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.
Of the photos I took last week around Quincy, I picked the most colorful, or dramatic in other ways, for the first couple of posts. As I go through the photos this morning, deleting some, editing others, I come to ones that represent less noticeable but equally beautiful aspects of our natural environment - or, I should say, relatively natural. The above example is Gilson Creek, crossing the dirt road just before joining Spanish Creek. This is a rich biological area around a half mile beyond the northern end of Oakland Camp. I don't think there's any snow remaining on the south-facing slopes of Mt. Hough, the source of this creek, so the flow should decrease rapidly in the next couple of weeks and the wildflower display should increase. I'm going to check on the area again this afternoon.
Here's an overview (above) of the place off Chandler Road where I got all those close-ups of Stream Orchid that I posted during the past week. As you can see from this shot, the stem and leaves of the orchid blend in well with the surrounding grasses, rushes, and sedges, so the orchids are easy to miss. Perhaps a key to their survival.
I was lucky to spot this shed Dragonfly skin. Still clinging to the grass as if alive, it reminds me of a time several years ago when I was with a group of my students, and we got to see the whole process of the Dragonfly nymph slowly crawling out of the water, waiting a few moments to begin to dry out and crack, and the adult Dragonfly emerge with its wings tightly crumpled blobs that were hardly flight-worthy. We then watched for at least 10 minutes as each heartbeat pumped a little blood into the wings and they gradually reached full extension. The insect then stayed still another five or more minutes until the sun dried the wings and the Dragonfly took of on its maiden voyage. What a thrill, not only to watch nature in action, but to see my students sit still in wonderment for all of a half hour, with not a cell phone in sight.