Last Monday was the warmest it’d been in a while—over 10°C!—so as soon as I was done with stuff for the day, I headed out for a bit of afternoon “spidering”.
The late afternoon sun over the western skyline.
Last year’s high water levels had eroded much of the beach that was once reserved for a pollinator garden. The drastic fluctuations that come with climate change make landscaping…difficult.
I was astonished to find this tiny Tetragnatha long-jawed orbweaver out on the back of a Muskoka chair overlooking the pollinator garden.
A particularly rotten old willow tree had been cut down.
In the stump I found jewel-like bits of metallic beetle shells.
Plump green-grey caterpillars hid under some of the pieces of wood scattered around.
Under a loose chip of rock, a dusting of tiny red dots that could be mistaken for mold or lichen. They’re mites! Probably erythraeid mites like Balaustium or the like.
The moss was the only plant that showed signs of life.
This egg sac belongs to Euryopis, a cobweb spider. In my years of spider-watching, I have found approximately 982734 of these egg sacs and zero Euryopis.
Holy shit, another living arthropod! A little brown lacewing, clinging to the railing next to the pool in the stiff wind.
Most spiders are still in “hibernation”. Peeling back the bark on a tree stump reveals silk sleeping bags.
By this time of year, dead plants are almost bare. Any clumps of dead goldenrod you see are held together with silk—a spider’s winter home.
Pieces of dead bark on the ground are also a good place to find overwintering spiders. This running crab spider was not sluggish at all when I uncovered its hiding place. (Also, bonus isopod.)
Ground crab spiders (genus Xysticus) are extremely well-camouflaged against dead bark.
I found this ground crab spider under a rock at the foot of a spruce tree.
Under a brick I found a few little centipedes that immediately ran away.
It was getting cold down by the lake, so I hurried back. Around the front of Sunnyside Pavilion I found springtails on the wet ground.
As I headed back over the pedestrian bridge, it was getting dark—that time when cars’ headlights are just starting to stand out.
Before heading home I stopped to get a burrito. It’s not a great idea to eat with your hands after touching god knows what. I haven’t been able to get more hand sanitizer because of people panic-buying, so I washed my hands in the restaurant’s tiny, half-clogged sink for the requisite 20 seconds.
A month or more until spring.