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October 2, 2019

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 76°F, calm and mostly cloudy at 9:30 AM on October 2, 2019.
  • The threat of rain called for an early start, but 80° and high humidity were the only issues.
  • Leaves had continued to gain more color or fall.
  • This week's trail report covers the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.

The Trails

  • There was still some blue sky over the Carriage House drive and it was getting warm.
  • Overhead a turkey vulture circled and was quickly out of sight.
  • Below, clouded sulphurs were licking minerals off the stones.
  • Something else was flitting about: a common buckeye.
  • It never stayed still long, but it never strayed far. Patience would return a decent view from below.
  • A little more color had developed in the front Old Hayfield.
  • The sky would be constantly changing all day.
  • In the back of the field, invasive burningbush was glowing regardless of the sun.
  • Among the leaves, the small fruit was ripening.
  • Nearby, common milkweed was doing what it is famous for: sending off seeds on parachutes.
  • Where the Sedge Meadow narrows is often a good place to find eastern commas.
  • Indeed, there was a fresh looking one in fall colors, i.e. the spotted rather than black hindwing.
  • The silvery, namesake comma below was distinct.
  • Past the comma and down the slope, the boardwalk through the swamp was getting covered by fallen leaves.
  • In the Sedge Meadow proper, cinnamon fern was getting crisp.
  • The maples on the side were turning golden.
  • And goldenrods were going to seed. Yes, in spite of 80°, Fall was really here.
  • In the back Old Hayfield, there was a little more color, but also a few bare trees.
  • Some of the locust saplings had folded, silk-bound leaves.
  • Those would be little shelters constructed by silver-spotted skipper caterpillars.
  • Winterberry in the Old Pasture always seems out of place.
  • Off the opposite side of the trail, a set of small fern leaves stood out.
  • Three feet away, another with a fertile frond confirmed it was a grape fern.
  • It is the sporangia - the spore containers - that are the "grapes".
  • The trail down to the bluff over the Wappinger Creek was a slippery slope indeed with acorns hidden under the fallen leaves.
  • But the view was worth the challenge.
  • Next week: the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.


  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 3 Blue Jay
  • 3 American Crow
  • 2 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 2 Carolina Wren
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 American Robin
  • 1 Gray Catbird
  • 2 Eastern Towhee
  • 4 American Goldfinch
  • 4 Cabbage White
  • 5 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 Eastern Comma
  • 1 Common Buckeye
  • 1 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 1 Grape fern