Baker Lab with Autumn Trees

Double Irony

Baker Lab

Baker Laboratory dates back to World War I.  With 200,000 square feet of space, the lab is home to Cornell’s Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department, the Chemistry Research Computing Facility, the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility, and the Advanced ESR Technology Research Center (whew!!).

Trees on a Knoll

On the right, on a knoll, is a European beech tree (Fagus sylvatica).  The Latin name holds a double irony. Standing, alone, high above East Avenue on the Cornell campus  (sylvatica means “of forests”) as a memory of the forests growing above Cayuga Lake is a being once worshiped as a god.   In Celtic mythology, Fagus is the god of beeches.

A maple is on the left, genus Acer of unknown species.  I recognize it from the shape.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Little Red Maple

First to flower, first to turn

Red Maple (Acer Rubrum)

The Red Maple (Acer Rubrum) is tolerant of diverse conditions, making it a perfect choice for this  spot on the short of Beebe Lake.

Maple Syrup

Even though it is not a “Sugar Maple, early spring, the sap can be boiled down to syrup.

Turning Tree

The first to flower in spring and the first to turn in autumn.

From the Top Down

This maple turns from the top down and is already bare for most top branches.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

A Perfect Afternoon On Beebee Lake repost

Anticipating Our Tenth Wedding Anniversary

After work on a 2008 Friday afternoon in October we sped over to Beebee Lake on the Cornell University Campus to catch the late afternoon glow……

Click Me for the complete post with photographs.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Flight

Dried and Hardened, Ready for Flight

Clinging to my sleeve, the 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. I spent the hour sitting by our pool, savoring the summer morning. The butterfly signaled readiness, wings dried and hardened, opening and closing them slowly. Offered my finger it crawled to my hand, across to the thumb and, running out of space, took off.

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

Pre-flight Wing Flaps

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.

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.

First Flight

Ninety minutes later, I returned to the tree to find the Monarch still perched on the branch. A few minutes later, gone.

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

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

Distended

Fully open, soft and useless

Emerged from the chrysalis a butterfly’s wings are crumpled, useless. Here it is fifteen minutes into freedom after abdominal fluid is pumped into the wings, opening them. Full of this fluid, the wings are soft, still useless.

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 cage access door and the IPhone 7, with flash, for these views inside the cage.

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

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Crumpled

Helpless

Emerged from the chrysalis a butterfly’s wings are crumpled, useless. Here it is four minutes into freedom, abdomen bloated with fluid.

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.

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

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Emerge

Watch a Monarch butterfly leave the chrysalis

Watch the transparent chrysalis carefully and tiny movements are apparent before the skin splits, the butterfly slowly emerges.

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 cage access door and the IPhone 7 for these views inside the cage. Flash was used for the still photograph.

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

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Inside the Cage

Caterpillar to pupa to chrysalis

Still hanging, quiet, motionless the chrysalis from the caterpillar photographed yesterday becomes translucent the same evening, Day 9 since pupation.

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

Day 10, early morning, the outer skin, fully transparent, signals emergence is immanent.

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 cage access door and the IPhone 7, with flash, for these views inside the cage.

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

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Chrysalis

Caterpillar to pupa to chrysalis

Our monarch butterfly sanctuary is a dense stand of milkweed, over the years the established plants grow rapidly late May through June, blooming in July. The flowers have an incredible scent, attracting numerous pollinating insects.

A colony of pesky sparrows nest nearby. In spite of a reputation for tasting bad, the sparrow actively feed on the hatched caterpillars. My strategy is to examine the plants early morning, placing rescued caterpillars in this old birdcage.

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

The caterpillars and milkweed leaf is placed on the cage floor. I pile up the dried leaves, replacing with fresh each morning.

Sadly to report, the last, ravenous caterpillar stage is also carnivorous, cannibalistic. These two, below, were the only ones left except for one in the pile of dried leaves.

Here is a closer view of the two fifth stage instars searching for a safe location to pupate.

A few hours later one has successfully created a silk pad, attached itself and assumed the “J” shape. To the left a second caterpillar and silk pad.

The next morning, the first has formed a chrysalis. The second, hung spent.

This unsuccessful individual never completed the chrysalis, dried up and fell. My sources write the pupa transforms to a chrysalis through shedding of skin, the following photograph tells a different story. The chrysalis appears to extrude from the skin; arising over, or from, the skin rather and beneath it. I have never recovered a shed skin underneath a successful chrysalis.

Nine days later, Tuesday, July 28, the chrysalis hangs. I check several times a day.

These photographs are from a 100mm “macro” lens, handheld. The birdcage works well for protecting the monarchs. Is a poor location for photography.

Thank You for visiting.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved