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July 29, 2020

Robber Fly

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 85°F, mostly clear and breezy at 2:00 PM on July 29, 2020.
  • This week's trail report covers the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
  • The days have been hot and dry with temps in the 90s and humidity sometimes below 50%.
  • In butterfly news, The 2nd brood of Zabulon skippers has appeared.

The Trails

  • Up the hill from trail marker 11, a bulky insect flew across the Cary Pines Trail. It was actually two: a robber fly and a carrion beetle, its meal.
  • On the hillside above the Fern Glen, a fresh 2nd brood Zabulon skipper was darting out and returning to its perch in the sun.
  • Painted turtles were still perched where the sun had been on the pond.
  • At the back of the pond, Joe-Pye weed was still in the sun.
  • It looked like there should be at least one blossom open in the flower head, but alas.
  • On the other side of the path, New York ironweed had gotten tall.
  • There was no question about the state of those buds.
  • Something flew across behind both of the plants and landed: it was a young yellow-bellied sapsucker.
  • Below, sweet pepperbush was actually blooming!
  • Those two little blossoms were quite fragrant. Each had a little insect in attendance.
  • Galls of some insect - perhaps a psyllid - adorned the underside of some hackberry leaves. Galls don't generally bother the plants they grow on.
  • Back in the fen, blueberries were taking on color.
  • Not too far away, poison sumac berries did not have a hint of white yet.
  • Elderberry was working its way to black.
  • Climbing hempweed was climbing over everything.
  • Its buds were very close to opening. This will be very fragrant, too.
  • Maleberry was not much to look at. The flowers were much more attractive.
  • On the other hand, limber honeysuckle was interesting many all ways.
  • In spite of not being all that common, turtlehead seems well known to insects.
  • Scratch and sniff the leaves of horsebalm: they have a lemony scent that follows the flowers development.
  • The strange, narrow leaves of water parsnip stood out in the surrounding vegetation.
  • Compare the arrangement of its flower head to that of Joe-Pye weed.
  • Easily overlooked was Indian tobacco.
  • A closer look reminds one that it is a lobelia.
  • All the way in the back of the 'Glen, the big pieces of the downed white oak had been cut up and moved out.
  • The path around it had been touched up, but the root ball may stay as a demonstration of "disturbance and recovery".
  • Surprise, surprise, it would be hard to miss that red.
  • Another lobelia, cardinal flower was out.
  • Heal-all is another low, common, weedy plant, easily overlooked.
  • One brave little Indian pipe was daring to rise along the mossy, well mowed road edge.
  • In the bottom of the Old Gravel Pit, a familiar leaf was growing alarmingly close to the path.
  • But the flowers were wrong - it wasn't wood nettle, but false nettle - completely harmless to the touch.
  • Even though shadows were now reaching out over the Little Bluestem Meadow, a handsome eastern tiger swallowtail was still foraging out in the dogbane.
  • Next week: The Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.


  • 5 Mourning Dove
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 6 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 4 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 Eastern Bluebird
  • 2 American Robin
  • 1 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 1 Field Sparrow
  • 4 American Goldfinch
  • 1 Robber fly
  • 2 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 1 Eastern Comma
  • 1 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 2 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 1 Zabulon Skipper
  • 1 Cardinal flower
  • 1 False nettle
  • 1 Heal-all
  • 1 Indian pipe
  • 1 Indian tobacco
  • 1 Sweet pepperbush
  • 1 Water parsnip