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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 65°F, clear and windy at 1:15 PM on October 5, 2016.
  • This week's trail report covers the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
  • Fall foliage had progressed considerably since last week.
  • Warmer and sunnier than last week, this day offered some butterflies.

The Trails

  • There's nowhere to hide in a clear blue sky. How can a hawk disappear in the time it takes to pull out a camera? It did reappear - a red-tailed hawk.
  • Scanning around lower to the ground, I noticed dark lumps at the edge of the field beyond Gifford House - a dozen wild turkeys moving across in stealth mode.
  • One stood up for a look about and made a nice portrait.
  • It had been damp for a week, but today the now dry leaves behind the Carriage House sounded like fall under foot.
  • And since last week, the view down the Scots Pine Alleé was looking more like Fall.
  • Bird activity along there was high with white-breasted nuthatches and kinglets above, and sparrows and bluebirds below.
  • The view across the Little Bluestem Meadow had the best color in photos, but it was all good - and better in person.
  • Compare the burning bush where the path comes out at the top of the Fern Glen to two weeks ago.
  • The walking fern in the limestone cobble had just about recovered since the theft in November 2012. Actually there was still a point of bare rock the moss had not yet covered in the 4 years. "Disturbance and recovery" is an interesting subject.
  • Blister beetles were still in the hepatica since Monday. The smaller male appeared to be whispering into the female's ear while an even smaller male tried to get between them. The female was interested only in the hepatica.
  • A fourth was resting near by, offering much less confusing views.
  • Oops, almost forgot: a visitor remarked on a purple mushroom and I actually found it.
  • Next week: the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
Blister Beetle


  • 12 Wild Turkey
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 2 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • 1 Hairy Woodpecker
  • 5 Eastern Phoebe
  • 2 Blue Jay
  • 4 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 5 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 4 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 2 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • 1 Common Yellowthroat
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 2 Field Sparrow
  • 4 White-throated Sparrow
  • 1 Dark-eyed Junco
  • 1 American Goldfinch
  • 9 Cabbage White
  • 9 Clouded Sulphur
  • 3 Orange Sulphur
  • 1 Blister beetle

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 60°F, cloudy and windy at 1:45 PM on September 28, 2016.
  • This week's trail report covers the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
  • A few trees were actually all in fall foliage, but mostly color was just beginning in patches.
  • This cool, cloudy, windy day offered few butterflies.

The Trails

  • Even the goldenrods were finishing blooming in the front Old Hayfield by Gifford House.
  • Without the distraction of all that color, other features become more obvious - e.g., the goldenrod bunch gall, caused by the larva of a midge.
  • The larva's secretions halt stem growth, but the leaves keep coming forming shelter for the larva.
  • Color was creeping into the Sedge Meadow, touching the cinnamon fern and some shrubs farther in.
  • In the back Old Hayfield, poison ivy was turning every color between yellow and red.
  • A hickory tussock moth caterpillar was stretched out along a goldenrod leaf.
  • In the back corner, one tree was looking fully decked out in orange.
  • Along the edge, Japanese barberry leaves were catching up with its fruit in color.
  • A surprise in the Old Pasture was two trees side by side in full color.
  • This early, color was in a few leaves at a time...
  • ..or in striking individuals, like this Virginia creeper.
  • Rose hips provided an alternative source of color towards the back.
  • On the other side of the trail, winterberry - usually growing in moist areas - was joining in.
  • Finally wreath goldenrod on the Wappinger Creek Trail!
  • There's been plenty of zigzag goldenrod. Compare the narrow, finely toothed leaves of the former to the oval, sharply toothed leaves of the latter of these two woodland dwellers.
  • Next week: the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar


  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Belted Kingfisher
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Hairy Woodpecker
  • 2 Eastern Phoebe
  • 7 Blue Jay
  • 7 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Gray Catbird
  • 10 Cedar Waxwing
  • 2 Common Yellowthroat
  • 2 Eastern Towhee
  • 4 Chipping Sparrow
  • 1 White-throated Sparrow
  • 1 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 Orange Sulphur

<li>1 Hickory tussock moth</li>


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