Nearly a month has gone by without any new posts, despite my recent statements about blogging in earnest. I'm finding that teaching writing classes not only involves lots of time grading papers but also focuses my interest on writing. I'm actually writing a lot in various journals and notebooks, but not focusing in the short run on material I want to post here. We'll see what develops. Let's just say, my cessation of blogging is not due to deterioration of my health. I might be back soon. It probably depends on how spring unfolds - wildflowers, lizards, interesting insects, etc., usually fire me up and prompt me to keep my camera batteries charged.
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.
During spring and the first part of summer, Daisies were the site of the greatest variety of insect and spider activity. Now, in the latter part of summer, Tansy seems to be the place. While I am slowly going over the photos I took during last week's trip to the coast, I keep coming across irresistible photo ops here in Quincy. This first photo is of a Goldenrod Crab Spider consuming the body fluids of a small wasp. I first spotted an Ambush Bug on top of this Tansy, but when I got closer, I noticed the spider/wasp combination was more interesting.
I returned to the site of the Hummingbird photos I took the other day, on a big bush near Quincy Natural Foods, this time with my better lens and more patience. This shot is better focused than the previous ones. This was done with my standard, 55mm lens from only 3 feet away. The birds were so intent on feeding they let me get pretty close. I wish I could have captured the sounds, not only of beating wings but of their chatter as they competed for 'turf.'
This is just one shot from a series in which I followed the drama of two predators, the Ambush Bug and the Goldenrod Crab Spider. I couldn't wait long enough to see if a battle ensued. The Ambush Bug is relatively hard bodied, and the spider is most often seen consuming moths, flies, and other soft-bodied prey. Both of these critters are inclined to wait motionless with front legs outstretched until a meal flies right into their grasp. I wonder which would win in a confrontation, the powerful jaws of the Ambush Bug or the quickness and venom of the spider? All these bugs are very active these days, so maybe I'll get another chance to see what happens.
A Daisy is a composite, each "flower" actually a collection of Disk Flowers (white) and Ray Flowers (Yellow). Somehow this one in my front yard gave me the creeps. I imagined fingers growing out of my cheeks. Click on photo for a closer view.
Yellow Jackets are beautiful. Remain calm and you can usually get close-up views without getting stung. Click on this one and enjoy the details.
Hopefully, tomorrow I'll be able to post some more photos from the coast.