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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

  • 90°F, hazy with light breezes at 1:30 PM.
  • I wanted to get out early and beat the heat, but that was not to be...
  • The banded hairstreak and little glassy-wing were back.
  • Seeds and berries were forming on some early bloomers.

The Trails

  • A lap around Gifford House parking lot was in order with all the milkweed blooming. I missed a photo of my first banded hairstreak of the season, but then noticed all the daisy fleabane in bloom.
  • It was so hot that even a European skipper seemed to be seeking shade of a milkweed leaf in the front Old Hayfield.
  • What do lightning bugs do during the day? This one was sitting in milkweed shade too.
  • The yellow goat's-beard, that looked like dandelion on steroids back in May, was continuing the game as it went to seed today.
  • I finally got a photo of the dogbane tiger moth that's been around for a while; of course it was in the shade.
  • In the shady tunnel of the Sedge Meadow Trail's board walk, a red admiral was feeding on a truly dead opossum.
  • A squirrel and I startled each other as I rounded a bend a little farther along.
  • My first thought was fall webworm, but that's later in the season; I'll have to come back when these caterpillars are a little bigger.
  • A sunny sand bar along the Wappinger Creek had banded hairstreak, cabbage white and even a very worn zabulon skipper.
  • Farther along, tall meadow-rue was in bloom.
  • In the Norway Spruce Glade above the Fern Glen, Venus's looking-glass was blooming on the dry hill side.
  • In cool of the Glen itself, red baneberry was now unmistakable.
  • And maple-leaved viburnum was forming obviously un-maple-like seeds.
  • Deeper in the Glen, chewed leaves caught my eye.
  • One leaf with a little bit of white poking out from underneath was begging me to turn it over; I couldn't resist. It could be a sawfly larva. You truly could not tell head from tail.
  • What I'd come back here for was a tiny blue flower I'd seen earlier.
  • A close look revealed the distinctive blossom of a speedwell - this one water speedwell.
  • Oops, I forgot the swamp candles as I was working my way back out through the fen.
  • They're small too, but again worth closer inspection.
  • In dryer areas, false Solomon's seal was forming berries.
  • Passing by the pond on my way out, I was stopped in my tracks by unbelievably red leaves on the river birch. How did I miss them before? What were they - a fungus? A look on the web, later, indicated it was the work of the velvet erineum gall mite and that, as with most galls, it didn't really bother the tree.
  • With the parking lot in sight and a swimming pool then 10 minutes away, I still had to stop for one more tiny gem today: a plume moth was dangling under a milkweed leaf in the Little Bluestem Meadow.
  • Even as I was loading the car, a different shade of orange was moving along the parking lot edge. Always keeping a few feet ahead of me, it was a painted lady seemingly trying to lure me away from the car to stay a little longer and get a better photo. Mediocre is better than poor; but pool is better than either; I left.
Daisy fleabane
European skipper
Lightning bug
Yellow goat's-beard
Dogbane tiger moth
Red admiral
Gray squirrel
Un-ID'd caterpillars
Banded hairstreak
Tall meadow-rue
Tall meadow-rue
Venus's looking-glass
Red baneberry
Maple-leaved viburnum
What's chewing these leaves?
A sawfly larva
Water speedwell
Water speedwell
Velvet erineum gall mite work on river birch
Plume moth
Painted lady
Swamp candles
Swamp candles
False Solomon's seal

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 2 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 3 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 Warbling Vireo
  • 4 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 2 Blue Jay
  • 5 American Crow
  • 3 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 3 Tufted Titmouse
  • 3 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 2 Eastern Bluebird
  • 2 Veery
  • 1 Wood Thrush
  • 3 American Robin
  • 2 Gray Catbird
  • 5 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Chestnut-sided Warbler
  • 1 Black-throated Green Warbler
  • 1 Pine Warbler
  • 1 Prairie Warbler
  • 4 Ovenbird
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 2 Scarlet Tanager
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Field Sparrow
  • 3 Song Sparrow
  • 2 Northern Cardinal
  • 1 Indigo Bunting
  • 1 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 2 Baltimore Oriole
  • 1 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 13 Cabbage White
  • 2 Clouded Sulphur
  • 7 Banded Hairstreak
  • 6 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 2 Meadow Fritillary
  • 2 Question Mark
  • 1 Painted Lady
  • 1 Red Admiral
  • 1 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 10 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 1 European Skipper
  • 2 Little Glassywing
  • 1 Zabulon Skipper
Plants
  • 1 Daisy flea-bane
  • 1 Tall meadow-rue
  • 1 Venus' looking-glass
  • 1 Water speedwell
  • 1 Swamp candles
Moth
  • 1 Plume Moth

Notes and changes since last report

  • ... was again raining in the morning, but 75°, partly cloudy and windy at 2:15 PM on June 13.
  • I was hoping the butterflies would be out and hungry after a few gray, wet days, but activity seemed low.

