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.
On my way to areas that usually have lots of blooming Pennyroyal, I was dismayed to see how many of my favorite weed-viewing spots had been blitzed by the Road Department weed-eaters. I especially wanted to check on the status of the several species of Milkweeds that are still blooming. When I got past Oakland Camp to an area near Gilson Creek, things started looking up. While the Purple or Heartleaf Milkweed had already gone to seed, the Narrowleaf Milkweed was blooming in abundance and had many insect visitors. The above photo is of a Checkered Clerid Beetle. I got the shot as she was preparing for take-off.
The first patch of Pennyroyal I came to had lots of bees and Pale Swallowtail Butterflies (above), but no Red-shouldered Ctenucha moths. AT least none that were landed. Some small black moths or butterflies were flitting around, but none landed long enough for me to get a close look.
I should have been satisfied because the Swallowtails are actually a lot more colorful. I suppose it is the relative rarity of the Ctenucha moths that makes them a top goal.
Back to the Narrowleaf Milkweeds, I was hoping to find some Monarch caterpillars or crysallises, but had to settle for the Pentatomid bug (above), and a pair of Mating Clerids (below).
Finally, on the Indian Hemp (also a milkweed), I found a Crab Spider.
These last two butterflies were meant for a June post, but suddenly it's July! These are two different species, but very similar-looking. The first is Lorquin's Admiral (below), and the next is a
California Sister. The only obvious difference is the black margin around the orange wingtips, or the lack of it.
Finally, another June shot, a blooming Checker Bloom. Click on this one for an enlargement
and you will see the nice crop of aphids which I didn't notice until I viewed it on my 15" screen.
Even though I haven't yet got a good shot of a Ctenucha moth, it was a pretty good start for July photography.