Saturday, June 11, 2011

Close to the Pavement

I walked the paved path from the parking lot to the upper campus at FRC this morning, which I have done hundreds of times before. I was impressed by how little one notices besides trees when walking at a quick pace, but with a little slowing down and meandering (Thoreau would choose sauntering), one is amazed by the biological wonders within a few feet of the pavement. I walked up the path quickly, without the camera turned on. But, I took the latter strategy on the way down and had the camera turned on. Here's a small sample of my sightings.
Top photo is my first crab spider sighting of the season. This was probably the white phase of the Goldenrod Crab Spider, Misumena vatia, which I have found most often in or on the flower heads of the carrot family, Apiaceae. Next is a Convergent Lady-beetle, Hippodamia convergens, walking along the stem of a Mugwort, Artemesia sp.
The next three photos are Lemmon's Wild Ginger, Asarum lemmonii. Most often seen as a mat of deep green, heart-shaped leaves, its flowers are hidden beneath. I was happy to see that they had bloomed. It's quite an elegant flower, but one normally has to get friendly with the mud in order to see it.
Next is a Blue-eyed Mary, Collinsia torreyi, a tiny beauty in the Scrophulariaceae that is quite abundant now, but hard to spot if you're not used to finding it.
Finally, a butterfly I haven't identified on a stem of wild pea vine, then a puffball fungus.
These were the highlights, about a third of the species I spotted in a fifteen-minute walk. The creek running along-side the walkway supports quite a nice botanical garden throughout the summer. By the time it gets to the lower end of the college parking lot, it supports a nice population of Corn Lilies at a lower elevation than they are usually found. Although it's inconvenient at times, I think one of Feather River College's nicer features is the separation of the parking area from the main campus. It's a very scenic walk, and also very healthy.

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