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.
A welcome sight on my way up to the FRC library was the appearance of Duckweed in a drainage ditch. There are several floating plants that go by the name Duckweed, and after I get out my hand lens and do a little more investigating, I plan to make some drawings and tell a little of the natural history of this plant.
Here's a closer view. Click on it to get even closer. On some ponds, even the eastern end of Snake Lake, I have seen such dense growths of Duckweed that the ponds' surface resembles a golf green and it's tempting to try to walk on it. It's also fun to scan the surface for sight of the occasional pair of frog's eyes poking through. Photos of such sights should be arriving soon.
I love watching the seasonal appearance of the male and female flowers of the White Alder. The early season appearance of the male catkins contrast with the persistent female cones (not shown in this photo) from last summer. Soon those will be pushed off by the emerging new cones. There are a number of healthy-looking White Alders along the road leading to the upper campus at FRC, but one older specimen has an advanced infection of Tongue Fungus. I'm predicting that one will be cut down this year, but so long as it lasts it's interesting to see how it clings to life even when the fungi outnumber the leaves and flowers of the alder.
My son spotted this new (to me) spider on a tree where I have taken many photos of the Red-breasted Sapsucker. From its body shape and movement, I guessed it's some type of crab spider, but I haven't yet found it in my field guide.