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Trail Reports

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

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Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 79°F, calm and cloudy at 10:30 PM on August 21, 2019.
  • The sun would tease for a moment, only to be followed by a thunder shower later.
  • A fair number of butterflies were out in spite of the weather.
  • This week's trail report covers the Wappinger Creek side of the trail system.

The Trails

  • First stop was the milkweed patch at the Gifford House trailhead.
  • Small milkweed bugs tried to always be on the other side of the stalk from you.
  • A well worn common wood-nymph looked like it had had a run in with a bird.
  • Once in a while skies would brighten and the goldenrods would glow.
  • One of the leaf-footed bugs was on a milkweed leaf in the weak sun.
  • The large milkweed bug is similar to the small, but the black patches number 3 rather than 5.
  • House wrens were in their usual haunt - 6 of them today.
  • Tawny-edged skippers were out on the dirt roads and on low vegetation.
  • Just a few common ringlets were in the fields.
  • On the Sedge Meadow Trail, an eastern comma flew out and returned to its perch at eye level.
  • The berries of gray dogwood were ripening to white.
  • Back on the low part of that trail, jumpseed was along the sides.
  • Just to be different, silky dogwood berries were ripening to blue.
  • And that was when it started to rain in ernest.
  • As soon as it stopped, a monarch flew by the autumn olive and continued across the field.
  • Forage looper moths were up and down in the matted grass.
  • Neither garden spiders nor their webs seemed disturbed by the rains.
  • A few feather-legged files appeared abruptly and departed.
  • The Wappinger Creek Trail was dark and the sky rumbled again as the fungus, witch's butter stood out off the edge.
  • Just past that, a pair of mushrooms was just emerging from the leaf litter.
  • A little farther along, a sturdy red mushroom stood along the side of the trail.
  • The sun started to illuminate the Wappinger Creek, but was gone in a moment.
  • Next week: the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
Tawny-edged Skipper

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 2 Blue Jay
  • 3 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Carolina Wren
  • 6 House Wren
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 4 American Robin
  • 7 Gray Catbird
  • 4 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
  • 2 Baltimore Oriole
  • 5 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 5 Cabbage White
  • 1 Meadow Fritillary
  • 5 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Eastern Comma
  • 1 Common Ringlet
  • 2 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 2 Monarch
  • 22 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 4 Least Skipper
  • 2 Tawny-edged Skipper
  • 1 Zabulon Skipper
Insects
  • 1 Large milkweed bug
  • 1 Small milkweed bug
  • 1 A feather-legged fly
Moth
  • 1 Forage Looper Moth
  • 3 Hummingbird Clearwing

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 70°F, calm and cloudy at 1:15 PM on August 14, 2019.
  • Clouds slowly dispersed for a warm, sticky afternoon until a cool, dry breeze came through.
  • A giant swallowtail in the Fern Glen was a highlight today.
  • This week's trail report covers the Cary Pines side of the trail system.

The Trails

  • A hint of blue in the Gifford parking lot led to partly cloudy skies at the end of the Scots Pine Allée.
  • Often overlooked, pale smartweed was in the path through the Old Gravel Pit.
  • The little meadow along the road to the Fern Glen has had spicebush swallowtail the last several visits.
  • A couple great spangled fritillaries were on the wild bergamot too.
  • Zabulon skippers were in their 2nd brood and could be found in a number of locations.
  • A lone thistle was in its usual spot.
  • Perhaps the same one from a week or two ago, a giant swallowtail swept through and paused (this time...) in the sun.
  • At the beginning of the limestone cobble, tall meadow-rue was setting seed.
  • At the other end, great lobelia had been blooming since last week.
  • Near by, trillium fruit were ripening.
  • Near the fen, maple-leaved viburnum fruit were big but not yet ripe.
  • Along the board walk in the fen, turtlehead was blooming.
  • The dense flower clusters of climbing hempweed sweetened the air.
  • In the fen and around the pond, elderberry was ripening.
  • Like tiny tomatos, bittersweet nightshade berries were ripening. Unlike tomatos, they are poisonous.
  • Back on solid ground, purple-flowering raspberry was beyond ripe.
  • Red baneberry could be found in a number of spots along the trail.
  • Much less common here is white baneberry aka, doll's eyes.
  • Clearweed is a non-stinging nettle relative.
  • Another lobelia, our smallest, was blooming: Indian tobacco.
  • In the back corner of the 'Glen, the ground was almost bare except for little mounds. Was this excessive earthworm activity?
  • Near the deck, whorled aster still looked as if it were only about to bloom.
  • Around the corner was cardinal flower, our third and most elusive lobelia.
  • A handsome hemlock looper moth was at rest on leaves of NY ironweed.
  • On the leaves below were gelatinous egg masses, of a caddisfly.
  • The stems appeared to be host to galls of some insect.
  • On the other side of the path, sneezeweed was blooming.
  • At the back of the pond, sweet pepperbush was doing well this year.
  • The new turtle log at the front of the pond seemed to be a great hit.
  • On the shore, wild mint was not as abundant as ususal.
  • Seed pods of blue flag were swelling.
  • On the way out of the Fern Glen, spikenard fruit was ripening.
  • Out on the Cary Pines Trail, Indian pipe was coming up.
  • Next week: the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
Giant Swallowtail

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 2 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 5 Blue Jay
  • 2 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Carolina Wren
  • 2 American Robin
  • 1 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 1 Scarlet Tanager
  • 2 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Field Sparrow
  • 5 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 1 Giant Swallowtail
  • 1 Spicebush Swallowtail
  • 7 Cabbage White
  • 2 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 1 Spring Azure
  • 3 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Pearl Crescent
  • 2 Eastern Comma
  • 1 Common Ringlet
  • 2 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 7 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 2 Least Skipper
  • 2 Zabulon Skipper
  • 1 Dun Skipper
Plants
  • 1 Cardinal flower
  • 1 Clearweed
  • 1 Indian tobacco
  • 1 Sneezeweed
  • 1 Turtlehead
  • 1 Whorled aster
Moth
  • 1 Hemlock looper moth

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