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 started photographing the emergence of the Oak Treehoppers about a month ago. This shot, taken by my driveway, shows a small group of juveniles and one adult of the olive-drab-with-spots variety. I was seeing these near my house, in the foothills of Mt. Hough, and in ne oak tree on the FRC campus. Then I stopped looking for them for a couple of weeks.
This morning, on my way to town to look for some early-morning-light photos, I made a quick stop by the large oak tree in my driveway. What I saw was a startling abundance of juveniles and a small gathering (above) of a different kind of adult. In fact, today, all the adults I could find were of this very different color pattern. Basically red, black, and white longitudinal stripes, a kind of 90-degree rotation of the juvenile pattern. I've done a little reading on this, and all I could find is that adults come in two basic forms - the two I've shown here - and I have not found any genetic studies. The differences seems much more dramatic than, say, the difference between blondes and brunettes, or between brown and blue eyes, in humans.
Here's a shot of these "new kinds" of adults tending their young.
And, in another part of the tree, a hint of fall colors to come.