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.
I knew that the Showy Milkweed was probably blooming by now based on the buds I saw a week ago. The first site I visited was one on the western end of Chandler Road. Before I could get out of the car to check for the Red Milkweed Beetle, Tetraopes basalis, I spotted a Monarch Butterfly, Danaus plexippus, on a cluster of buds, perhaps 50 feet away. I quietly switch to my telephoto lens and got out of the car. The butterfly immediately took off, but it circled the area as if it really wanted to come back and continue dining. Sure enough, i came back and landed on a nearby plant whose blossoms had opened. I managed to get a few shots from about 20 feet away before it took off again. I then continued looking over every plant in hopes of finding the Red Milkweed Beetle. I didn't find any, but just as exciting, I found a Lynx spider, Oxyopes scalaris, on one of the milkweed plants. At first I thought I had stumbled across a weird kind of large bug I'd never seen before. On careful inspection, I saw that it was the Lynx Spider dining on some sort of small wasp or fly. Later in the day I found some Red Milkweed Beetles at another site.