The Trails

  • On the other hand, as I strolled back towards the Carriage House I glanced at the nettle patch along the way; the tops were all chewed up.
  • When were all those red admirals laying eggs here - a couple weeks ago, right? Yup, I uncurled a nettle leaf (carefully) and there was a baby red admiral. I had seen dozens crossing the road earlier in the week.
  • The warm, moist afternoon air was wonderful today. On the way to the Fern Glen Japanese honeysuckle was adding it's sweet perfume to the mix of grasses and bedstraws.
  • A not so nice smell was that of black swallowwort.
  • An examination of its milky sap and almost black blossoms reveals its kinship with common milkweed, which was blooming in stands at Gifford House.
  • Monarchs recognize that kinship and will lay their eggs on it, but it is poisonous to the caterpillars. The roots persist, the seeds fly far, the plant tolerates a wide range of light and soil conditions, and deer don't eat it...
  • Now is a good time (flowers, NO pods) to give it some of its own medicine if you don't mind herbicides. It can, with great care and patience, be dug out. But that can quickly change one's position on herbicides...
  • At the edge of the Glen's parking lot, winterberry was in bloom.
  • At the edge of the pond, sweetflag was blooming and lizzard's-tail was about to.
  • Back by the fen, thornless purple-flowering raspberry was inviting to a variety of pollinators.
  • The deer always find the diervilla, a honeysuckle relative, before I remember to spray. The one remaining blossom was beyond recognition.
  • Last week, I failed to mention the greenish-flowered pyrola also around that area. Indeed, its flower is greenish.
  • Partridgeberry and American brooklime had suffered similarly.
  • As I headed back to the trails, I found a caterpillar blocking my way. "Radcliff's dagger moth" I later found in Wagner's great guide.
  • Our most common pyrola, shinleaf, was all around the base of the watershead poster on the Wappinger Creek trail. Compare its whiter blossom to that of the other species above.
  • In the back Old Hayfield, black-eyed Susan was beginning to open.
  • In the back of the back Old Hayfield, foxglove was back again.
  • There's always some interesting insect lurking in the blossoms - this day a tiny looper.
  • I almost left without noting the ubiquitous field and roadside inhabitant, hop clover.
  • And another, birdfoot trefoil, I confess, I did photograph the following day.
Partridgeberry
American brooklime
Greenish-flowered pyrola
Shinleaf
Chewed up nettles
Baby red admiral
Japanese honeysuckle
Black swallow-wort
Black swallow-wort blossoms
Winterberry
Winterberry
Sweetflag
Lizzard's-tail
Flowering raspberry and pollinator
Flowering raspberry
Diervilla
Radcliff's dagger moth
Black-eyed Susan
Foxglove
Foxglove and looper
Hop clover
Common milkweed
Common milkweed blossoms
Shinleaf
Shinleaf blossoms
Birdfoot trefoil

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Belted Kingfisher
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 2 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 3 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 Eastern Kingbird
  • 1 Warbling Vireo
  • 3 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 4 Blue Jay
  • 6 American Crow
  • 1 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 House Wren
  • 2 Eastern Bluebird
  • 3 Veery
  • 1 Wood Thrush
  • 2 American Robin
  • 2 Gray Catbird
  • 3 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Prairie Warbler
  • 1 Ovenbird
  • 2 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 2 Scarlet Tanager
  • 4 Eastern Towhee
  • 2 Chipping Sparrow
  • 2 Field Sparrow
  • 2 Song Sparrow
  • 4 Northern Cardinal
  • 1 Indigo Bunting
  • 2 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 2 Brown-headed Cowbird
  • 3 Baltimore Oriole
  • 2 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 6 Cabbage White
  • 1 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 1 Question Mark
  • 1 Eastern Comma
  • 3 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 1 Common Ringlet
  • 5 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 1 European Skipper
Plants
  • 1 Birdfoot trefoil
  • 1 Black-eyed Susan
  • 1 Common milkweed
  • 1 Deptford pink
  • 1 Diervilla
  • 1 Foxglove
  • 1 Hop clover
  • 1 Shinleaf
  • 1 Sweetflag

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