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October 20, 2021

Ironwood Fruit

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 74°F, mostly clear with light winds at 1:15 PM on October 20, 2021.
  • There were almost no mosquitos today!
  • Reminder: Lovelace Drive - past the Fern Glen - has been opened to traffic again.
  • Note that the grounds close Nov. 1 for the winter.
  • This week's trail report covers the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.

The Trails

  • A stroll along the Carriage House Drive produced no butterflies, but numerous smaller things were in the air around that tall tree.
  • They were ladybugs, which are beetles actually, and not one species, but a whole family with some 450 species in North America. This may have been a winter congregation forming.
  • The view from the Gifford trailhead was of many bare trees and few leaves with any color.
  • Some color was on the Sedge Meadow Trail in the form of rose hips on multiflora rose.
  • A little farther along, old gray dogwood berries were no longer plump and creamy white.
  • Orange splashed the side of the path as it headed into the woods.
  • Invasive Oriental bittersweet was just winding up for its autumn display.
  • Behind it, invasive burningbush was well under way.
  • On the other side of the path, a dragonfly soaked up some sun.
  • Leaves were down on the boardwalk, but there was no color to speak of.
  • Among a mob of chickadees and kinglets were several yellow-rumped warblers.
  • "Confusing fall warblers" can be frustrating, but sometimes there is confirmation.
  • A search for color in the Sedge Meadow yielded some good yellow in the back.
  • That was typical of maple - or it usually is.
  • Closer was an all but bare red maple.
  • The remaining dozen leaves were doing a nice job against the clear blue sky.
  • Bare trees bordered the back Old Hayfield.
  • Something bright dropped into the grass in front: a clouded sulphur, a female by the spotted black margin.
  • Among the half dozen or so of them were a few orange sulphurs as well.
  • A song sparrow was intently examining a goldenrod.
  • Then it was off to the trail through the Old Pasture.
  • Color was scant in the leaves, but bright red was in gray dogwood berry stems.
  • Texture, more than color, was the appeal of little bluestem - especially with the lighting.
  • Of course, winterberry was still lurking at the far edge.
  • It seems under rated in spite of its long lasting, handsome fruit.
  • A hand lens was useful in examining the hairy veins on the leaves below, as described in the books.
  • The view from the bluff over the Wappinger Creek is always nice regardless of the foliage.
  • At the bottom of the hill, witch hazel was in the air and was providing some color.
  • A search for the flowers was challenging, but something in the background was interesting.
  • The peculiar fruit of ironwood - the one also called musclewood for the appearance of its trunks and branches.
  • Finally, a lone witch hazel flower. By the smell in the air, there must have been more around...
  • In the floodplain, bare stalks of invasive Japanese stilt grass had shed their seed. The telltale leaves remained to help distinguish them from other grasses.
  • At trail marker 10, the witch's butter was finally showing its age.
  • The biscuit-like mushrooms still looked fresh out of the oven.
  • Next week: the Cary Pines Trail the side of the trail system.


  • 2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 6 Blue Jay
  • 2 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 2 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • 2 Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • 2 Song Sparrow
  • 1 American Goldfinch
  • 2 Cabbage White
  • 12 Clouded Sulphur
  • 4 Orange Sulphur
  • 1 Dragonfly
  • 1 Ladybug