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.
Took an early afternoon hike past Oakland Camp in the area of Gilson Creek and decided that spring has definitely arrived. At first we were seeing only the new green leaves of various wildflowers, but no blooms. The above photo is of one of the early violets, Viola purpurea. Leaves of this violet were all over the south-facing hillside and I expect them to be blooming within another week or so.
Then we saw many clusters of leaves of the California buttercup (above). These get rather tall before they bloom, so I thought it might be a few more weeks before we saw any blooms, then my wife spotted one blooming. Amongst the buttercups there were many early leaves of the Sticky Cinqefoil (below).
This blooming buttercup was only a foot above the ground, so maybe lots of them will be blooming soon. This plant had at least a dozen buds beside the one bloom shown here.
We found a sunny place on a hillside around 100' above the railroad tracks and decided to sit down and do some sketching. My sat right in a patch of the tiny Spring Whitlow Grass. This tiny member of the mustard family, Brassicaceae, is always one of the earliest bloomers around these parts.
The Greenleaf Manzanita were blooming plentifully and didn't look at all like they'd braved a recent snowstorm. Yes, spring is here. Part two of this report will follow shortly.