Sunday, June 17, 2018

On the way to La Porte, II

On the way to La Porte, I

Jackson Creek Trail, III, Tunnel Vision

Jackson Creek Trail, II

Images under a grey sky

After a slow spring of fickle weather, lots of college essays to grade, and intermittent blogging, June is busting out all over.  My favorite nature photography areas are waking up and I'm taking lots of impromptu field trips and occasional planned ones.  I've got a backlog of photos from the Oakland Camp area, Butterfly Valley Botanical Area, and various spots in the Feather River Canyon, especially by the North Fork a few miles north of Caribou.  Every time I sit down to organize these photos and narratives for the blog, I am reminded of the pathetically slow Internet speed at home.  So, today, as a Father's Day gift, my wife and I drove up to inspect the Mills Creek Trail by Buck's Lake.
Again, procrastinating on organizing the photos I already have stored.  So, here are three randomly chosen ones to keep the Spring Fever alive.  Click on each one for a closer view.  The Swallowtail Butterfly (above) feeding n Showy Milkweed was spotted along the western section of Chandler Road by my old friend Mike Reagan's former house.  I was looking for the Red Milkweed Beetle, but it hasn't shown up yet.  I was quite satisfied with this close view of a butterfly's tongue.
On our morning hike along the Mills Creek Trail, we spotted this fungus which at first was mistaken for dog poop.  We decided to call it Dog Poop fungus.  I had no idea what it was, but my Internet research back home revealed there is actually a Dog Turd fungus, and this might be it.
I think this last one is from last Wednesday's hike along the Jackson Creek Trail.  One of my favorite bugs, the Common Checkered Clerid beetle. feeding on a daisy, made the hike worth while even though we forgot to bring water.  There's more to posted from that hike.  If you scroll back you'll see my favorite wildflower discovery from that trip, the Hot Rock Penstemon.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Jackson Creek Trail

A trail I've been driving by for years, but did not "discover" until this past week, is the Jackson Creek Trail.  Not for the faint of heart, it is very steep and has the potential to lure people to significant falls.  But, we were careful and discovered two new (to us) wildflowers.  This photo of Hot Rock Penstemon is a preview of our findings.  The trail begins on the frontage road by Mt. Tomba.  On the right-hand side of the road is a small parking area and a sign saying Jackson Creek Trail.  It's a little tricky to actually find the trailhead.  It begins with a pedestrian tunnel beneath Highway 70.  Shortly after emerging from the tunnel, the trail gets steep and narrow with lots of loose gravel.  Patches of he Hot Rock Penstemon appear right away along with Spring Beauty, Heart-leaf Milkweed, and Sulfur Pea.  There were lots of butterflies, but the only one I chose to photograph was a large Swallowtail feeding o a milkweed.  If I can get near a fast Internet source, I'll post the rest of this trip.  Then I hope to go back and organize my photos and tales from two weekend excursions to Oakland Camp,
Butterfly Valley and Caribou.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Butterfly Tongue

I'm getting frustrated by the poor Internet service at home, and ATT is making another giant purchase - does that mean service will get better?  Probably not.  So, today I need to go to one of my local coffee shops an try to catch up on my blogging goals.  I have quite a few photos and stories to tell based on recent trips to Oakland Camp, Butterfly Valley, and Caribou.  Meanwhile, the above photo was taken yesterday on the FRC campus.  Watching a butterfly's tongue unroll and enter a disk flower of a daisy is one of the most fascinating things to me on my daily walks. So many other things are happening on the daisies that I never get tired of checking them, one by one, in a big field. While the Goldenrod Crab Spider is till the star of the show, I manage to discover at least one new (to me) species of arthropod visitor every season.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Celebrating Orchids

 During the past two weekends, I've hosted out-of-town guests who asked me to lead them to the Mountain Lady's Slipper orchids that live just five miles from my home.  Both men were enthusiastic about wild orchids in general, so we started at the spot near Oakland Camp where we photographed the Cypripedium montanum, then moved on to Butterfly Valley then the canyon of the North Fork of the Feather River upstream from Caribou.  The two orchids shown here were at that latter location.  The California Lady's Slipper (above) and the Stream Orchid (below) are a sampler of the day's findings.  I'll post more later.  We also saw Rein Orchid, Spotted Coralroot, and many other species of wildflowers.