I don’t always manage it, but this year I managed to post arachnids every day of #Arachtober! For those who don’t want to page through the thread, here’s an album of them all in one place. Continue reading Arachtober 2022
The municipal election is nigh. I’ve been working behind the scenes, contributing research for The Local’s Candidate Tracker. Check it out—you can read up on Council candidates’ backgrounds, see where they stand on issues like shelter, affordable housing, and police funding, and compare them to incumbent councillors’ voting records.
Yesterday afternoon, after the rain stopped, I made a quick trip to the Oculus—the long-abandoned space-age modernist pavilion near the foot of the Humber Trail. And within a minute’s walk along the trail in either direction, I found more spider diversity than I ever find in my usual sites! Continue reading Field journal: Spiders of the Oculus
To the casual observer, many mites are just mysterious little red dots. Gardeners and farmers will be familiar with the spider mite family, Tetranychidae. These mites are plant-eaters, and many are major agricultural pests worldwide.
But there are so many other kinds of mites—more than you know. More than I know! More than even acarologists (mite scientists) know. They have described about 50,000 species, but they think there are probably at least a million in total.1 If you take a closer look at the little red dots running around, you can find many different kinds, occupying many different ecological niches, all unique and delightful to watch. Continue reading Know Your Little Red Mites: A Guide
So an obnoxious billionaire just bought Twitter, and a lot of people are signing up (or reviving their accounts) on the “flagship” servers, mastodon.social or mastodon.online. But you have more options! Continue reading Some Mastodon server recommendations
This winter I have tried to get into the habit of getting a coffee and a pastry at the White Squirrel and going for walks around Trinity-Bellwoods, just to get out of the house. There haven’t been bugs, but there are sometimes Fancy Birds: finches (house or purple, I’m not sure), woodpeckers, and once a Cooper’s hawk. Today it was quite nice and to my surprise there were flies and midges in the air, red velvet mites crawling in the soil, and the first spiders out and about! Continue reading Field journal: First spiders of spring in Trinity-Bellwoods
This issue is not just a nice round number, it also marks City Hall Watcher’s three-year anniversary, so it’s free for everyone! For this one, I talked to folks about how winter and the pandemic are pushing Toronto’s shelter system to its limits (and, yes, crunched some numbers). I also have a preview of the upcoming City Council agenda, including SafeTO, golf, moths, an Integrity Commissioner investigation, and the first 16 inclusionary zoning…zones.
At City Council’s last meeting of the year, we’ve got the water, waste, and parking budgets; proposed new taxes; updates on cycling infrastructure and the Ontario Line; one (1) mean tweet; and more.