Notes and Changes since last report
- It was 71°F, mostly clear and breezy on April 13, 2022.
- The grounds opened early this season, and the one-way COVID-19 restrictions on the trails had been removed.
- This is the first trail report of the season, and we have some catching up to do.
- This week's trail report covers the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
- It was a warm, early spring day at the Gifford House trailhead.
- Going the "wrong way" and down the Carriage House drive seemed at once like a forbidden treat and at the same time just as it always was.
- Around the Carriage House a couple trees were starting to blossom.
- They were magnolia and were showing promise for the next week or so.
- Around back a yellow haze hovered around some shrubs.
- Japanese cornelian cherry was starting to bloom.
- The Scots Pine Allée stretched out beyond the shrubs.
- Dark-eyed juncos scattered at my approach. Most would soon be leaving for more northern nesting grounds.
- Irregular tapping up ahead was traced with binoculars to a yellow-bellied sapsucker. The white wing bar helps distinguish this woodpecker and the white throat makes her female.
- The trail came out at the sunny Norway Spruce Glade above the Fern Glen.
- Garden escapee, myrtle was in bloom. A scan for early butterflies was in vain; even the fuzzy little bee flies seemed absent.
- Down the hill, the top most bed of the Fern Glen reached along the edge of the road.
- Even last week the hepatica had begun to bloom.
- They are almost as interesting before they bloom.
- Spring beauty too, with its grass-like leaves, only numbered one or two last week.
- And Dutchman's-breeches were but buds then.
- Bloodroot was new. It always seems overly modest.
- Above the pond, trillium was getting ready to bloom.
- At the back of the pond, marsh marigold been going for several weeks by this time.
- Of course, skunk cabbage had been up for some time, too.
- The water of the pond was very clear.
- A few amphibian egg masses were visible at the bottom.
- Red-spotted newts were lounging near the surface.
- There was plenty of skunk cabbage leafing out off the side of the pond.
- A closer look would turn up another early comer, coltsfoot, easily mistaken for roadside dandelion.
- Oh and there was a trout lily.
- The front of the pond is usually worth slowing down for.
- Indeed, painted turtles were out in the sun.
- A large bullfrog seemed afraid of nothing.
- Looking back along the pond path gave a view of a smoky looking tree.
- Binoculars revealed pussy willow.
- If you weren't looking for leatherwood, you would miss it.
- The buds had swollen to resemble (to me...) little hooves.
- That illusion doesn't last long and an unlikely yellow flower soon emerges.
- Leaves of ramps appear in the spring but are gone later in summer when flowers appear.
- Along the boardwalk, speckled alder was blooming with red female flowers and dangling male flowers.
- Last year's fruit could still be found all about.
- Along the edge of the fen, past the boardwalk, the broad leaves of Carolina spring beauty distinguised it from the earlier species.
- On the way out of the 'Glen, a closer look at the new leaves of wild ginger revealed there were flowers as well.
- The posts along the wood edge beyond the parking area were marking American hazelnut.
- They were still blooming since the week before with now familiar male catkins...
- ... and tiny red female flowers.
- Out on the Cary Pines trail, patches of sun had potential for eastern commas or mourning cloaks.
- There were a few commas this day, but right here just last season's partridgeberry was in the sun.
- Today's walk ended at the "Appendix", as I like to call the loop in the trail by marker 10. It looked like a new tree was down along the edge of the Wappinger Creek.
- Next week: the Wappinger Creek Trail the side of the trail system.