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 took no panoramic photos this morning. I could have faked the scene with a light, grey-brown paintbrush, but who'd want to look at that? Instead, I kept my eyes peeled for color on my way to the college. Along Golden Eagle Avenue, I'd been driving by this lone patch of Goldenrod for days, but this time I decided to stop and pay my respects. If it were not for the school's mascot, this road could well be named Goldenrod Avenue.
A closer view (click to get even closer) shows that this flower is a composite, in the same family as daisies and dandelions, and many other well-known flowers. Once one stops for a closer look, it is
inevitable that other discoveries await. At my feet, surrounded by mostly brown vegetation are a few surviving filarees. They are very rugged and will be back next year no matter what the climate brings in August and September. They are a weed, but "what's in a name?"
Another composite, maybe Hawkweed, is being paid a visit by some sort of fly. [I'll check on the ID of the flower later and correct it if necessary.]
Star Thistle, a plant enjoyed only by prickly naturalist.
Bachelor's Buttons are doing fine along most roadsides around here, sharing space with Chicory which looks similar when driving by, but is unique when seen close up.
On the paved walkway up to the offices, I spied a tiny white spot on this red thistle from around 20 feet away. When I got close, I could see the tip of one leg of a Goldenrod Crab Spider, By the time I got my lens cap off, she emerged to the extent shown above. Then, as I moved in even closer, she
looked for an escape route. Then, the closest I could get (below), approximately 8 inches, showed
what a beautiful spider this is. I don't think I've ever seen it resting on Goldenrod, but I suppose somewhere in the Midwest that may be its favorite resting place.
If you go walking around Quincy today, walk slowly, breath carefully, drink water often, and look for colorful things. :)