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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Brought my two teenagers to work with me yesterday and left early enough to look for photo ops on the way. As we passed the entrance to Gileppi Ranch, I spotted two bright yellow beacons in the roadside ditch. Backed up for a closer look, and, much to my surprise, there was a pair of Hooker's Evening Primrose. All the other places where I've been following this flower's progress over the summer, it has reached heights of 3 to 4 feet, bloomed moths ago, and has now willted and formed seed pods. But these two were only around 6 inches above ground and looked "fresh as daisies." I suspect in response to frequent weed eater visits, they have "learned" to bloom short, hoping to complete their reproductive cycle beneath the blades. We're all familiar with this adaptation by Dandelions and a few other common visitors to our lawns. This is the first time I've seen such extremely short Evening Primrose. Cheer them on!
The Madia are still blooming along the north end of Quincy Junction Road. Check them out early in the morning. Very beautiful under early morning light. Across the white fence is a field of many acres of Madia (below), and by noon they all close up. On my way home, in the early afternoon, the field looks brown and bare. Then, the next morning it looks like this again.
Accompanied by 14 nice people on my nature hike at Oakland Camp. Three from my home state of Massachusetts. Fun nostalgia exchanged. Our first significant point of interest on our way to Gilson Creek was a large open area where we find four different species of Milkweeds. They are mostly gone to seed, but one area with surface moisture had a nice patch of very fresh looking Narrow Leaf Milkweeds. The same interesting visitors I've been watching all summer: Small Milkweed bugs, Aphids, Green Lacewings, and Goldenrod Crab Spiders.
This leaf of Showy Milkweed sported a deposit of eggs, most likely from the Small Milkweed Bug since they were active on many milkweed plants in the area, although they might be from the Red Milkweed Beetle.
One of my guests spotted a patch of the beautiful Scarlet Monkeyflower just past Gilson Creek.