Running crab spider lying flat on a railing

Field journal: March 29, 2020

The pandemic has changed remarkably little about my daily life, aside from not going to coffeeshops. I am just staying inside more. This past Sunday it was finally decent-ish weather and, along with far too many other people, I headed down to the lake.

Running crab spider lying flat on a railing
I was thrilled to find a running crab spider (Philodromus) right near the beginning of the King/Queen/Roncy footbridge.
A chironomid on a railing
There are still only a few midges out, but the swarms are coming.

My destination was this little triangle of land by the lake, where the stormwater pond and the QEW monument are. It’s usually pretty good for the first spiders of spring, and there are sometimes interesting rocks to flip. And, more importantly, no one else pokes around there. Social distancing, baby!

A pretty good spider patch. (Via Google Maps.)

As soon as I got there, I spotted this great fungus on a dead log.

A shelf fungus on a dead log
A very nice fungus.
Blurry photo of small wolf spider
While moving around to get a picture of the fungus, I noticed young wolf spiders hopping around!
Blurry macro photo of wolf spiderling
This was the best up-close video I could get. They’re very jumpy.

As I expected, young long-jawed orbweavers (Tetragnatha) could be found among the trees and dead plants, especially the dense-needled spruce trees. They are always the first I notice in spring.

Small tetragnathid on plant stem
A small long-jawed orbweaver on a dead plant stem.

I liked this pretty long-jawed orbweaver’s delicate stripes:

A tetragnathid drawing out silk with its leg

Lightly striped long-jawed orbweaver

I saw this nice little male mesh-web weaver (family Dictynidae) with a midge it had caught!

A dark brown and white mesh-web weaver with a midge
Mesh-web weaver preying on a midge.

Just then, the wind kicked up. The little dictynid hastily tied down its midge, then hunkered down in its shelter at the base of the needles. It reminded me of a sailor in a storm lashing cargo to the deck, then battening the hatches.

Dead logs turned up intriguing finds.

A sheet-web weaver hanging upside down in her web
Half-hidden by a dead log. I thought it was dead as they normally run away at the slightest vibration, but it let me get a picture!
Small millipede curled in a loop
A small millipede found under a piece of driftwood

There was also life to be found in the grass and leaf litter.

A red-brown ant carrying a dead ant across dead grass
These reddish-brown ants were quite active. I watched this one lugging a dead comrade? enemy? through dead grass.
Ladybug on a dead leaf
Found in the dry leaf litter under the shelter of full-grown spruces.

No leaves on the trees yet, but plants had begun to sprout in the undergrowth.

A round brown gall in a cedar-ish tree
An interesting gall in a tree. Anyone know what it is?

Green and yellow lichen on a tree

I just had to get a photo of this gorgeous lichen! If you didn’t know, lichens are wild. (See all the replies in this thread for more mid-blowing lichen stuff.) There were also more plants:

Before I went home I checked out those short jetties made of giant limestone blocks. You sometimes see people fishing there. Under a flake of rock I found more mite eggs! I was hoping to find hatched mites to perhaps figure out what they are, but it’s still too early in the year.

I was a little disappointed with how the photos turned out; many were just a bit out of focus. I switched to a different camera app and a new phone macro lens late last year, but haven’t had enough practice yet. It will improve.

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