Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wandering Under the Sun

 Feather River College is in the northwest corner of American Valley, so it receives a great deal more sun each day than my house on the south side.  I'm at the base of Claremont Mountain and shaded by tall Douglas-firs and Ponderosa Pines.  On my wanderings around FRC I found large areas with no snow on the ground and the soil was actually warm compared to my front yard which is still ice and snow around a foot deep.  Along Golden Eagle Drive leading into the college the willows in the wet areas are budding beautifully (above) and there are many kinds of green starting to show on the ground and in the water.
 The filamentous algae in the flowing water are colorful, and I couldn't resist picking up a couple of blobs with a stick.  I wish I had a microscope because these green hairs are habitat for a wide variety of microscopic organisms - ciliates, flagellates, and flatworms, etc.  This coming spring I'm going to find a way to borrow a microscope and start photographing the wonders found in creek and pond water, especially the unclear kind.

 No polarizing filter, but if you click on this photo you can probably make out the large trout in the hatchery ponds.  Covered with ice only a couple of weeks ago, the ponds are now an exciting scene with fish jumping and ospreys planning robberies.
 Healthy clumps of moss adorn some of the sidewalk cracks.
 This young plant will produce a five-petaled, pink flower, only a quarter inch in diameter.  These grow in my dirt driveway and I haven't been able to identify them.  Probably non-native.  Will try again this spring when they bloom.
The Lupines have made their first appearance.  This clump is about 4 inches across.  Exciting signs of spring.  I now it's only February, but I'm ready for April!

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