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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 clear, 50°F and windy at 9:30 AM on April 17, 2013.
  • Yellow-rumped warblers and Louisiana waterthrush had returned.
  • Yellow-bellied sapsucker was an unusual find on the Wappinger Creek Trail.
  • In the Fern Glen Dutchman's breeches, bloodroot and trout-lily were now blooming.

The Trails

  • 9:30 was an early start for me, but in the front Old Hayfield two bluebirds were already busy defending their claim against 3 or 4 tree swallows. It looked like they would have a long day ahead of them.
  • By the Carriage House, magnolia were beginning to open.
  • Out in the Old Gravel Pit, maple were blossoming.
  • New arrivals in the Fern Glen included bloodroot, which seemed rather small this year.
  • Dutchman's breeches were prolific.
  • The single large-flowered trillium near the pond was about to bloom; I must remember the deer spray!
  • At the back of the pond, marsh marigold was blooming.
  • The lone American fly honesuckle that appeared a few years ago was budding up.
  • Along the other side of the road, American hazelnut catkins were dangling, but I forgot to look for the female flowers... next time.
  • It was nice that the hermit thrush was still on the Cary Pines Trail. Also nice was to hear two red-shouldered hawks overhead.
  • While tracking yellow-rumped warblers along the Wappinger Creek Trail, I noticed last year's seed balls still hanging in a sycamore.
  • It was also up there that I spotted the yellow-bellied sapsucker - only the 5th one I've seen in the 10 odd years on the trails.
  • Finally some of the trout-lily were blooming.
  • While searching sunny patches for butterflies, I found instead a garter snake.
  • In the Old Pasture, a palm warbler offered several close views.
  • Spicebush was beginning to blossom everywhere, but the most advanced was in the back Old Hayfield.
  • Along the Sedge Meadow Trail, the common lawn weed ground ivy or more picturesquely, creeping Charlie, was blooming.
  • The early arrival today allowed an early departure to pick up a late arrival at the airport.
Eastern bluebirds
Magnolia
Maple blossoms
Bloodroot
Dutchman's-breeches
Large-flowered trillium
Marsh marigold
American fly honeysuckle budding
American hazelnut catkins
Sycamore seed balls
Trout-lily
Garter snake
Palm warbler
Spicebush blossoms
Ground ivy

Sightings

Birds
  • 2 Mallard
  • 1 Wild Turkey
  • 1 Great Blue Heron
  • 2 Red-shouldered Hawk
  • 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 2 Northern Flicker
  • 2 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 5 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 American Crow
  • 4 Tree Swallow
  • 5 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 3 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Brown Creeper
  • 2 Carolina Wren
  • 1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 14 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • 2 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Hermit Thrush
  • 4 American Robin
  • 5 Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • 4 Pine Warbler
  • 1 Palm Warbler
  • 2 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 4 Field Sparrow
  • 17 Song Sparrow
  • 3 White-throated Sparrow
  • 32 Dark-eyed Junco
  • 2 Northern Cardinal
  • 1 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 2 Brown-headed Cowbird
  • 2 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 1 Eastern Comma
Herp
  • 1 Garter snake
Plants
  • 1 American hazelnut
  • 1 Bloodroot
  • 1 Dutchman's-breeches
  • 1 Ground ivy
  • 1 Magnolia
  • 1 Marsh marigold
  • 1 Spicebush
  • 1 Trout-lily

Notes and changes since last report

  • It was overcast, 60°F and calm at 3:00 PM on April 10, 2013.
  • Palm and pine warblers have returned as has the field sparrow.
  • In the Fern Glen hepatica, spring beauty, and colt's-foot were blooming with others moments away.
  • As for butterflies, the eastern comma was out.

The Trails

  • Along the Sedge Meadow Trail, honeysuckle bushes were just putting out their leaves.
  • As seen from the boardwalk over the swamp, skunk cabbage leaves were getting big.
  • The tunnel behind the Sedge Meadow was a good place to observe palm warblers and both kinglets.
  • The sun made a surprise appearance as I passed along the bluff above the Wappinger Creek.
  • At the bottom of the hill, patches of dogtooth violet - or trout-lily - leaves were up.
  • In the sandy flood plane farther along, the alien lesser celandine had started blooming.
  • At eye level, spicebush buds were swelling.
  • As if in a CSI episode, it was only in the digital darkroom that I noticed the spider lurking amongst said buds.
  • Japanese barberry too was leafing out.
  • From a sunny patch on the Cary Pines Trail, my first of the season eastern comma rose as I approached. This happens right here every year.
  • In the Fern Glen's limestone cobble, the race had begun. Hepatica was in the lead...
  • ... with spring beauty right on its heels.
  • Dutchman's breeches was following close behind...
  • ... with early meadow rue trailing behind.
  • How about one or two more of the hepatica? I love the fuzzy stems and sepals.
  • Deeper in the 'Glen, trillium and wild leek (or ramps) were thrusting up leaves.
  • At the edge of the pond lurked a bull frog, water striders and elusive newts.
  • Behind me at the kiosk was fresh litter. I hesitated to mention it, but litter is a problem in natural as well as urban areas. Keep America Beautiful's website, LitteringIsWrongToo.org describes what it is, why it's bad, and what can be done about it. With the Wappinger Creek a stone's throw away, "ocean gyres" and "ocean garbage patches" came to mind. A NY Times article provides a good intro.
  • Back by the bridge, colt's-foot had finally opened.
  • Heading out through the Old Gravel pit, I heard the trill of the pine warbler; I'd been told it was back.
  • Behind the Carriage House, the Japanese cornelian cherry was filling out now.
  • Here too the magnolia buds were just starting to open.
  • All this in a week's time.
Honeysuckle leaves
Skunk cabbage leaves
View from the bluff over the Wappinger Creek
Dogtooth violet / trout-lily leaves
Wappinger Creek view
Lesser celandine
Spicebush buds
Spider in the spicebush buds
Japanese barberry
Eastern comma
Dutchman's breeches
Spring beauty
Hepatica
Early meadow rue
Hepatica
Hepatica
Trillium leaves
Ramps / wild leek
Bull frog
Water strider
Colt's-foot
Japanese cornelian cherry
Magnolia buds
Litter

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 2 Eastern Phoebe
  • 5 Blue Jay
  • 9 American Crow
  • 12 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 Brown Creeper
  • 1 Winter Wren
  • 6 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 2 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • 1 Hermit Thrush
  • 5 American Robin
  • 1 European Starling
  • 1 Pine Warbler
  • 1 Palm Warbler
  • 1 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
  • 3 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 2 Brown-headed Cowbird
Butterflies
  • 1 Eastern Comma
Herp
  • 1 Bull frog
Plants
  • 1 Colt's foot
  • 1 Hepatica
  • 1 Lesser celandine
  • 1 Spring-beauty
  • 1 Wild leek

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