Autumn Survey

Across the land

Good news….Click Me for the link to my latest photographs accepted by Getty, from this series of 2022 Fillmore Glen. You may acquire reasonably priced rights to use these photographs in your work.

My Sony Alpha captured our October 16 drive to Fillmore Glen. As we traversed landscapes, the spectacle of Tompkins and Cayuga Counties autumn glory passed by the open passenger side window and, even, the front windshield. Thank You, Pam, for driving.

A turn around our home: Smoke tree, Japanese Maple, Pam’s flower baskets, fallen Oak leaves

Panoramas from our front porch and on to Hector Street descending into and through Ithaca

Headed up Route 34 along Cayuga Lake, into “Farm Country”

Turning onto Locke Road and crossing from Tompkins to Cayuga County

Travelling through Cayuga County, the town of Locke, then Moravia and Fillmore Glen State Park

This is my farewell to “Fall” for now.

Copyright 2022 All Right Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Torr Head Stories II

Ancient Castles and Raithlin Island

Knights of the Red Branch appear towards the end of “Deirdre and the sons of Uisneach”, a tale from 1st century AD Ireland, as protectors of the lovers Dierdre and one of the sons of Uisneach, named Naoise. The two fled to Rathlin Island, seen in the distance in the following photograph.

From Rathlin Island they passed over the Irish Sea to Scotland where they lived happily for a term of years.

Click me for an earlier Torr Head post “A Bit About Torr Head.”

Barrach’s fort no longer exists, a Coast Guard Station was built over the site. There are other intact ruins on this picturesque coast. Here is one close to the Giant’s Causeway, Dunseverick Castle.

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Torr Head Stories I

Mysterious Barrach, Knight of the Red Branch

Torr in Irish is a steep rocky height. Likewise, Corr means odd, uneven, rounder, convex, curved, peaked, projecting, smooth. Combined Torcorr is the townland where we stopped on the Torr Road, halted by our wonder at this sight.

In the distance, Torr Head projects into North Channel, the closest land to Scotland. Following the coast, the cliffs in front of Torr Head are home to numerous sea birds such as Fulmars (family Procellariidae) nad Oystercatchers (family Haematopodiadae). Along the rock beaches next Eider Ducks (genus Somateria). You might see the Common Buzzard (species Buto buteo).

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Click me for an earlier Torr Head post “A Bit About Torr Head.”

In the following photograph Torr Head seen from immediately above. I stand on the ancient site of Barrach’s fort, a knight of the Red Branch. After some internet research I cannot find another reference to this knight, other than the information placard on Torr Head.

A Bit About Coolranny Townland

Neat and tidy

2014, the count of townlands on and around the island of Ireland was 61,098 with most of Irish Gaelic origin predating the Norman invasion, first recorded in 12 century church records. The names have a pride of place reflected in the beauty of the namestones along Torr Road.

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The 82 acres of Coolranny forms a slice of land running from a ridge to Loughan Bay off the North Channel of the Irish Sea across from Scotland.

See this post for a description of wildflowers flowering here in the month of June.

A spic and span cottage on Torr Road, maybe the rectory for the Saint Mary’s Star of the Sea church.

An informative placard.

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Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Autumn Ithaca

Cass Park

Pam and I arrived early to Cass Park for our grandson’s October afternoon soccer match, in time for a 2 mile walk on the generous footpaths. This is my impression of that time, from the IPhone 7’s camera.

A Packed Excursion Boat Under A Stunning Sky

This completes our Sunday afternoon walk around Cass Park, Ithaca, New York.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

On Torr Road

Facing Views

Land and sea between Torcorr Townland and Torr Head was the theme of yesterday’s post, continued today.

A grand view presents itself throughout the roll down Torcorr into Coolranny townland. Loughan is a shallow bay along the North Channel of the Irish Sea, a rocky sand beach is accessible via a slope shallower than the cliffs on either side. This access is a reason for the tiny rural community on the slope above, now a site of ruined cottages, abandoned during the emigration from Ireland, a flight continuing into the Twentieth Century.

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See this post for a description of wildflowers flowering here in the month of June.

This photograph from the bottom of the Torr Road hill takes in Coolranny Townland. a slice of land running from the ridge to Loughan Bay. We see a number of hawthorne trees in flower, yellow flowering Whin Bush, houses and the Roman Catholic church Saint Mary’s Star of the Sea.

Tor in Irish is a steep rocky height. Likewise, Corr means odd, uneven, rounder, convex, curved, peaked, projecting, smooth. Combined Torcorr is the townland where we stopped on the Torr Road, halted by our wonder at this sight. In the distance, Torr Head projects into North Channel, the closest land to Scotland. Following the coast, the cliffs in front of Torr Head is home to numerous sea birds. The curved bay is named Loughan, the rocky sand beach are ruins of cottages emptied by Irish emigration. The white building is Saint Mary’s Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church. County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

The photograph of the header, taken by Pam, is from either Coolranny or Loughan Townland, looking across a sheep pasture, the North Channel of the Irish Sea toward the Mull of Kintyre, Scotland just twelve miles distant.

Here is a slideshow of this post’s images. To visit from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.
Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

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