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.
Hiking the trail that loops around Lake Madora was a last minute decision. Several weeks ago my friend Spencer and I had spent an adventurous morning climbing a rock I've always known as Spirit Rock. It's a granite dome in the Lakes Basin, and the summit provides some great views. It's also a test of whether someone my age should still be climbing rocks such as these. Since I survived, I guess the answer is "yes." As we were circling the lake, which I hardly noticed because of its advanced state of eutrophication, we came across a nice greenish Alligator Lizard. The amateur herpetologist instinct kicked in and I had to catch it.
He immediately pooped all over my hand and made it difficult to hold him firmly yet gently with my left hand while operating my camera with my right. On warm days these critters try to bite when you first catch them, and they can bite pretty hard. However, if you're gentle, they'll hand tame pretty quickly. True to form, when I set this one down on a big log it didn't run off immediately. We both got some good photos...
...before he decided to go back into hiding. Notice that his tail is still intact, a sign that he was handled gently enough and won't have to expend most of his energy growing a new tail.
Another nice sight, since the lighting was perfect, was this pair of Thistles.
As usual, I was so enthralled by what was right in front of me at close range that I almost forgot to look at the lake. From the north side I could actually see some open water although most of the lake was grown in with Cattails and Rushes. The lake won't be here much longer in geologic time unless humans keep on clearing the emergent vegetation. Years ago, whenever I visited this lake I'd see an abundance of Yellow-legged Frogs. I didn't see any this time.
Back to looking at what was right under my nose, I spied this nice specimen of White-Veined Wintergreen, a member of the Heath family.
So, after this brief visit to my three-week-old archives, I plan to share some current events. Next post will be photos taken on the FRC campus this week.