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.
In SPRING, that is. Despite some of my gloomy forecasts over the past few weeks, today I saw the first really colorful gus visiting some of my favorite spring wildflowers. I know we still have a drought underway, but today I saw so much beauty in the forest that I was able to stay upbeat. The opening and closing photos today are of the Purple Milkweed, also called Heartleaf Milkweed, Asclepias cordifolia. I'm beginning to see some healthier specimens. The first ones reported here several weeks ago were blooming when only 6 - 8" in height, clearly a response to drought.
The Checker Bloom, Sidalcea glaucescens, was common along Chandler Road and all the way into Oakland Camp. Many were being visited by one of the most colorful beetles around, the Checkered Clerid, Trichodes ornatus. The common name comes from the family name, Cleridae. This beetle will rest on many different species of plants. I'm not sure if it dines on all of them, or just dines on some and rests on others.
There are much fewer Mountain Ladyslippers in the area where I usually see them, and for a while i wondered if they'll bloom this year. Today, for the first time, I saw a few with buds. (above) This lady slipper is scientifically named Cypripedium montanum. People drive long distances to see this one.
This beautiful white blossom, soon to be common on our roadsides, is called Orchard Morning-glory by those who like it, and Bindweed by those who don't. Either way, it's Convulvulus arvense to botanists. AS for the bee, when I try to identify it I come to a page with around 25 species that all look alike to me.
This last shot of Purple Milkweed has a visited. The Checkered Clerid beetle. Much more to report, hopefully tomorrow afternoon. Spring is happening!