Gorge Exploration

Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, New York

Late August last I captured these photographs and videos on the fly using an Iphone7 while Pam and I walked Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, New York. Click me for “The Space Station and the Waterfall,” another glen exploration.

Ephemeral Waterfall

Metal Intrusion

Spring thaw washed away the gorge wall, this functional metal bridge will outlast all but the most catastrophic gorge wall disruptions.

Graceful Waterfall Overview

Flora

White Baneberry, aka “Dolls Eyes,” a fascinating plant, entirely poisonous.

All parts of all Baneberry varieties (red and white) are highly poisonous, the bane of Baneberry. The berries are deadly. Ingestion of as few as two berries by children will cause death from cardiac arrest. Six for an adult.

Landscape Features

Overview, Spillway and Pond

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Goodbye for 2022

Our last Monarch for 2022

We successfully raised nine (9) Monarch butterflies this season, leaving us feeling, “Let’s do more in 2023.” Today’s post cover is a portrait of the last. She flew yesterday, September 23rd, forty (40) feet up to the oak tree shading the back yard, lost to us in the leaves.

Her chrysalis is the second from right in the following family photograph.

Here are two videos of our last 2022 Monarch to emerge and the first.

Emergence of a Monarch butterfly from a chrysalis 4K UHD with relaxing music. A caterpillar attached itself with silk to hang by its two rear legs to transform to a green chrysalis. Fourteen days later the chrysalis shell becomes translucent. Inside the chrysalis the Monarch butterfly moves to shed the shell. The released insect’s abdomen pumps fluid, expanding the crumpled wings. The entire process takes twenty minutes, compressed in this video to about six (6) minutes.

A real time film of our first 2022 Monarch Butterfly emerging from the chrysalis, then expanding its wings in 4K UHD with relaxing music. The process takes twenty (20) minutes.

The butterfly emerges from the chrysalis about fourteen (14) days after setting. To the photographer needing to capture the moment a signal is the green, jewel-like chrysalis turns transparent, apparently darkening to reveal the compressed form of the butterfly. It can be hours before the insect breaks free, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV dslr camera is used for this. I set it on a Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Fiber tripod (with ball head), a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L macro lens for optics. The Mark IV has WIFI and HD video capabilities, so I connected the camera to an Apple IPhone 7 using Canon software. Monitoring the transparent chrysalis in real time, I continually reset the video from the IPhone until the butterfly emerged. I used AVS video editor software to produce the film for YouTube publication.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Monarch Ready to Fly

Five wait off stage for their turn to fly.

This Monarch butterfly emerged from the chrysalis a few moments ago. A minimum of two hours is required for the wings to harden before release to the wild.

Five wait off stage for their turn to fly.

Rainy weather forced us to leave her resting a full 24 hours.

Here are two videos of a Monarch release from 2020.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Monarch Caterpillar to Chrysalis II

AKA the sixth moult

In my last series of “Monarch caterpillar transforming to chrysalis” time lapse photographs, the 30-minute time interval missed the moult. For this series, I set the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV to remote from a IPhone 7, tethering me to hanging around the house for an afternoon of waiting for the magic moment of “transformation” (more accurately called “the moult”), thinking through the nature of the moment.

A monarch caterpillar accomplishes seven body transformations shielded from view. Six within its skin: the first five retaining a caterpillar body configuration, the sixth transforming to chrysalis. For all six, an enveloping skin conceals the change. The same holds true for the seventh transformation. The chrysalis remains opaque green with bright gold spots until turning transparent after the transfiguration to butterfly is complete.

The sixth transformation happens when the fifth instar caterpillar, fully sated with milkweed, climbs to a perch, spins silk around a set of prolegs, affixing them from a horizontal surface from which to hang. For this set I captured the moult of two monarchs hanging side by side inside a mesh cage with an east facing window for light. Even though the day was sunny, with the f-stop set to the lens maximum (32) for the deepest field of view, ISO at 32,000 the energetic skin shedding movements of the chrysalis cause blurring.

For 10-12 hours of profound bodily configuration changes the hanging caterpillar hangs without movement. In the last image of this first set, the next caterpillar is blurred by initial moult movement.

My attempt to capture a video of the moult was frustrated by inadequate lighting, the result was too dark to use. I must solve this technical challenge as the motions of the chrysalis as difficult to believe without visual proof. That said, here is the second moult with the first completed moult in background.

An interesting fact is the caterpillar uses silk to attach the skin to a substrate for the first five moults to hold the skin back while it crawls out of the discarded skin. The first meal of the hatched caterpillar (first instar) is the egg, the shed skin is the first meal for instars 2 – 4. The shed skin of instar 5 drops from the chrysalis. This is why you should never remove a Monarch caterpillar from the leaf, as in doing so may hinder a moult in progress.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Monarch Caterpillar to Chrysalis

The caterpillar attaches itself to a silk pad from which it hangs.

Here is a photographic Series of a Monarch caterpillar chrysalis transformation, a step in the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly. The caterpillar attaches to a silk pad from which it hangs. Underneath the skin, the caterpillar is transforming to the chrysalis. In these photographs the silk pad and chrysalis attachment from a previous transformation are in the foreground.

