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.
It seems too hot to fly, but some things are still flying. It's so hot here today that I'm sure some airplanes have to watch their weight or they'll never lift off. I wonder if flying insects detect the difference in air density from early morning to mid-afternoon. Another factor, of course, is the effect of ambient temperature on their metabolism. Early this morning I noticed around 50 bumblebees on the small patch of lavender in our front yard. It was a cool 45-ish, and they were all immobile, apparently having spent the night there. I was able to pick up a few of them and roll them around in my hand. They hardly moved. I ran some errands and when I got back around 11:00, the bees were very active. I could hear them buzzing from 50 feet away. The above photo of a Bumblebee hovering by a stalk of Mullein was taken around 9:00 yesterday morning. It was in a spot that receives early morning sun as well as being adjacent to the dark pavement that absorbs the sun's energy.
On the pathway leading up to the main campus, the daisies are on the wane, but the Longhorn Beetles are getting the last bit of available nutrition from them. Maybe they'll move to a higher altitude in order to extend their season.
I took a walk past Oakland Camp toward Gilson Creek yesterday afternoon. It was ridiculously hot. No sign of animal life unless I looked in the shade. The grasshopper above was hiding out in the small amount of shade case by the Narrow-leaf Milkweed. The heat on my back was intense as I bent over to take photos, but I'll bet the micro-environment where the grasshopper hid was 20 degrees cooler.
This grand old Snowy Thistle has been occupying the same spot at the edge of the road for several years. Do you see the UFO? Upper left of the photo. Click on it for a closer view.
On the way to Oakland Camp I stopped by what remains of my Chandler Road milkweed spot and got a few interesting shots of the Red Milkweed Beetle. It was trying to hide in the shade, but I disturbed it a bit to get photos of it in the sun. It then quickly retreated to the shade. They'll soon be underground dwellers again until next summer.