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'm not sure if it's their relative abundance this year, or the lack of other species blooming in this drought, but for some reason I'm more aware than ever of the Rein Orchid. I'm so intrigued by the tall spike of flowers that I've yet to zoom in for a high-quality image of a single flower. There are plenty of these in wet places around Quincy, so I probably have at least another week or so to pursue that goal before they wilt. For the second photo, I backed up a bit to give a better idea of the scene as I approached. You can see there are quite a few specimens in this photo. They were at the edge of Highway 70 just north of the turnoff to Feather River College.
The third photo is a close-up of one on Blackhawk Road on the way to the Butterfly Valley Botanical Area. In much deeper shade and actually growing in standing water, the flowers are less abundant and more widely spaced. The stem and leaves, not visible in this photo, are much fleshier and healthy looking than those in the first two photos where the orchids were exposed to a lot more sun.
In any given meadow where these orchids are found, one might also find a lily with the scientific name Hastingsia sp. (below photo). Easy to distinguish when viewed up close. The orchid flower is bilaterally symmetrical while the lily is radially symmetrical (three petals and three sepals that are white, so to the amateur it appears to have six, radially arranged petals).
The other white things that capture my attention daily are the daisies and their visiting crab spiders in my front yard. The Goldenrod Crab Spider was probably named for its association with Goldenrod in the Mid-West, but the spider itself often changes to a goldenrod color. It also often has two prominent red stripes on its abdomen. See these in several posts over the past few weeks.
Dinner time on a daisy. This spider has occupied the same daisy in my yard for about a week.