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.
Many of my favorite milkweed-watching spots have succumbed to the Road Department weed eaters, and I have been complaining about the loss. But yesterday afternoon, in one of the remaining small patches along my traditional route, I was excited to find my first Red Milkweed Beetle of the season. When I approached, I first spied a dark blob on the shadow side of a leaf. On closer inspection, it was the beetle, but only a dark silhouette. I lightened it considerably (above) in iPhoto which I suppose is a form of cheating. Only after I uploaded the photo did I discover a small cricket on the same leaf. Click on the photo for a closer view. I then hung around for a while, poking at the beetle a little to get it to come out in the sun and assume various positions (below), and I got several nice photos. I think this bug liked me because it could have easily flown away but did not.
Elsewhere on the same plant I found a tiny grasshopper (below) then paid attention to the flowers.
Some very large bees were flying from flower to flower. It was getting pretty hot by the pavement, but
I hung around long enough to get a few pretty good Bumblebee photos before moving on. I hope this particular patch of milkweeds is spared by the weed-eater folks a while longer.