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've been enjoying the Oak Treehoppers in September and October for the past several years. They've always been on twigs of California Black Oak, and there are now three places I visit regularly to view them. One such place is the oaks that line my driveway. Another is an oak that hangs over the paved pathway that connects the FRC parking lot to the main classroom buildings. These cute little bugs arrive around the same time every year. Until this morning, I had never seen one in June. And the one I saw was on a blade of grass around 50 feet from the nearest oak tree. I didn't have my camera with me this morning, so I've retrieved the above photo from my files of October 4, 2014.
My second "miss" happened just a few minutes ago. I walked by the birch tree in my front yard and heard the cahttering of a Red-breasted Sapsucker. I approached slowly, and it continued to chatter and peck at bugs in the bark as I got to within 10 feet. It seemed unafraid, so I went back into the house to get my camera. When I walked out the front door, it was still there. As I raised the camera to my eye, it disappeared. As I scanned the whole trunk of the tree through my crappy 200mm lens, I couldn't see it anywhere. Then I heard a sound above me from around 100 feet away. Rat-a-tat-tat from the top of a telephone pole across the street. So, is a blurry photo better than no photo at all? Maybe not, but for me it serves as a record of an enjoyable moment. The Sapsucker probably needed a dose of creosote to wash down the bugs he got off my tree.