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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 >>

  • It was 85°F and mostly cloudy and windy at 11:00 AM on July 13, 2016.
  • This week's trail report covers the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
  • The dogbane patch in the Little Bluestem Meadow was the butterfly hot spot today.
  • One long running Fern Glen mystery has been solved while another has surfaced.
  • The aphrodite fritillary made a rare appearance in the Fern Glen today.

The Trails

  • The forecasted heat and humidity called for an early start, but there's no avoiding the peak, so what's the point?
  • A cheerful yellow day lily variety was at one side of the Gifford trail head.
  • On the other side was a tattered musk mallow.
  • I'm quick to blame the deer, but it could well have been a ground hog. At least there were still blossoms left.
  • Something large, black and blue worked the road past the Carriage House. We caught up on some wild basil off the Scots Pine Alleé - it was a female black swallowtail.
  • The big patch of spreading dogbane at the back of the Little Bluestem Meadow was doing great.
  • It hosted two eastern tiger swallowtails, a dozen each of great spangled fritillaries and silver-spotted skippers, half a dozen common wood-nymphs, and a smattering of various grass skippers.
  • In the Fern Glen's Howard Roeller bed, great St. John'swort had started blooming.
  • Likewise, the tall bellflower.
  • Off the high side of the limestone cobble, at a point between flowering and fruiting, stood Valeriana alliariaefolia. This has been a mystery for my dozen years here. A little project - not mine - turned up its ID and source: Russia.
  • On the bottom side of the cobble, familiar old daisy fleabane was blooming.
  • In between, where the deer allowed, lopseed, with its minute, hinged blossoms was blooming.
  • Towards the back of the pond, a lesser maple spanworm moth was just hanging out.
  • Above, summer-sweet or clethra, was getting ready to bloom.
  • Along the side of the pond, Culver's root was blooming.
  • At the front, just a couple spotted jewelweed were open.
  • The lizard's tail and wild mint were both going strong now.
  • Back in the poor fen was a St. John'swort. I thought I had it figured out a couple years ago when it appeared, but now I don't know. The flowers are too large for one kind, with the pistil wrong for the other... a mystery.
  • But then a different looking fritillary landed on swamp milkweed. It was so dark, the silver spots stood out with striking contrast when the sun was right.
  • It was the aphrodite fritillary. Fortune allowed a side-by-side comparison with a great spangled.
  • That made my day! 2010 was the last time I'd seen one here.
  • Helleborine was up in a few places.
  • It's a little, alien orchid with green blossoms.
  • Our native spotted wintergreen is pretty strange too.
  • A few spring azures, or summer azures, were flying around the deck.
  • It's always cool at the deck, and an effort to leave on a day this warm...
  • Next week: the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
Great Spangled and Aphrodite Fritillaries


  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 2 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 Eastern Kingbird
  • 5 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 1 Blue Jay
  • 1 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 5 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 American Robin
  • 2 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Cedar Waxwing
  • 1 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 1 Scarlet Tanager
  • 2 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 3 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 1 Indigo Bunting
  • 3 American Goldfinch
  • 1 Black Swallowtail
  • 2 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 2 Cabbage White
  • 3 Spring Azure
  • 23 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Aphrodite Fritillary
  • 2 Pearl Crescent
  • 5 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 10 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 16 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 2 Northern Broken-Dash
  • 1 Delaware Skipper
  • 5 Dun Skipper
  • 1 Culver's-root
  • 1 Great St. Johnswort
  • 1 Helleborine
  • 1 Lopseed
  • 1 Musk mallow
  • 1 Spotted jewelweed
  • 1 Spotted wintergreen
  • 1 St. Johnswort different...
  • 1 Summer-sweet
  • 1 Tall bellflower
  • 1 Hummingbird Clearwing
  • 1 Lesser maple spanworm moth
  • It was 90°F and partly cloudy with light breezes at 12:00 PM on July 6, 2016.
  • This week's trail report covers the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
  • The milkweed was in a strange state with some some finished blooming, some yet to bloom, but few in the act.

The Trails

  • The scorched path across the front Old Hayfield had only a tiny oasis of shade.
  • Larger patches of shade along the Sedge Meadow Trail helped along the way to refuge at the boardwalk.
  • A brief peek across the Sedge Meadow itself turned up little.
  • The back Old Hayfield had a rim of shade.
  • Spiked lobelia was way in the back of the field.
  • A dash through the Old Pasture and we were in the sanctuary of the Wappinger Creek Trail with tall trees and flowing water.
  • But where were the northern pearly-eyes? It took a couple passes through their usual haunt at the entrance to prompt one to come out.
  • Down in the flood plain before the "Appendix", several Canada lilies were blooming.
  • They looked fresh and brand new.
  • At several spots along the way, there had been the distant buzzy trill of a bird. Now it was close enough to call back to and yes it was the worm-eating warbler.
  • There were several in the group allowing views from different angles including a nice view of the head stripes.
  • Meanwhile, almost under foot was hemp nettle.
  • The tiny flowers are interesting. This plant is considered invasive in some areas, but perhaps not here.
  • On the other hand, Japanese spiraea is considered invasive.
  • Its fuzzy pink corymbs made it an attractive landscape plant. Then it got away.
  • Either side of the foot bridge by the "Appendix" offered safe, up close views of wood nettle, now in bloom.
  • Likewise, with a similar obscure flower, stinging nettle was there to compare.
  • Just beyond, closer to the creek bank was the tree-like angelica. It must be over 6 feet tall.
  • Next week: the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.
Canada Lily


  • 2 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 1 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 2 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 2 Blue Jay
  • 2 American Crow
  • 1 Tree Swallow
  • 1 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Eastern Bluebird
  • 4 Veery
  • 2 Wood Thrush
  • 5 American Robin
  • 7 Gray Catbird
  • 2 European Starling
  • 1 Cedar Waxwing
  • 4 Worm-eating Warbler
  • 1 Ovenbird
  • 2 Common Yellowthroat
  • 2 Eastern Towhee
  • 2 Chipping Sparrow
  • 3 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 2 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • 1 Indigo Bunting
  • 1 American Goldfinch
  • 8 Cabbage White
  • 3 Clouded Sulphur
  • 10 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 1 Pearl Crescent
  • 1 Red Admiral
  • 3 Northern Pearly-eye
  • 3 Appalachian Brown
  • 24 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 15 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 1 Monarch
  • 3 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 4 Northern Broken-Dash
  • 8 Dun Skipper
  • 1 Canada lily
  • 1 Hemp nettle
  • 1 Japanese spiraea
  • 1 Spiked lobelia
  • 1 Stinging nettle
  • 1 Wood nettle


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