(Because writing about politics only fills me with rage and despair.)
1. Write more consistently
I’ve been taking a lot of photos, but I’m going to make an effort to do more write-ups as well, even if it’s just journal-type posts rather than in-depth explainers. For me, it’s useful to be able to read back and say, “Oh, the orbweavers are early this year”, etc.
2. Visit more parts of Toronto
I mostly wander around Sunnyside, High Park, and Humber Bay Park, because they’re closest. But I have a bike—it’s about time I explore more of the city’s parks and recreational trails.
I should definitely do a more thorough exploration of Tommy Thompson Park. Some other spots I’d like to visit, off the top of my head: the Railpath, the Don Valley trail, Evergreen Brickworks, the Beltline, Scarborough Bluffs, Rouge Park.
3. Get bit
Okay, I don’t mean conducting live bite tests like these guys. Any situation where a spider feels cornered and stressed out enough to bite me is one where I could probably kill it by accident, and I don’t want to do that. I also don’t want to seriously hurt myself, so if I’m lucky enough to find a black widow, I’m not going to provoke it! (Besides, we already know what black widow bites are like.)
But I am curious about common spiders’ readiness to bite, and the effects of non-dangerous venom. Accounts of verified spider bites describe them like anything from mosquito bites to bee stings. In my few years getting up close with spiders, I’ve never been bitten. So I figure it’s okay to be a bit less cautious.
4. Submit to BugGuide
BugGuide is a fantastic resource for North American arthropods. The volunteers who contribute to the site are great at identifying unknown critters, and they’re much more trustworthy than, say, Google Image Search. (Do not use Google Image Search.) I have way too many photos of spiders that still need to be ID’d.
5. Practice drawing spiders
I’m working with rather limited equipment—just my smartphone and a macro lens on a rubber band—so I can’t manage the impressive close-ups or motion shots that real photographers get. Learning to draw spiders will help me share more hard-to-capture moments.
There’s also stuff I’d like to see/do that really just depends on luck and patience and the resources I have at the time:
- spot/recognize more kinds of spiders
- hacklemesh weavers
- ghost spiders
- fishing spiders
- see more mating
- get pictures of a wolf spider carrying spiderlings
- get up-close pictures of spider claws
- keep jumping spiders (probably S. scenicus because they are the easiest to find, but I’d love to keep a Phidippus)
I’ll post writing here, but you can check out my Instagram for regular photos.