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.
Parts 1 and 2 of this series were photographed on the FRC campus, just off the paved paths. My findings were so satisfying that when I got home the urge to get off the beaten path remained. I parked the car, headed down the driveway a short distance, then walked into the adjacent forest. The first thing that caught my eye was a lump in the ground cover (above). It's not as obvious in the photograph as it was in real life, but there was definitely something pushing up from below. I remembered from years past some large, white fungi growing in this area. I gently pushed some of the dried pine needles and leaves aside, and, sure enough, an 8" wide white fungus appeared (below).
I cleaned it off a little more for the next photo, then hoped no one would come along and pick it or kick it in the next few days. I'd love to see how big it gets.
As I turned around and headed back to the house for dinner, I found another one of these large fungi partially hidden by some greenery. This one was already poking through the ground cover on its own.
AS I got back to the edge of the driveway, I checked one of the larger oaks to see if there were still some Oak Treehoppers within reach. Sure enough, I found an olive-drab adult with a prominent orange "horn" and a dozen or so bright-striped juveniles.
As I walked back up the driveway I inspected the Cascara Buckthorn, AKA Cascara Segrada, which will soon turn bright colors. For now, I was satisfied to get some photos of back-lit leaves.
As I looked down and saw a bright blue streak, I thought I had found a nice feather from a Stellar's Jay, but it turned out to be a piece of a plastic junk-food wrapper. Still photogenic in a weird sort of way.
I took a few more steps and startled Stellar's Jay on the edge of my garage roof. Got a nice silhouette of it flying toward the birch tree to the left.
Before it got to the tree, it decided to land on the edge of the roof and look around. We had a brief conversation before it flew off into the woods where I had seen the fungi. Another half hour "off the beaten path." Very satisfying.