Friday, August 31, 2012

A Walk on the Wild Side, Part 1

 The wild side of the FRC campus, that is.  No intended connection to certain shoddy movies, songs, or other commercial entities.  Any college campus is inherently tamed nature.  In urban settings, the taming is usually extreme and it's possible to earn a degree in biology without ever going outside.  Horrors.  The setting of FRC in a transition zone forest provides closer contact with nature than most.
Every day, after I park, I walk past a nice patch of Goldenrod and California Thistle.  Yesterday, that inspired me enough to stop for photos, then produced the urge to check conditions on the college's nature trail.  Maybe I would find ripe Gooseberries!
 Oops, the Goosberries, if there wre any this year, have been picked or eaten by birds or simply dried up and gone away.  However, they provided a preview of the fall colors coming soon.
 Oregon Grape leaves, too, tend to turn bright orange and red a few at a time while others remain shiny green and provide nice contrast.  When the berries are ripe, a bright blue adds to the color show.
 Early in the season the Pine Drops are often obscured by the abundance of other ground cover, but when most grasses and annuals dry up and shrink to the ground, the statuesque Pine Drops are an impressive sight.  They're sturdy enough that they may stand for a couple of years after their season of flowering.
 This umbel of seeds inspired me to start paying attention to the grat variety of seeds that are easy to find in the fall.  I posted an acorn yesterday, and these seeds today, but expect lots more seed lore here in the coming weeks.
I never find a nature walk complete unless I stumble across an interesting bug.  This appears to be a nymph of some insect I haven't yet identified.  Click on it for a closer view.  I found several more points of interest along the nature trail and they will be shown in Part 2 later today.

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