Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Wild Campus

  Took a brief walk through the Feather River College campus this morning, camera in hand, and appreciated anew its proximity to a more or less wild forest.  A small wet area near the main parking lot is a never-ending source of interesting biological activity.  The Lemmon's Wild Ginger is maturing and every day there are more plants blooming and the blossoms are getting bigger, although still somewhat hidden beneath the large heart-shaped leaves.  For most photos, I have to push some leaves aside in order to get a good view of the flowers.  Also, I have to crawl in the mud to get close enough.
  The corn lilies are growing fast in several wet spots around campus.  The ones near the Wild Ginger are about 18" tall.  They'll get three to four times that tall before blooming in June. 
  There are dandelions everywhere, so we tend to take them for granted.  Sometimes a particular specimen stands out in its beautiful detail.  Click on the one above for a closer view to see what I mean. 
  Continuing my habit of peeking under rocks and logs, I uncovered a Harvestman, AKA Daddy Long Legs.  The second photo of her is a bit blurry because she was running away fast, but I liked the pose so included it here anyway. 
  A large growth on the trunk of a White Alder is a sign of some sort of disturbance but has a kind of beauty, an example of microorganisms and macroorganisms cooperating and competing on many levels.
  The young Trail Plants, not yet blooming, are all over the hillsides, and I tipped over one leaf to show how different the undersides look compared to the top sides.  When you walk through a thick patch of these later in the season, you tend to bend many leaves, and if you look back you can see the trail you made.  In a few hours the leaves return to their normal orientation if not severely damaged. 
  Finally, a Fiddlehead, which is the name for the fiddle-like curled end of a frond of fern before it opens.  Some people eat them and some people get sick, but I won't go deeply into the culinary or pathological possibilities.  I just like the way they look.
  If I had walked fast and not had my camera with me, I might have missed all these sights.

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