Blessed Lights

9/11 Remembrance

I choose to remember September 11, 2001 with the IPhone 7 video of September sunlight shining through clear water, set to the music “Blessing.”

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The post header is sunlight shining through the clear water of Reavis
Creek, Superstition Wilderness, Arizona.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All rights Reserved

Summer Walk

Experience a hike around Taughannock Gorge on a summer morning with thunderstorms threatening

Constant winds from thunderstorm updrafts, I brought along an umbrella just in case.

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Taughannock Falls Gorge on a humid summer morning
Hemlock Forest on South Rim Trail
Taughannock Falls Gorge from South Rim Trail
Taughannock Falls from South Rim trail
View of Taughannock Falls Gorge from the North Rim trail on a humid summer (July) morning. Turkey Vultures circle overhead…they are there most summer days.
View of the first waterfall of Taughannock Gorge from the railroad bridge linking the North and South Rim trails on a humid summer (July) morning. This large waterfall empties to the gorge above the 210+ foot Taughannock Falls.
Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

June Nature Walk

A perfect afternoon, June 16, 2021

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The Finger Lakes Trail joins Robert H. Treman New York State Park, running along the south rim along the park border.

Today, I started from the stairs next to the Mill of the upper park, walking along Fish Kill Creek, a brief visit to the CCC plaque, over the new footbridge and a steep climb up to the ridge to a marvelous view over the way we just walked. That is a millipede resting on a wooden trail stake.

A word on the creek name. The Dutch word for creek is “Kill”, the anglicisation of the original name retained the Dutch making it, in effect, “Fish Creek Creek,” not a memorization of fish massacre.

There’s one shot of the damage done to tree leaves by hoards of caterpillars…I found chewed-up leaves at my feet throughout the hike.

Then, I re-join the State Park South Rim trail, down the Cliff Staircase to wander the gorge floor below Lucifer Falls.

Up the Gorge Trail with many shots of these wonders including Lucifer Falls, Devil’s Kitchen Waterfall, and the Gallery.

Close with a shot of early Tiger Lily blooms on the south facing bank of Enfield Creek.

I used a new format with this post, with all media in one You Tube video. Enjoy!!

Finger Lakes Trail and Treman Park June 16 2021 – YouTube

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

May Nature Walk

Our first post COVID outing

Pam and I headed out to Treman Park for a walk to the Lucifer Falls overlook. The Gorge Trail is not yet open due to the danger of rock falling from the gorge walls — the park maintenance staff needs to survey winter damage and knock down material in danger of falling.

Our first stop was the mill waterfall. This was was directed to the mill stream to power the mill where grain was ground to order.

Here is an overview of the Mill, now a museum not yet opened post-Covid. The millstone stands at the start of the foot trails. All media on this post is from my IPhone 7, lightweight equipment for this hike. The automatic upload to ICloud is convenient.

Round trip is four-plus miles, with several hundred feet elevation change. Pam and I discussed a car caravan for our next visit, to support a one-way downhill hike (still plenty of uphill hiking). We need to work up to the round trip after our winter inactivity.

Trillium are in bloom!!

Multiple overlooks into the gorge grace this trail.

More trillium before we reached the overlook. Lucifer falls and the incredible path etched into the cliff by the Civilian Conservation Corps (Roosevelt’s Tree Army during the Depression).

After the Lucifer Falls overlook is this stupendous view from the top of the Cliff Stairs, 224 steps continue to link to the Gorge and South Rim trails.

As we lingered on the top steps the flowering plants slowly revealed themselves.

I captured this tragic image on the return trip….a trillium discarded on the trail. Stiff fines await anyone caught doing this.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

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

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.

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Pre-flight Wing Flaps

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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..

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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.

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I used the IPhone 7 for these views..

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved