May 28, 2013

Hiking at Boyd Big Tree Preserve

SueReno_BoydBigTreePreserve_Path
I needed to make a run to Harrisburg to drop off Silk Mill #3 for the upcoming Art of the State exhibit at the Pennsylvania State Museum.  It was a cool and drizzly but gorgeous spring day, so we  headed to the nearby Boyd Big Tree Preserve in Dauphin County for some exploration and a moderate hike.   The approach to the park kiosk was encouraging--the drive was lined with bluebird houses, and many of them had a bluebird perched nearby. 

A short distance down the trail, it became apparent that it was going to be a good day for macro pictures.  I previously had a Diffcase and set of lenses; I’m now working with an Olloclip for my iPhone.   The macros on both types have really helped me train my eye, and have opened up new worlds for exploration.  Here I am caught zeroing in on some galls on a pawpaw sapling:

SueReno_BoydBigTreePreserve
Here are two of the galls.  An insect, most probably a species of tiny wasp, lays her eggs just under the surface of the tender bark, where the larvae can develop while well protected. 

SueReno_BoydBigTreePreserve_PawPawGall

Further down the trail,  a wild blackberry blossom got the macro treatment:
SueReno_BoydBigTreePreserve_BlackberryBlossom
Everything was dripping with dew and drizzle.  It took me a moment to recognize what this next plant was--the remains of a giant dandelion puffball, with micro dots of moisture.  The macro lens helps the mundane appear magical:
SueReno_BoydBigTreePreserve_DandelionPuffball_1
Another shot of the dandelion puffball:
SueReno_BoydBigTreePreserve_DandelionPuffball_2
There was a lot of bush honeysuckle along the trail. It’s a non-native invasive shrub.
SueReno_BoydBigTreePreserve_HoneysuckleBlossom
The flowers are moderately pretty, but lack the scent of the vining variety (also invasive).
SueReno_BoydBigTreePreserve_HoneysuckleBlossom_2
It’s been a cool-ish, wet spring, and things are going great in the wild fungus world.  Here is some lichen growing on a downed tree:
SueReno_BoydBigTreePreserve_LichenAndMoss_1
Lichen growing with moss:
SueReno_BoydBigTreePreserve_LichenAndMoss_2
More lichen and moss:
SueReno_BoydBigTreePreserve_LichenAndMoss_3
Here are some more galls, this time on a maple leaf.  The coloration is quite striking:
SueReno_BoydBigTreePreserve_MapleLeafGall
Raindrops nestled among the leaf hairs of a mullein plant, Verbascum thapsus, look like an alien landscape:
SueReno_BoydBigTreePreserve_MullienLeaf
Each raindrop on a spiderweb holds a reflection of the surrounding vegetation.  Click to enlarge and appreciate the reflections:
SueReno_BoydBigTreePreserve_SpiderwebWithRaindrops_1
The light was just perfect for capturing this amazing imagery:
SueReno_BoydBigTreePreserve_SpiderwebWithRaindrops_2
Near the end of the looping trail we took, we came on a section where the undergrowth was almost entirely ferns, as far as the eye could see.  The fisheye lens captures it well:
SueReno_BoydBigTreePreserve_Ferns
I love the deciduous forests and woodland of PA.  This is a gem of a park.  The big trees and deep forest support a lot of songbirds, especially warblers, and the whole time we were walking we were beautifully serenaded with birdsong.

These pictures, and many more from my macro series, are up on my Flickr site--there’s a link to it on the right sidebar.

Thanks for reading and commenting.  Wherever you find yourself, I hope you have the opportunity to go out and explore what the natural world has to offer. 

4 comments:

paula lewis said...

Beautifully written and beautifully photographed little travelogue about a place close to home, but unfamiliar to many. This is now on my "places to visit" list. Thank you.

marshaleith said...

Fabulous shots of the water droplets! Can't wait to see how you use the photos...

irenemacwilliam said...

what a lovely photo of the droplets on a spiders web, magival.
Irene

frankikohler.com said...

Terrific photos Sue! Any one of them could translate into beautiful fiber art. Thanks for sharing your walk with us.