After a slow first five months, I'm back to blogging in earnest. In the forthcoming few months I plan to keep on tracking the blooming of wildflowers, the activities of bugs and reptiles and any other critters I'm quick enough or lucky enough to photograph, and to comment on ecological relationships. Since there is an increasing sense of ecological crisis among many people and more vigorous denial of such on the part of others, I will inevitably comment on the social and political dimensions of survival as I see them.
I am still an adjunct instructor in the English Department at Feather River College, but time permitting, I am available for hire as a nature guide in the region in and around Plumas County. A brochure describing my usual kinds of natural history adventures is in development. Email me c/o email@example.com with your mailing address and a statement of interests, and I'll send you a rough draft.
I have been teaching since 1965 and have recently joined the English Department as an Associate Faculty member at Feather River College. Recently taught Nature Literature in America and am currently teaching Interpersonal Communication and Basic Reading and Writing.
I'm starting to find this season of intermittent snow showers and previews of spring more interesting than irritating. When I sneak out between snows looking for plant and animal activity I tend to be more focused, not taking anything for granted. Hardly any flowers blooming around Quincy except for the cultivated ones like Crocuses and Daffodils, so my first sighting of Henbit (top photo) was exciting. Full name: Henbit Dead Nettle, a member of the mint family. Near the library, a group of Stellar's Jays seemed to be finding plenty to eat underneath the branches of shrubs that haven't yet got many buds. Must be some of last fall's fruit amongst the leaf litter, or maybe some early season bugs. I didn't investigate as I wanted to walk. Under a couple of boards in my yard where I usually find slugs and pill bugs I've begun to see larvae of Diptera, the order of insects that includes flies and mosquitoes. I'll be watching to see what hatches. I found a dead butterfly in good shape in a friend's shelf of old books. It's a California Sister. Nice color, although the antennae are gone and it fell apart in my hand as I tried to put it back to become dust. Last, from my Bear Creek Falls archive, a beetle I haven't been able to identify. Close up of the antennae looks like Cerambycidae, the Long-horned Beetles, but I'm not an entomologist. If anyone out there recognizes this one, please let me know. The red patches are connected across the ventral side. Upon first quick glance it reminded me of the Red-shouldered Ctenucha moth, but it's obviously a beetle.