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Trail Reports

Insights on trail conditions and the plants and animals you can expect to encounter throughout the seasons.

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Notes and Changes since last report

  • This week's trail report covers the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
  • It was 76°F and mostly cloudy at 2:30 AM on July 8, 2015.
  • No new butterfly arrivals, but a cloudy day is not the best day to look for butterflies.

The Trails

  • A scan of the Gifford House parking lot milkweed turned up no butterflies but milkweed aphids had arrived.
  • Also out there was a very interesting wasp mimic fly, probably one of the thick-headed flies.
  • On the Sedge Meadow Trail, several cedar waxwings were preening in a tree.
  • In spite of the cloud cover, great spangled fritillaries were thick in the back Old Hayfield milkweed patch.
  • As I scanned the mob through binoculars, I felt something on my leg... I always look before I swat... it was a common wood-nymph licking my salty ankle.
  • The shady edge of the field had a growing colony of fringed loosestrife, a native loosestrife in our area.
  • All the way in the back of the field was pale-spike lobelia.
  • Back tracking out, I came across a striped hairstreak. I know I've pictured them before, but they are not that common and always a delight to behold.
  • Where the Wappinger Creek Trail passes through flood plain, the broad leaves of wood nettle were recognizable.
  • The small flowers in the axils clinched the diagnosis.
  • Just past that tall meadow-rue was flowering.
  • On the banks of the Creek, Japanese spiraea, an invasive garden escapee, was blooming.
  • Not far away was the more familiar stinging nettle.
  • Next week: the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
A thick-headed fliy

Sightings

Birds
  • 7 Chimney Swift
  • 2 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 2 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 1 Blue Jay
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 4 Veery
  • 3 Wood Thrush
  • 4 American Robin
  • 9 Gray Catbird
  • 7 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Prairie Warbler
  • 1 Black-and-white Warbler
  • 1 Worm-eating Warbler
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 1 Scarlet Tanager
  • 6 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 3 Field Sparrow
  • 2 Song Sparrow
  • 1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • 2 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 1 Baltimore Oriole
  • 2 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 1 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 9 Cabbage White
  • 2 Banded Hairstreak
  • 1 Striped Hairstreak
  • 73 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Eastern Comma
  • 2 Northern Pearly-eye
  • 1 Appalachian Brown
  • 11 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 36 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 6 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 7 Northern Broken-Dash
  • 3 Little Glassywing
  • 3 Dun Skipper
Insects
  • 1 Milkweed aphid
  • 1 Thick-headed fly
Plants
  • 1 Fringed loosestrife
  • 1 Japanese spiraea
  • 1 Pale-spike lobelia
  • 1 Stinging nettle
Moth
  • 1 Virginia Ctenucha

Notes and Changes since last report

  • This week's trail report covers the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
  • It was 73°F and cloudy at 11:00 AM on July 1, 2015.
  • Sundew had returned to the Fern Glen.
  • New butterfly arrivals included coral hairstreak, and little glassy-wing was rising in numbers.
  • Special guest appearance was a mourning cloak.

The Trails

  • This must have been the 5th walk in a row where it was a nice day following rain.
  • I had barely rolled to a stop when something flew across into the milkweed at Gifford House parking lot.
  • It remained in stealth mode just perching for a while before creeping up the stalk revealing its amazing blue body.
  • It was a wary Virginia ctenucha, a day flying moth, coming to feed on everybody's favorite, milkweed.
  • Speaking of feeding, the black raspberries, or as we always called them, black caps were going to be abundant this year.
  • Behind the Carriage House was stewartia, the curious combination of big flowers and sycamore style exfoliating bark.
  • Hiding under a milkweed leaf in the Little Bluestem Meadow was a favorite: one of the plume moths.
  • The dogbane patch was active with great spangled fritillaries and the common wood-nymph among others.
  • At the bottom of the Old Gravel Pit, the sap run was no longer, but a fallen tree was still attractive to butterflies, at that moment two eastern commas and a red admiral.
  • By the Fern Glen pond, Turk's-cap lily was still fattening its buds - I thought they'd be open today.
  • red-spotted newts were lounging at the water's surface.
  • One clump set back off the path, of purple-flowering raspberry had survived the pillage of the deer.
  • Sundew, a carnivorous plant, had returned after several years' absence. Very nice.
  • Swamp milkweed was budding up to follow common milkweed's flowering period.
  • Around the limestone cobble, lopseed was starting to produce its tiny flowers.
  • Spikenard was easy to miss on the way out of the 'Glen.
  • On the approach to the Appendix, as I like to call the area round Trail Marker 10, was another surprise: a mourning cloak. Not that they're rare, but you just don't always see them.
  • And when the sun went behind a cloud, it opened its wings to show off that rich burgundy color.
  • Next week we'll see what's happening on the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
Round-leaved Sundew

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Great Blue Heron
  • 1 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 4 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 5 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 7 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Wood Thrush
  • 9 American Robin
  • 1 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Pine Warbler
  • 1 Prairie Warbler
  • 3 Ovenbird
  • 1 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 2 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 2 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 2 Northern Cardinal
  • 1 Indigo Bunting
  • 1 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 1 Baltimore Oriole
  • 3 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 7 Cabbage White
  • 1 Clouded Sulphur
  • 2 Banded Hairstreak
  • 20 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 3 Eastern Comma
  • 1 Red Admiral
  • 8 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 8 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 4 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 14 Little Glassywing
Moth
  • 1 Virginia Ctenucha

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