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 almost titled this one "Off the beaten path, barely." These recently-arrived fungi and the group of Oak Treehoppers, were within 3 feet of the paved path leading from the FRC main parking lot up to the main classroom buildings. I've pointed out these beauties to many people over the past few days, and I have developed a hypothesis: wearing headphones shrinks one's peripheral vision.
There are Shaggy Mane fungi in several stages of development next to the path. The top photo shows the beginning of decay while the one above shows a fresh cap that might have been cut in half by a passing lawnmower.
The above cap was around 4" in diameter. I haven't ID'd it, but there many of these, probably connected beneath the surface. I remember in previous years this type often forms Fairy Rings. I'm looking forward to seeing them again, but it seems the lawns are mowed more frequently this year, so I might be out of luck.
Two more views of Shaggy Manes (above and below). They remind me of a more vertical form of the Giant Sawtooth.
In the same vicinity, there is a mid-sized California Black Oak, Quercus kelloggii, that hosts a reliable colony of Oak Treehoppers (below). The is the first time I've seen an adult that was such bright orange. Other adults I've seen are either olive drab with yellow spots or, a completely different look with longitudinal red and white stripes and bulging red eyes. If you scroll back to photos taken in September from 2011 through 2013 you'll find these great little bugs in all their forms. The juveniles are particularly attractive, although without a lens you're unlikely to see them as anything other than bumps on a twig.