswort.
  • Closer to the road was tall blue; that was tall bellflower.
  • At the front of the pond was a sweet fragrance from lizard's tail.
  • Wild mint was just across from it.
  • But what was that that landed on the middle tuft? Sure looked like a real nasty mosquito, but I suspect it's actually a cranefly.
  • The path by the kiosk had Culver's root just starting to bloom.
  • In the Old Gravel Pit, the northern pearly-eyes were back where they belonged. I was worried last week when they didn't show up.
  • A surprise awaited me on the dirt road by the Carriage House: a tawny emperor, which was kind enough to give both dorsal and ventral views.
  • Another fine rainy day.
Moth mullein
American goldfinch
Confused haploa
Dun skipper - male
Great spangled fritillary
Dogbane beetle
Lost lunch?
Research equipment
Dun skipper - female
Coral hairstreak
Lurking spider!
Peck's and dun skippers
Peck's skipper
American snout
Spring azure
Fungus on moss
...and lichens
Swamp milkweed
Swamp milkweed
Great St. Johnswort
Great St. Johnswort
Tall bellflower
Tall bellflower
Lizard's tail
Wild mint
Mosquito or crane fly?
Culver's root
Tawny emperor - below
Tawny emperor - above

Sightings

Birds
  • 3 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 6 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 5 Blue Jay
  • 5 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 House Wren
  • 4 Veery
  • 1 Wood Thrush
  • 3 American Robin
  • 3 Gray Catbird
  • 3 Cedar Waxwing
  • 2 Prairie Warbler
  • 2 Ovenbird
  • 1 Scarlet Tanager
  • 2 Eastern Towhee
  • 2 Chipping Sparrow
  • 4 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
  • 2 Indigo Bunting
  • 1 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 2 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 1 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 7 Cabbage White
  • 8 Clouded Sulphur
  • 2 American Copper
  • 2 Coral Hairstreak
  • 1 Banded Hairstreak
  • 1 Hickory Hairstreak
  • 1 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 2 Spring Azure
  • 1 American Snout
  • 11 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 4 Pearl Crescent
  • 4 Northern Pearly-eye
  • 11 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 70 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 34 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 1 Peck's Skipper
  • 1 Crossline Skipper
  • 36 Northern Broken-Dash
  • 19 Little Glassywing
  • 11 Delaware Skipper
  • 30 Dun Skipper
Plants
  • 1 Culver's-root
  • 1 Great St. Johnswort
  • 1 Lizard's-tail
  • 1 Moth mullein
  • 1 Swamp milkweed
  • 1 Tall bellflower
  • 1 Wild mint
Moth
  • 2 Confused Haploa
  • 1 Hummingbird Clearwing
  • 3 Snowberry Clearwing
  • 1 Virginia Ctenucha

Pages

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

Privacy Policy Copyright © 2014