Wednesday, October 16, 2019

What I Saw Today

Every morning, just before sunrise, I am reminded why most Native Americans traditionally have the entrances to their dwelling facing East.
 It has taken me a couple of months to get back to this mid-October post that I abandoned after posting only the above photo of a sunrise as seen on my way to a local coffee shop. It is now January 5, and I plan on posting more this year on the theme what what I see early in the day that sets my day in motion. The Dogwood trees on the Feather River College campus are mostly still showing bright red foliage at this time of year, but there are either different varieties of cultivars and/or different soil types that may account for the huge differences in coloration.  For instance, the tree in the photo below is only about 15 feet away from the one shown above.
 This panorama of trees along the paved walkway to the upper campus always impresses me. I bright red-orange California Black Oak stands out among the surrounding evergreens that include some California Incense Cedar, White Fir and Douglas-fir.  I little further up the hill is a small stand of Black Cottonwood.
 Another thing I enjoy following is the work of gophers fighting back against our (but not me) attempts to eliminate them - after having provided them with ideal conditions for expansion.  The well-watered and fertilized green area hosts lots of gophers, deer, and wild turkeys.  Great fun to watch before the morning human traffic picks up.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Summer that Wasn't, Part II

 We made a few stabs at a normal summer (see previous post), one of the most satisfying was a visit to Brady's Camp. The flower display up there around 6,000 feet peaked later than usual. Bib and Loki perched on a rock overlooking the creek bed that was loaded with blooming Leopard Lilies, Monkshood (below) and many other species.
 In the marshy expanse on the other side of the campground was a nice crop of Checker Mallow, cousin of Checker Bloom which I've often photographed at lower altitudes.
 I made a few visits to the FRC campus in July and August, mostly to assess whether I'd be able to walk up the hill again after my surgery. It seems that the combined effects of years of drought and "landscaping" have diminished the wildflower displays along the path to the upper campus.  However, there still survived a small patch of Lemon's Wild Ginger.
 On a more recent hike up Sierra Buttes (see previous post), we saw patches of a beautiful red flower blooming at nearly 7,000 feet. My first impulse was to say it was a Penstemon common at high altitudes, but that didn't seem quite right. The stamens and pistil projected quite far out pa st the corolla, and the red color wasn't quite right. When I got home and looked closer at the image on my screen, I realized it was California Fuschia.  Without getting out a hand lens and inspecting the flower parts more closely, I would never have guessed it is an Epilobium, the same genus as Fireweed (bottom photo) which I photographed near Oakland Camp at around 3,500 feet elevation.
 These photos represent around a day and a half of exploring with my camera, a very small part of summer rescued from a summer spent mostly recovering from surgery. As winter seem to be approaching quickly, I plan to refresh my winter photography skills and continue to blog more regularly.