About 34 minutes transpired between the previous photograph of the caterpillar in “J” formation, attached and hanging upside down to the chrysalis. In this time the outer skin was shed, revealing the chrysalis.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

On My Arm

Settled In

Misjudged by over an hour, I reached into the cage to allow the Monarch butterfly to crawl onto my hand for the first flight. Instead, it crawled up my arm and clung to my cotton shirt sleeve.

Click photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

Click me for better experience viewing the following video. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page. Note the replay icon (an arrow circling counter-clockwise.

I used the IPhone 7 for these views..

Thank You for visiting.  Click me for the first post of this series.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Monarch Emergence

Our Third Monarch this year

Clinging to my sleeve, this newly emerged Monarch wings dried. It is a process of excreting the fluids pumped into wings, crumpled from folding within the chrysalis, to expand them. The clear drips of water on my arm are this fluid.

Click photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

Here is a video from this year, a Monarch emerging from the chrysalis, then expanding crumpled wings. Notice, this butterfly has a problem: once emerged the butterfly swings back and forth continually as it clings to the chrysalis. While interesting to us, the movement is caused from a missing front leg. Monarch butterflies have four legs, this butterfly is missing the right front leg, the imbalance causes the swinging movement. Freshly emerged, a large, distended with fluid abdomen is prominent between small, crumpled wings. With time, the abdomen pumps fluid, expanding the wings. Over several hours the fluid runs from the wings and is expelled from the abdomen, as seen in the above photograph.

Click me for better experience viewing the following video. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page. Note the replay icon (an arrow circling counter-clockwise.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Blue

A personal mystery solved

Capturing photographs and videos on the fly using an Iphone, we visited Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, New York with our granddaughter, Nia. This is the eighth post of this series. Click me for “The Space Station and the Waterfall,” the first post in this series.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

Chaos Resolved

Among this jumble of fallen, cut trees is the solution to a personal mystery.

I had often seen these green berry-like fruits of summer, these were growing among tree fall on one of the few almost level places of the gorge. The green turns bluish when ripe. This photograph I used today, along with dogged determination, to identify this plant. It was in neither reference on my desk.

The green berry color threw me off, using the growth pattern of the fruit, the leaves and where it was growing (moist forest with little light) to identify Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides). The leaves are similar to meadow rue and the species name ( thalictroides) is taken from the genus name of meadow rue (Thalictrum). The two are related, belonging to the order Ranunculales.

Blue Cohosh has pharmacological properties. Another name for the plant, Papoose Root, is from the Native Americans who used preparations of the root to induce childbirth, ease the pain of labor, rectify delayed or irregular menstruation, and alleviate heavy bleeding and pain during menstruation.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Turned Back

Trail closed at bridge seven

Capturing photographs and videos on the fly using an Iphone, we visited Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, New York with our granddaughter, Nia. This is the ninth post of this series. Click me for “The Spaceship and the Waterfall,” the first post in this series.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

Seventh Bridge

We laughed at the trail-head sign, “Caution Muddy Trails.” White shorts beware. Somebody complained and demanded immediate resolution to the situation.

Another sign advised the Gorge Trail was closed after the seventh bridge. In my post “Bridge Views” these bridges are described. We could cross the seventh bridge, a barrier and a strongly worded sign, “Proceed no further, you will be prosecuted,” blocked the way. Here is the view, looking upstream.

The blocked path climbs the steep northern glen wall. This is the south wall, from the bridge. There was a young mother with two children, a girl, 6 or 7, and her 7 or 8 years old brother, each well equipped for the expedition with appropriate clothing and backpacks.

The family proceeded while I lingered to gaze up the blocked trail. I was tempted to crawl over the barrier, the ascending trail was clear the entire visible length. Being more cautious with age, or growing wisdom, I suppressed the urge and took in sights on the return trip.

On bridge number six the girl has her entire backpack contents spread over the path, a naturalist examining her kit. So sweet. Nia and Pam, at this point, were far ahead of me.

Moss is another plant proven valuable to humankind.

An Orchid

This strange orchid, the species name references a similarity to hellebore

With is we left the Gorge trail for this day, with a plan to return to approach the eight bridge from the north.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Glen Shadows

Among the chaos

Capturing photographs and videos on the fly using an Iphone, we visited Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, New York with our granddaughter, Nia. This is the fifth post of this series. Click me for the first post in this series, “The Space Station and the Waterfall,”.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

Moss and soil held in place by roots, it is unsettling to pass this place. This entire section is unsettled and unsettling to someone with an overactive imagination, who notices nothing growing below this place, in a gorge otherwise covered in greenery.

This decade some exceptional trail stabilization work was completed. Here is a portion of the trail, near the above photograph, the bank of loose soil held in place with a stepped retaining wall crafted from wood 8×8 posts. Higher in Fillmore Glen a portion of the trail is closed where the hillside gave way 14 years ago.

Fallen

Gravity working toward disaster is seen as a constant infall, a slow rain of trees, left in place to rot over the course of a century.

Dying trees on unstable creek bank are cut before falling.

Beneath the infall, chaos, this wood sorrell took root on a shin high shale shelf among mosses. The taste of the plant is sour, leading to the name from the greek for “sour.” The family Oxalidaceae comprises 570 species. I till not venture to guess this one.

Also known as sourgrass and false shamrock, these grow on a thread of hope in a glimmer of sunlight.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved