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.
We've had a couple of days of rain and we're expecting more. The Bullfrogs are happy. Since they're non-native, some folks like to get rid of them. To me, it depends on where they are. If they're out-competing native Yellow-Legged frogs or native trout, I say bring them to the dinner table. But, in a ditch behind the nursing education building, I like seeing them every day and hearing them some evenings. They're a reminder of my enjoyable days spent in Florida and Louisiana where they are natives along with a couple of other large species, the Pig Frog and the Gopher Frog.
This lone California Waterleaf was almost ready to bloom at the edge of my driveway on the weekend. Then yesterday's and today's rains brought it into bloom.
This member of the waterleaf family, Hydrophyllaceae, is a close relative of the Phacelias of which there are many species on the West Coast. I believe this one is Hydrophyllum occidentale.
It was getting dark when I started turning over large pieces of pine bark next to my driveway and I discovered my first large Carabid beetle of the season. They run fast and try to hide as soon as they are exposed, so I had to poke at it to get photos out in the open.
I decided to engage the flash for the second photo and it seemed to daze the beetle into staying put long enough for me to catch it. So, I got one of my many photos of my left hand. As you can see, especially if you click on the photo, it has pretty awesome jaws. Not really hard to handle as long as you don't panic. To practice handling beetles without harming them and to reduce the chance of getting bit, try early in the morning when it's cold. They don't move so fast.
Finally, a nice young Oregon Grape blooming in the rain, and in the dark.
Toward the end of my day at the college, without my camera, I discovered a patch of blooming Woodland Star flowers. It's in the Saxifrage family and I plan to photograph it tomorrow. They were hiding under a small grove of willows out or reach of the lawnmowers.