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September 22, 2020

Dogwood Sawfly Larvae

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 66°F, clear and windy at 2:15 PM on September 22, 2020, the first day of Fall.
  • Last week's hazy sky was not due to clouds but smoke from the wild fires on the west coast of the US.
  • Birds and butterflies were very quiet today.
  • This week's trail report covers the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.

The Trails

  • It had been windy up in the fields, but it was calm along the Wappinger Creek at the "Appendix".
  • Moles had been active in the soft, damp, creek-side soil.
  • The shiny mid vein identifies invasive Japanese stilt grass. Even cut down now, the flower would likely yeild seeds.
  • Any knee high vegetation makes me wary of black-legged (aka, deer) ticks.
  • The Cary Pines Trail was quiet until the ridge above the rushing waters of the gorge below.
  • On the hill side above the Fern Glen, the battle against black swallowwort may be turning in our favor.
  • The roots are not too deep, but they spread out.
  • Pulling the vine leaves shoots behind, ready to replace them.
  • But digging must get the whole rhizome - that underground runner that would put up new plants.
  • The swallowtail pods somewhat resemble milkweed's, but the seeds inside are identical. Indeed monarchs recognize they are related and lay eggs on swallowwort, but it is fatal to the caterpillars.
  • In the Fern Glen proper, "doll's eyes" or white baneberry had become distinct from red baneberry.
  • Along the side of the pond, sneezeweed was still in bloom.
  • Back in the fen, spotted jewelweed was looking tired, but pods were forming.
  • Take a bulging pod and find out why it's called touch-me-not.
  • Some of the rough-leaved goldenrod had the beaked flower gall.
  • The tiny larva of a midge develops within.
  • Holes in gray dogwood leaves led to the discovery of dogwood sawfly larvae.
  • While most were covered with white, one seemed to be naked.
  • Farther along the path, horsebalm was finished blooming.
  • The leaves and especially the seed pods have a lemony smell when touched - even more so than when in bloom.
  • Indian cucumber root was really showing off now.
  • One last look along the stone bridge and it was back on the Cary Pines Trail.
  • It was very quiet through the Old Gravel Pit and then came the peaceful view across the Little Bluestem Meadow.
  • There was little butterfly activity out there today, but a bit of yellow dropped into the grass along the Scots Pine Alée.
  • It was one cloudless sulphur hunkering down in the last sun of the afternoon.
  • Nearby was a common roadside plant, easy to overlook:
  • Bladder campion - kids used to pop them like paper bags... usually on another kids forehead...
  • And right next to it was another common plant we walk by without noticing:
  • Butter-and-eggs. They are both alien, but so well established, we don't look twice.
  • Next week: The Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.


  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 5 Blue Jay
  • 1 Bladder campion
  • 1 Butter-and-eggs
  • 4 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 Dogwood Sawfly