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.
When the temperature recorded at Quincy Natural Foods reached 105, and various patrons left their vehicles running with the AC on while they shopped, a feeling of disgust came over me. We're experiencing human-caused global warming, yet half our population doesn't believe it, and more than half don't care. A long time before AC was invented, the Arabs figured out how to cope with high temperatures. Drink coffee and cover your body with absorbent clothing. I decided that mid-afternoon, when the temperature topped 100, would be a good time to check in on Dellinger's Pond to see how the various plants and animals were doing. And to see how I would do. On my drive out there I thought of the life at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, in the hot pools of Yellowstone, and in the pools below the Antarctic Ice, and maybe even on Europa or Mars. My main worry was that my camera would get too hot and the battery would explode. As usual, I worried more about the camera than about myself. I have always loved extreme weather. The cloud in the above photo almost ruined my fun. It moved in front of the sun and lingered for a full ten minutes, resulting in a temperature drop of at least 10 degrees.
Among the photogenic objects I discovered was the above golf ball. Maybe someone quit right there due to the heat and didn't bother to pick up their ball.
The next thing that caught my eye as I entered the gate to the dam at Dellinger's was a White Alder tree with last year's dried out female cones with a dried out patch of Tongue Fungus. To the right is a batch of this year's new cones. THe tree looked healthy overall, and it provided a brief respite from the heat before I headed out across the dam where I knew it would be quite hot.
There was quite a bit more muddy shoreline than was visible during my last visit. One might think it was ugly, but I found the new fragrance of hot mud reminiscent of the mud exposed at low tide where I grew up on Cape Cod. Since we loved digging for Quahogs, the sulfurous smell as considered a pleasant fragrance, indicative of good clamming grounds. I enjoyed spotting the footprints of Canada Geese and hearing the occasional Bullfrog grunt as it dove for cover. I didn't see or hear any Coots. They were plentiful during my last several visits. I wondered if they were hiding in the shade or if they had flown to cooler climes.
Toward the end of the easily passable portion of the dam was a dense wall of thistle. I was wearing shorts and decided not to go any further. I did pause long enough to take lots of photos of bees.
I also found patches of Tansy blooming. I'll post those photos later. Tansy is a non-native plant that spreads aggressively. It is one of the weeds the college science classes are attempting to eradicate. I wish them well, but meanwhile, I love the wide variety of insects the Tansy attracts. More on that later, too.
I'll finish this chapter of my afternoon adventure with a blurry photo I got in a shady stretch of Jackson Street on my way home. I stopped by a little spring to photograph the Stickseed, a kind of wild Forget-me-not. Ironic that just this morning, in a post about Pennyroyal seen on Mt. Hough, I longed for the return of the Red-shouldered Ctenucha Moth. Lo and behold, as I was photographing the Stickseed, one such moth flew in front of my camera. I got a bit excited and scared it off, but not before I got one blurry photo. I'll be visiting this place again. Maybe the Ctenucha Moth season has just begun.