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Trail Reports

Insights on trail conditions and the plants and animals you can expect to encounter throughout the seasons.

BarryMeet Barry, the author of our trail reports >>

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 80°F, partly cloudy and breezy at 1:00 PM on July 11, 2018.
  • With low humidity, this was a lovely day.
  • This week's trail report covers the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
  • It was a good day for butterflies with both juniper and coral hairstreaks out.

The Trails

  • Waving hands from across the back yard of Gifford House were from this summer's Art and Science Day Camp.
  • Sketch pads were recording natural history observations such as a Virginia creeper sphinx.
  • At the main kiosk was a banded tussock moth.
  • By the trail head, Canada thistle was going to seed.
  • Out in the first Old Hayfield, wild bergamot was just starting to bloom.
  • Low, sprawling wild basil was popular with grass skippers such as the dun skipper.
  • Dragonflies were well represented today.
  • Common milkweed is such a great butterfly attractor. A juniper hairstreak was a nice find.
  • Just a few plants away was an equally exciting coral hairstreak.
  • In between them, a good size monarch caterpillar was feeding. They only eat milkweeds.
  • Almost invisible was a plume moth at rest.
  • On such a warm and sunny day it was a trick finding a stationary little wood-satyr.
  • At the high side of the Sedge Meadow Trail, cedar waxwings filled a tree one at a time to a count of seven.
  • A hawk launched itself overhead as I entered the back Old Hayfield.
  • There'd been a red-tailed hawk here lately, and in the right light the red tail was obvious.
  • Yarrow doesn't attract many butterflies, but those it does are interesting - even when they are moths: again plume moths.
  • There was a lot of chipping from the trees above and from the tall weeds below. One source was a young indigo bunting.
  • Dragonflies don't call, but the rattle of their wings is loud enough when a bigger one, like a widow skimmer, passes by one's head.
  • A young sparrow was looking mighty punky with raised crest feathers.
  • A third kind of chip was coming from a common yellowthroat.
  • A blur working between the milkweed and yarrow turned out to be an American copper.
  • As the Sedge Meadow Trail rises to the Old Pasture, Northern pearly-eyes were finally appearing.
  • On the Wappinger Creek Trail, an eastern comma was disappearing.
  • When it got used to my presence, it opened up to bask in the sun.
  • At the "Appendix" - as I like to call the area around trail marker 10 - the sand wasp colony was active.
  • It took patience to get a shot of one landing.
  • And then some more to get a decent view.
  • Next week: the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
Virginia Creeper Sphinx

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 3 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 3 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 1 Blue Jay
  • 1 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 House Wren
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Veery
  • 1 Wood Thrush
  • 1 American Robin
  • 3 Gray Catbird
  • 7 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Prairie Warbler
  • 1 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 2 Common Yellowthroat
  • 2 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 3 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
  • 2 Indigo Bunting
  • 3 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 4 Cabbage White
  • 4 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 Orange Sulphur
  • 1 American Copper
  • 1 Coral Hairstreak
  • 1 'Olive' Juniper Hairstreak
  • 1 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 1 Spring Azure
  • 3 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Meadow Fritillary
  • 1 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Eastern Comma
  • 4 Northern Pearly-eye
  • 1 Appalachian Brown
  • 7 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 3 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 2 Monarch
  • 4 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 3 Northern Broken-Dash
  • 2 Little Glassywing
  • 1 Delaware Skipper
  • 1 Black Dash
  • 3 Dun Skipper
Caterpillars
  • 1 Monarch
Plants
  • 1 Spotted Joe-Pye-weed
  • 1 Wild bergamot
Moth
  • 1 Banded Tussock Moth
  • 1 Plume moth
  • 1 Virginia Creeper Sphinx

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was humid, 88°F, partly cloudy and almost calm at 2:00 PM on July 3, 2018.
  • That 88°F was in the shade in the woods. Mercifully, some cloud cover rolled in towards the end of the walk.
  • This week's trail report covers the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
  • Gypsy moths were on the wing in numbers today.

The Trails

  • It was a hot summer day on the way to the Carriage House.
  • At the Fern Glen, a tiny caterpillar was transferred from my sock to a leaf.
  • The leaf was not entirely vacant: a small bug was already there.
  • And hiding in the leaf axil was a tiny leaf hopper of some sort.
  • Between the pond and the kiosk, Turk's cap lily had survived the exotic leaf beetles and was producing flower buds.
  • At the back of the pond, New York ironweed was barely starting to form its flower head.
  • In the meantime, a candy strip leaf hopper was there providing color.
  • Towards the limestone cobble, lopseed was starting to bloom.
  • The flower folds down to form a seed on a loose hinge which easily yields to passing legs.
  • Something, perhaps a gall, disfigures the leaves of honewort. It's so common, I don't recognize an unaffected plant.
  • Back in the fen, swamp milkweed was getting ready to bloom.
  • Swamp candles had already started.
  • Up above, poison sumac was done flowering and was forming berries.
  • The small flower of winterberry was easy to overlook compared to the brilliant red berries that persist through the winter.
  • On the way back towards the kiosk, daisy fleabane was up along the railing.
  • Nearby, enchanter's nightshade had been blooming.
  • That's another obscure plant with an obscure flower but a big name.
  • Off the side of the road was a patch of shinleaf.
  • The flower is curious enough, but the bug added something special.
  • On the way out from the cobble, spikenard had just started.
  • Finally there was a white spot on a tree up ahead.
  • It was a female Gypsy moth. They are very weak flyers, but males seem to never land.
  • Another nearby was laying eggs.
  • Finally, almost at the parking lot, a male had dropped down and paused long enough for a photo.
  • Next week: the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
Gypsy Moth Laying Eggs

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 2 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 1 Blue Jay
  • 1 American Crow
  • 1 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 4 Tufted Titmouse
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Carolina Wren
  • 1 House Wren
  • 4 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Veery
  • 2 Pine Warbler
  • 1 Worm-eating Warbler
  • 1 Ovenbird
  • 4 Scarlet Tanager
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 1 Field Sparrow
Butterflies
  • 1 Cabbage White
  • 1 Clouded Sulphur
  • 2 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 3 Little Wood-Satyr
Plants
  • 1 Enchanter's nightshade
  • 1 Honewort
  • 1 Lopseed
  • 1 Spikenard
  • 1 Swamp candles
  • 1 Winterberry
Moth
  • 1 Gypsy moth

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