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.
As I began my walk up the path to the office, I spotted the Goldenrod Crab Spider that has occupied this flower for nearly two weeks. Contrary to the popular image of spiders - always frantically running around trying to attack things, especially people - she mainly sits still all day and waits for delicious meals to land right in front of her. Most of the time these insects have come to feed off the flower. Sometimes, depending on the background, the spider herself is mistaken for a flower. Some insects who don't feed off this particular type of flower might stop for a brief rest, or a drink of morning dew. This morning was the second time I've caught this particular spider in the act of taking a meal. This time it was a rather small fly. The above photo approximates my first view. Then I moved in for close-ups, and that did not distract the spider at all.
Click on each photo for closer and closer views. In the last one, my lens was only around 6 inches from the spider. If I looked like a bird, she probably would have quickly disappeared below the surface of the flower or rode a quickly spun strong of web to the ground. I've seen them do this with or without bringing along the partly-eaten meal.
I appreciate a few friends who find this spider beautiful. She's absolutely no threat to humans. More on the topic of threats later today.