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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 mostly cloudy and 83° with a light breeze at 1:30 PM on August 8.
  • My first discovery of the day was that I'd left everything home: camera, binoculars, checklist, hat, water... I hate when I do that.
  • With borrowed bins and a piece of scrap paper, I was off.

The Trails

  • The birds seemed especially quiet today, except, as usual, for goldfinch, which were heard on virtually every trail.
  • The butterflies seemed to be out in normal numbers.
  • That mossy dead tree on the Cary Pines Trail near the Fern Glen was lacking almost all of the fungi from last week - quite the opposite of what I'd expected...
  • In the Glen, long legs with white joints were momentarily highlighted against a black background as a mysterious insect floated through a patch of sun. Maybe a cranefly, maybe not... I've seen it over the years, but never often, never well...
  • I was surprised by a large dark "lep" (-idopteran) flying on the Cary Pines Trail. It was too large to write off as a gypsy moth, and when it abruptly clamped onto the trunk of a tree, I knew it was a northern pearly-eye. It showed little wear and tear for so late in the season.
  • Deer flies and "ear flies" - those non-biting, but annoying things that fly in and around one's ears - were not so surprising nor welcome. I constantly flicked a switch about my head and had the occasional satisfaction of hearing it make a direct hit.
  • On the Wappinger Creek Trail, I tried to adjust my attitude to one of scientific excitement as I observed how dense and tall the Japanese stilt grass was in this 2nd season since its appearance here. I am observing first hand an invasive plant just as it enters an area! For the record, as last year, it reaches from the foot bridge at the end of the flood plain upstream to the stone wall crossing the path. But it's much taller and thicker.
  • Farther up the trail, I was observed by another northern pearly-eye as I entered its area. Again, it showed little wear and tear.
  • The Sedge Meadow Trail - always a favorite - did not disappoint: a moderatly tattered Appalachian brown came out to investigate me.
  • Some time was spent around the two Old Hayfields where big spicebush swallowtails and a number of zabulon skippers were among the notable.
  • The female zabulon looks nothing like the male - black as opposed to orange. Very handsome. I must get a good photo...
  • ... maybe next time.

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Chimney Swift
  • 2 Blue Jay
  • 1 American Crow
  • 3 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 4 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 2 Field Sparrow
  • 4 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 2 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 1 Spicebush Swallowtail
  • 52 Cabbage White
  • 2 Clouded Sulphur
  • 6 Orange Sulphur
  • 1 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 8 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 11 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 American Lady
  • 3 Northern Pearly-eye
  • 1 Appalachian Brown
  • 16 Common Ringlet
  • 8 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 6 Monarch
  • 23 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 1 Wild Indigo Duskywing
  • 2 Least Skipper
  • 9 Zabulon Skipper
  • 2 Dun Skipper
Moth
  • 2 Galium Sphinx
  • 3 Hummingbird Clearwing
  • 2 Snowberry Clearwing

Notes and changes since last report:

  • 75°F, cloudy and breezy at 10:45 AM, becoming brighter and warmer for a while.
  • Temps have been holding in the 80s and there have been showers and occasional rain every several days.
  • Three pairs of eyes today helped make more observations.
  • I don't usually select a feature photo from "the previous week" let alone off the usual route. Today, however...

The Trails

  • An eastern tailed-blue found one of us tasty, making "proceed with caution" a necessity on our part.
  • A moth flew into and might have escaped from an orb-weaver's well worn web, but the spider was quick.
  • In an amazing feat of deception, I coaxed the camera's well meaning, but misguided auto-focus onto a halloween pennant.
  • Oh yes, goldenrods, I realized, were beginning to bloom.
  • So were red chanterelles at the back of the Old Pasture - if mushrooms can be said to bloom.
  • I couldn't pass up the opportunity to snap a female dun skipper perfectly posed.
  • I'd spent some time last season on the Wappinger Creek Trail dealing with the first appearance of the recent invasive, Japanese stilt grass. Obviously, not enough time. The shiny mid-rib distinguishes it from a similar native grass. The extra stilt-like roots it puts down will confirm its ID.
  • In the Fern Glen, the antennae and proboscis were the flaw in the disguise. This was not the gentle (usually) pollen and nectar foraging bumble bee, but a predatious robber fly.
  • At the back of the pond, sneezeweed was beginning to bloom. Each dot in the cone is considered an individual flower.
  • Around the corner, sweet pepperbush was already filling the air with its scent even at this early stage.
  • In the shrub swamp, a red-spotted purple stopped to soak up some sun.
  • On the way out of the Glen, the broad leaf of zigzag goldenrod was easy to recognize.
  • I paused as I came upon the dead tree as Cary Pines Trail heads towards the Old Gravel Pit.
  • It was one tiny mushroom that I'd noticed.
  • Of course the more you look the more you find. I recognized a bright, white fungus from elsewhere the year before.
  • And likewise some screaming pink balls.
  • Another tiny black mushroom rose above a plain of moss.
  • By now it had clouded over again and I'd left my lunch in the car. Time to move on.
Eastern tailed-blue
Orb-weaver and moth
Halloween pennant
Goldenrods
Red chanterelles
Female dun skipper
Japanese stilt grass
Robber fly
Sneezeweed
Sneezeweed
Sweet pepperbush
Red-spotted purple
Zigzag goldenrod
Dead tree
Tiny mushroom
White fungus
Pink balls fungus
Another tiny mushroom
Female Zabulon skipper

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Cooper's Hawk
  • 1 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 1 American Woodcock
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 5 Chimney Swift
  • 2 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 1 Eastern Kingbird
  • 2 Blue Jay
  • 5 American Crow
  • 10 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 7 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 2 Wood Thrush
  • 2 American Robin
  • 4 Gray Catbird
  • 3 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Blue-winged Warbler
  • 1 American Redstart
  • 1 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 4 Eastern Towhee
  • 2 Field Sparrow
  • 2 Indigo Bunting
  • 6 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 4 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 2 Spicebush Swallowtail
  • 63 Cabbage White
  • 4 Clouded Sulphur
  • 2 Orange Sulphur
  • 3 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 11 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Meadow Fritillary
  • 27 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Question Mark
  • 1 Painted Lady
  • 2 Red-spotted Purple
  • 1 Viceroy
  • 2 Appalachian Brown
  • 10 Common Ringlet
  • 22 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 9 Monarch
  • 26 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 5 Least Skipper
  • 1 Peck's Skipper
  • 3 Northern Broken-Dash
  • 9 Zabulon Skipper
  • 4 Dun Skipper
Plants
  • 1 Sneezeweed
  • 1 Sweet pepperbush
  • 1 Zigzag goldenrod
Moth
  • 2 Dogbane Tiger Moth
  • 1 Galium Sphinx
  • 2 Hummingbird Clearwing
  • 1 Snowberry Clearwing
  • 1 White-striped Black

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