Fronds with Icicle

Fern Generations

Spent and green fern frond with moss and icicles formed during an early April frost.

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Fern generations are here with the spent fronds from earlier years, pale green survivors of this season.

These shots were hand held. I used a Sony Alpha 700 dslr with a variable “zoom” lens, great for framing compositions.

Robert H. Treman New York State Park.

Click for macro slideshow.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Periwinkle

Source of life-saving drug

A broad, fertile flat between gorge walls supports a dense growth of invasive creeping myrtle. Springtime there is a sprinkling of small blue flowers, this may be the source of another name, periwinkle, or lesser periwinkle.

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Periwinkle is an evergreen and in early times vinca vine (another name we call it, from the scientific name Vinca Minor) was planted in graveyards and cemeteries. The isolated growth of vinca vine in this section of the gorge maybe from such a planting on a lost grave.

Today, the park practices leaving fallen trees in place, here they are covered in years of moss, a memory of headstones. Lesser Perriwinkle is significant for the living as the source of vincamine, from the leaves. A synthetic form of this compound is a potent vasodilator, a therapeutic treatment for stroke and other brain disorders.

These shots were hand held. I used a Sony Alpha 700 dslr with a variable “zoom” lens, great for framing compositions.

Robert H. Treman New York State Park.

Source: Wikipedia, “Vinca Minor.”

Click for a slideshow of this Fertile Flats sequence.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Ephemeral

Amphibian haven, breeding place

Melting snow, spring rains, gather in hollows of the forest floor to form ephemeral pools important for the development of amphibian life.

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Also named vernal pools, from the Latin word for spring or the time of the equinox. The pools are ephemeral in the sense of being temporary, disappearing in the warmer, dryer late spring and summer months, a characteristic important for amphibian live in being devoid of predatory fish.

Here the pool forms on a flat beneath the walls of Enfield Gorge. Here is another photograph featuring the ephemeral winter theme, “The Cave.”

These shots were hand held. I used a Sony Alpha 700 dslr with a variable “zoom” lens, great for framing compositions.

Robert H. Treman New York State Park.

Sources: Wikipedia, “Vernal Pool” and Merriam Webster online.

Click for a slideshow of a few photographs published recently.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Frogs!!

A summertime visit to Sapsucker Woods

Wednesday last, grandson Sam, who’s three, and I wandered the landscape, catching the sights of summer. Eventually, we visited Sapsucker Woods, a Cornell University nature preserve. There, a boardwalk over the swamp is a proven venue for frog spotting and, this day, we had some success.

We found this cooperative golden-eyed beauty calmly squatting and croaking.

In this 30 second clip, reflected light off the water surface captures proto-croaks that did not quite escape from the source. There is a successful and full croak finale.

Off the boardwalk, we took a short detour to view an elaborate cairn built of local rock by a famous artist. The dappled sunlight across the surface is especially enjoyable.

The Sapsucker Cairn, Andrew Goldsworthy

At the furthest extent of the preserve is this pond where the residents were notably raucous in this 30 second clip.

About this time the mosquitoes descended for a determined attack on Sam’s legs. “Itchy,” he said. Myself, protected by deet, they left alone. Sam’s Mom prepared him for the trip with natural mosquito repellent that was not up to the task. Next time we visit, Sam will wear long pants and sleeves fortified with deet.

Just before picking Sam up for a quick retreat, I caught this turtle encrusted in duckweed sunning on a narrow branch. The head is retracted for the moment, can you imagine someone wading through that muck to place a rock? It is possible, but I witnessed the head, so am absolutely sure.

Special thanks to blogger shoreacres for the identification of duckweed. In my original posting I called it algae.

Click me for another Sapsucker Woods posting.

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved.