A view of the Gardiner looking east from the foot of Jameson

Field Journal: Socially Distant Spidering

We’re starting to get the odd day of genuine nice spring weather—and people are flocking to the outdoors. Many parks are closed and the Martin Goodman Trail is packed. So those in search of a nice out-of-the-way spot need to get a little creative.

Exhibition Place’s Scadding Cabin has apple and chestnut trees, garden beds, and (most importantly) lots of rocks to flip.

The grass islands between Lakeshore and the Gardiner have plenty of room, if you don’t mind smog and cars whizzing past at expressway speeds. Look, you work with what you got.

A view of the Gardiner looking east from the foot of Jameson
A little patch of green between Lakeshore and the Gardiner.
A midge and a ladybug eating a midge meet on a dandelion stem
In the shade of a dandelion stem, a midge encounters a ladybug eating one of its brethren. oof

I found several kinds of ants!

With the Palais Royale closed, the parking lot is empty. The low wooden barriers are a great habitat for spiders, it turns out.

Synageles ant-mimic jumpers were all over. You would take them for small carpenter ants at first glance.

A parson spider eating some other spider
A small young parson spider preying on another spider.

One I was following suddenly caught sight of another spider and promptly turned tail and ran out of sight. It was a juvenile parson spider, Herpyllus ecclesiasticus, with the body of another spider clutched in its jaws.

Tiny jumping spider next to my fingertip

I also found a few of a kind of jumping spider I’ve seen a few times before, but haven’t identified. I think it’s in that Eris/Metaphiddipus/Pelegrina group that all look very similar.

Side view of red velvet mite eating midge
On a tree trunk, a red velvet mite consumes a midge.

On a tree nearby, I found a red velvet mite eating a midge. Did it hunt it down, or is it scavenging? Cool to find regardless.

Anyway, I encourage everyone to look around those forgotten and marginal green spaces in their neighbourhoods or by their highways. You never know what you’ll find, and also even if you look eccentric no one is allowed to approach you, which is really an ideal rock-flipping/spidering situation.

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