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July 24, 2019

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 75°F, clear and breezy at 1:00 PM on July 24, 2019.
  • Rain ending the day before had followed a stretch of hot, dry weather.
  • This was the most diverse butterfly day yet this season with 17 species.
  • This week's trail report covers the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.

The Trails

  • Today started with a brief butterfly walk with ecology camp.
  • Then it was over to the Old Hayfields, where common milkweed pods were getting big.
  • A surprise was white wild bergamot.
  • A garden spider's web near normally colored bergamot had caught a silver-spotted skipper.
  • Numerous hummingbird clearwings were feeding on bergamot today.
  • Compare the colors and eye stripe of the snowberry clearwing, also called bumblebee moth.
  • One of several goldenrod galls, the goldenrod bunch gall is shelter for the larva of a midge. Its secretions stop stem growth, but the leaves keep coming.
  • Another, the goldenrod ball gall is caused by the larva of different fly.
  • A serious looking wasp was feeding on spotted knapweed.
  • Not many black swallowtails have been around this season. Several were out today.
  • On the Sedge Meadow Trail, a rather worn question mark was perching in the sun. Even though the silvery mark on the underside was not obvious, the spots on the forewing above ID'd it.
  • In another patch of sun was a scorpionfly. It neither bites nor stings.
  • Out in the Sedge Meadow, a widow skimmer posed for a photo.
  • On the far side, steeplebush was blooming.
  • Pearl crescents have been almost scarce this year.
  • In the back Old Hayfield, a mating pair snowberry clearwings lumbered by and dropped into a shady space among the vegetation.
  • A milkweed leaf had been pulled together with silk. It was an empty spider nest.
  • Up above, a small monarch caterpillar was lounging on a leaf.
  • Little mud pots on a neighboring leaf suggested some kind of wasp.
  • Only later the computer darkroom revealed that the observer was being observed... by a tiny jumping spider.
  • In the heat of the day, coral hairstreaks were active and easier to spot than to photo.
  • Likewise, northern broken-dashes were perching on goldenrods and dogbanes. One would move and a dozen would spiral up in a cloud. Then one cloud would inspire another...
  • The return run through the Sedge Meadow picked up a nice view of the Appalachian brown that only teased before.
  • It's always nice to find a white-striped black just sitting.
  • Every sunny tree trunk in the woods is a potential perch for an eastern comma. Compare the spots to the question mark of earlier.
  • The sunny saplings on the descending Wappinger Creek trail are favorite perches for hairsteaks. Unfortunately, the saplings are tall...
  • Once in a while, somebody comes down to a lower branch - it was a banded hairstreak, a little tattered and missing tails - possibly from a bird.
  • Down by the creek, a sunny spot with a nettle patch was bound to have another comma. This view is easier to compare with that question mark.
  • The Wappinger Creek was full enough after the recent inch or so of rain.
  • Pale jewelweed! Was that here before?
  • And another darkroom discovery: a grasshopper inside!
  • Wood nettle was preparing to flower in the floodplain.
  • Up in front of the bench at Trail Marker 10, only a few nests were still active. It looked like a wasp rather than a bee.
  • Next week: the Cary Pines side of the trail system.
1 Turkey Vulture1 Black Swallowtail2 Hummingbird Clearwing1 Scorpionfly1 Monarch1 Pale jewelweed
1 Chimney Swift1 Cabbage White8 Snowberry Clearwing
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker1 Clouded Sulphur1 Yellow-collared scape moth
1 Downy Woodpecker3 Coral Hairstreak
1 Hairy Woodpecker2 Banded Hairstreak
2 Pileated Woodpecker1 Spring Azure
1 Eastern Wood-Pewee4 Great Spangled Fritillary
2 Red-eyed Vireo8 Pearl Crescent
1 Blue Jay2 Question Mark
3 Tufted Titmouse5 Eastern Comma
2 White-breasted Nuthatch5 Red-spotted Purple
1 Wood Thrush2 Northern Pearly-eye
2 American Robin2 Appalachian Brown
5 Gray Catbird11 Common Wood-Nymph
1 Cedar Waxwing6 Monarch
1 Common Yellowthroat17 Silver-spotted Skipper
6 Eastern Towhee30 Northern Broken-Dash
1 Field Sparrow
1 Northern Cardinal
2 Indigo Bunting
2 American Goldfinch