Turtle Socks

Flowers from Mars

Two kettles of the preserve represent a pond and, below, a bog. Here is a photograph from the observation platform using the IPhone 7. I brought along the Canon dslr and 100 mm “macro” lens for the stars of this show…..

….purple pitcher plants (scientific name: Sarracenia purpurea). In past years, the central observation deck cut-out, hosted healthy pitchers. Today, invading high bush blueberries from the bog margin, crowded out the pitchers and the only flowering plant were among the grasses 8 to 10 feet away. My goal was photographing the extraordinary flowers.

Each flower rises from the base on a strong stalk. Here are the pitchers, also called “turtle socks”, flooded with sunlight.

A flower unlike any I have experienced, like the carapace of an insect, the reproductive element underneath a hood.

The posterior, there are only bracts.

I have, somewhere, macro images of the pitcher, with the downward facing hairs. Brought the wrong lens to capture this at a distance.

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Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Flowing water

Water flowing from glacial till

Amazingly swamp, fen, bog, marsh can all be experienced during a thirty minute walk within this preserve. Here we are traversing a swamp …

…buoyed along on planking from recycled plastic.

The founders of this place, from a dairy farming family, strove for years to protect the water sources from encroachment by development, primary a duplicate of a gravel pit found on the other side of the Fall Creek valley.

This former acidic rainwater, percolating through glacial till, is buffered and chemically altered to create these multiform environments.

Water, flowing quietly, almost soundlessly, with powerful effect.

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Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Formed by Water


Let’s digress from our exploration of Iquique, Chile for this attraction local to the Finger Lakes Region of New York State, an environment diametrically opposed to the Atacama desert. The Preserve at Malloryville opened 1997, eleven years after we moved to our home our home on Fall Creek (see header photograph).

The correct name is the O.D. von Engeln Preserve at Malloryville. I knew this name from his Finger Lakes geology book obtained from the library and read closely in the early 1990’s. It helped me understand the landscape among which our home was set, in 5 minutes walking distance from the future location of the preserve.

The text from the above information placard at the preserve entrance says it all:“Wetland habitats are shaped by the water that supplies them: the amount, how it moves, and the minerals it carries. Malloryville’s eskers, kames and kettles control the rate of delivery of water to the surface and suffuse it with varied concentrations of minerals. As ground water bubbles to the surface at the base of these hills, distinctive wetland habitats form, each with its own unique community of plants. The preserve’s intense concentration of bog, fen, marsh and swamp habitats is the direct result of ground water moving through this unusually complex array of glacial features.

Before the preserve was opened I was familiar with the landforms described in the above placard. My son and I did his first camping on top of an esker outside our front door. We enjoyed hiking along Fall Creek.

To be continued…..

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved