Spider Collector's Journal (29th page: 2019) Copyright © 2019 by Rod Crawford
Here's the 29th page of narratives of fun (and not so fun) trips to collect spiders for research at the Burke Museum, some accompanied by capable field volunteers: Laurel Ramseyer and new recruits. Most also appeared in Scarabogram, newsletter of "Scarabs: The Bug Society." Dates of field trips head each paragraph. Maps showing the location of sites within Washington state follow the grid system outlined in the Washington Spider Checklist. RETURN TO INDEX
Where you see this button in a field trip account, click it to get a page of collecting site photos!
15 III 2019: In December and January we were far too busy moving mountains of stuff to the new museum building. In February, we had a record-breaking snowfall! So it was March before things came together for the first (and last) field trip of the winter of 2018-19. The weather finally warmed up in mid-month, so Laurel and I headed for Bayshore Preserve on Oakland Bay (near Shelton) on the 15th. The preserve is a former golf course subsequently acquired by Capitol Land Trust; it occupies part of a small peninsula in the bay, sharing same with a Department of Wildlife parcel, where we parked in becoming-warm sunshine.
My first order of business was to beat conifer foliage, which produced 10 spider species but nothing rare. Near where I'd been beating, I spotted some nice deep leaf litter deposits, well segregated into cottonwood and maple litter. Sifting cottonwood litter produced a lot of spiders so I kept doing it; to my later chagrin, all but 1 of the many spiders were the common Microneta viaria; only one isopod species too! The nearby maple litter was a little better, increasing the litter spider species to 5; some maple litter from a large tree in a grass field made that 9 litter species, not so bad after all. I swept 6 species from the very extensive grasslands (no doubt formerly the golf-course lawns), and understory added one.
Meanwhile, Laurel did a lot of moss sifting, getting 7 species from tree trunk moss in the golf course area and 3 more from trees by a stream. On the other hand, moss on the ground added nothing at all that was mature, which is fairly typical. She also got a few under wood on the ground, and tapped 100 Douglas-fir cones which produced the day's most interesting species, an unidentified erigonine female. At this site, practically at sea level, I spotted one unmelted patch of last month's snow!
Finally we stopped in the town of Shelton where Laurel had spotted some pine cones (of the non-native Pinus nigra) on the drive in, in a tiny pocket park. Tapping 65 of these added no different species, but I added a couple from nearby buildings, for a grand total of 37. For a change, we ate at Dairy Queen..
21 III 2019: Fall before last, we'd hiked in from the Gold Creek Trailhead in Green Mountain State forest, Kitsap County, to a fine wetland and other good habitats. This time (on the 2nd day of Spring), we wanted to sample the area closer to the trailhead, where we only took 3 species in passing before. It was the very last area to sample on the Kitsap peninsula! On the way, Laurel stopped for sandwiches near Gig Harbor and found some pine cones by the parking lot; adding 2 species for that area including a range extension for recently introduced Zodarion rubidum.
It was cool and sunny at the trailhead. We hiked a half mile or so to where the trail crosses Gold Creek and forks; here Laurel collected from the bridge (13 species!), I sifted alder litter (added 4) and beat understory (added 3 and duplicated many of the bridge spiders), and Laurel sifted moss (added 5). Though a weekday, the trailhead parking lot was crowded and there were lots of hikers on the trail. Curious ones who asked questions! Halfway back to the trailhead, at a spot where there were maple and Douglas-fir trees, I sifted (added 3) and Laurel tapped cones (added 2, including the very first Ozyptila pacifica found in a cone). One more spider from the trailhead outhouse, then we were headed north to different habitats in the Tin Mine Creek area.
Parking at a gated road, we walked up to an 8-year-old clearcut where conifer foliage added 6 species, roadside grass added 2, and a juvenile wolf spider and Cyclosa were easy to rear, making in all 40 species for the day; the prior sample from the trailhead makes it 43. The Kitsap Peninsula is all sampled now!
31 III 2019: It was the last day of March, unseasonably warm and sunny, and I had a shiny new trip plan for sites on the South Fork Nooksack River in south central Whatcom County. Laurel and I left Highway 9 on Saxon Road and stopped first at Saxon Cemetery, a seemingly old country burial-ground where most of the graves I saw were relatively new. Woodland around the fringes, non-native evergreen shrubs and slightly unkempt grass promised productive habitats. However, we found spiders here to be relatively sparse — enough, however, for a sample. First, I beat 6 species from the few accessible conifer branches I could find. Laurel added 2 good species from fir-cones and sifted 7 from tree-trunk moss. I settled down to sift 3 bags of maple litter, but the litter spiders were rather sparse here; diverse enough, however, to give me 11 species. Laurel added 3, including 2 nice females of Metellina mimetoides, from grave monuments and a storage container. We moved on from here with 26 species, including the only Ozyptila crab spider of the trip, a female O. pacifica from litter.
Our second site was Saxon Bridge, crossing the South Fork with a nice parking area and lovely habitats. Here, my first concern was to hunt for wolf spiders on the gravel bar (I'd only seen and missed 2 at the cemetery). No sooner was I on the gravel when a nice big female Pardosa lowriei started leading me a merry chase, several times scooting out into the river and back, but I finally got her. A male was much easier, and a smaller male at the edge of a sandy stretch proved to be Pardosa xerampelina, both very nice records. Meanwhile, Laurel had been trying the riverside moss but found it very uncharacteristically dry and not giving her what she wanted. We added some species from bridge guardrails and fern understory, and I sifted some more maple litter with only 2 species different from the cemetery. Still, even with rather sparse pickings we finished a fairly short day with 36 species and some good records to boot; also having seen some brand new territory.
26 IV 2019: Finally, after most of a month of wet or iffy weather, we had a field-friendly day! I had a dozen or so trip plans, and Laurel selected the one to the Nooksack River delta. We started at Marietta Veterans Park, just over a mile up from the bay on a side channel called Silver Creek. The park was fairly dry (although it's known to flood in the spring) and had a variety of spider habitats; leaf litter alone gave 11 species so it obviously hasn't flooded this year, including another record of the introduced wolf spider Trochosa ruricola. Laurel added 3 species from sifting some sparse moss, nothing much from Douglas-fir cones, and Salticus from the playground. I swept 8 from grass and dandelions (no Misumena though) and found one solitary Pardosa vancouveri active. We were just outside the Lummi reservation but the park is decorated with native carvings (see album). 22 species so far.
The south trailhead for the Nooksack dike top trail had different habitats, marshy meadows with lots of Pardosa metlakatla running around, and forest with a lot of Sitka spruce. Spruce foliage gave me 11 species including a very good sample (both sexes) of Dismodicus #1, a little red-legged erigonine. We both added a few from sweeping grass in different habitats. Laurel finally found some moss on willows beside a backwater channel, which added a couple of unusual microspiders. Then she finally found one Misumena on a dandelion! Toward the end, Laurel happened to spot a jumping spider peeking out of the spent seedhead of a bull thistle; a male Metaphidippus mannii! So she spent some time sampling the seedheads getting other cool spiders including the second Washington record of the ant mimic salticid Synageles venator! Tappping spruce cones gave good stuff too, including a male erigonine I can't yet identitfy. Total for the area, 43 species.
I tried also walking south along the river from our site on an unsigned, sandy dirt road; but the habitat was totally different, largely blackberry. A very curious thing seen on the main road: a Lummi Nation police car, all lights flashing but going very slowly, leading a sort of parade of 5 other assorted vehicles!
30 IV 2019: Laurel and I, this time with the welcome assistance of Jerry Austin, set off for the town of Sumas on the Canadian border, in between Lynden and Maple Falls where we'd collected last year. We had 3 sites picked out around the town, and hoped to find accessible forest in a range of hills to the SE. Each place contributed something.
The first site, a flood control tract on Johnson Creek, was mostly overgrown with blackberry but some moss on a maple tree allowed Laurel to add a data point for the introduced crab spider Ozyptila praticola, while Jerry found a big female Trochosa under wood and we swept a few others: 7 species, 5 of them introduced. Next stop Howard Bowen Park where Laurel added 3 good species from buildings, I found a few under lumber and an old carpet, and Jerry worked hard sweeping some remnants of field grass for very few spiders, but including several good ones, an uncommon orbweaver and yet another locality for the newly introduced ant mimic jumping spider Synageles venator. Then we moved on to the Sumas Cemetery which added zero spider species, but gave Laurel a chance to tap 100 pine cones, giving more data for that project. And yet more Synageles — one year after first finding it, it's already getting common!
Investigating the forested hills, we found nothing accessible along Reese Hill Road, so we tried farther south on South Pass Road, and quickly found an overgrown, unmarked side trail that took us down to a perfectly good riparian forest habitat on Breckenridge Creek, hooray! Of course my first order of business was to find some nice-looking maple litter and sift it. Very, very few spiders to be found! But it did add 4 good species. Laurel found the moss here unexpectedly dry but it did add 6 more species. Both Jerry and I swept understory (he grass, me ferns) which yielded 8 species; then we both tapped dead wood for a total of exactly 1 identifiable specimen! Spruce cones, aerial webs, and grass by the highway each added one more species for a total of 41, a good result from a beautiful pleasant day.
5 V 2019: Now it was May and we hadn't been to eastern Washington yet. So, choosing a day when west side weather might be iffy, we crossed the pass and collected around the small town of Kittitas. First and best, we worked on a strip of public land where Cooke Creek crosses the regional rail-trail at the south edge of town. I swept riparian grass near the creek for 8 species, while Laurel swept along the trail getting 4 that were different and 3 the same. Most importantly, she swept a small wolf spider (only adult wolf spider taken) that turned out to be Pardosa wasatchensis, our first specimen ever of this rarity! Also at this site, I added 4 species from willow litter; the gate, a Russian olive tree and some pine foliage added one each. Just to the south, Laurel had spotted some pine trees (a non-native species) at a sewage treatment plant; the pine cones there produced 6 species (3 new for the site including uncommon Tibellus gertschi). Finally, the new habitat discovered last week, bull thistle heads, was tried producing only 2 species, but one was the extremely rare, tiny jumping spider Talavera minuta!
Our second site in Kittitas looked very nice from the air, Palmiero Park, but it turned out to be mostly mowed grass and the wooded part was extremely narrow. Still, I added 2 species from cottonwood litter and Laurel, 2 more from pine foliage. In all, 27 species at Kittitas, making 29 with two prior house spider records.
We had a couple hours left, and I wanted to get a start on sampling the area directly south: Badger Pocket, a place I'd seen on maps for decades but never visited. It's a valley of farmland within a loop of irrigation canal, with forbidden Army land on the other side, and nothing public but the county road rights-of-way; a nice challenge to get a sample! We started at the south, most distant edge of the valley on Silica Road, where we found a nice roadside stand of sagebrush to beat. The spot was extraordinarily peaceful, with no traffic to speak of and just a gentle breeze. The sagebrush got me only 3 species (others were present, but juvenile) while Laurel added 7 more from sweeping along the non-Army side of the canal. I found nothing under the few rocks, and a second sweep site a half mile north added nothing new. But on our way out, we stopped at a roadside row of planted Ponderosa pines where tapping the cones added 4 more species and I added one additional Dictyna from plant-head webs. Fifteen, a nice start for the area, and a lovely, not-too-hot day to do it in. We barely made it to Mountain High Hamburgers before it closed.
12 V 2019: For a change, we went south this week on a relatively short trip to a "hole" in my collection coverage in rural Pierce County. The primary site was Alder Cemetery, on a sort of peninsula in the middle of large Alder Reservoir on the Nisqually River. Pleasantly remote but easily reached, the site is on a one-lane rural road that had perhaps 2 vehicles per hour. You couldn't exactly call it peaceful, because the farm right across the road rejoiced in a gaggle of peafowl that were relentlessly noisy! But apart from the avian cries, all we heard was occasional motorboats. While Laurel hunted some cones to tap, I beat 10 species from conifer foliage, quite a nice start. In contrast, Laurel found few spiders and only one additional species on 100 Douglas-fir cones. On the lake shore, reached through a fringe of woods beyond the cemetery fence, I found several accumulations of driftwood that had enough spiders under it to keep me looking for some time, though in the end only two species added to the list. Laurel was now sifting moss which, though rather sparse, added 7 species, while the leaf litter I found behind shaded drift logs above the lake added 8. By this time the tall grass (some along the road, some along the lake and some — with stealth nettles — at the cemetery edge) was dry enough to sweep, adding 6 species; understory added 3 more. Laurel and I found 4 varied species active on the ground, including uncommon, attractive gnaphosid Callilepis pluto. Tombstones and flowering shrubs added nothing new, but Laurel found the 40th species under a rock by the lake.
On our way back to the highway, we stopped by a more lush-looking riparian forest on Lillie Dale Road. Here, further moss-sifting added 5 more species, while I found abundant Tibellus and Pardosa metlakatla in an adjacent small meadow, making 47 for the area, a splendid sample! On the way in, Laurel's sharp eyes had noted a fine accumulation of pine cones in front of an apartment building in Eatonville, which we stopped to sample on our way home. This completely made up for the poor earlier fir-cone sample; 100 cones had 8 identifiable species, including some unusual records and adding 7 to the 26 species previously known from that gridspace. A good day!
18 V 2019: Around 3 miles east of Kittitas, where we collected on May 5, the old time railroad men dubbed a siding "East Kittitas" hoping it would become another successful town. Now the railroad itself is gone, turned to a trail, and at East Kittitas (besides the trailhead) is one house and a hay barn grandiosely called a trading post. But it made a fine spider locality! Right off, Laurel and I swept 8 species from adjacent grassy fields including a mature Thanatus and a good set of Metepeira foxi. I then beat 5 additional species from sagebrush while Laurel added 6 more from the walls of the hay barn (excuse me, trading post), including another female of the rare wolf spider Pardosa wasatchensis she'd taken at Kittitas. Next, we hiked a half mile up the trail (shared by a friendly couple with horses and dogs) to a rock cut where we could access an old shale quarry. Here we got 5 species under rocks (Laurel catching the prize, Phrurotimpus parallelus) and another orbweaver, Metellina mimetoides. 25 species already!
Next stop was a roadside irrigation canal where there were some pine trees, but alas, the cones if any were inaccessible. However, I swept 3 more species beside the water. To finish off the East Kittitas sample, we crossed the freeway to Boylston Road where my hopes of an accessible willow grove were fulfilled. Sifting the litter added 4 good species, while Laurel added some others from the bridge over Parke Creek and a little more sweeping. Zero to 35 species in 2/3 of one field day!
Our last goal was to supplement the earlier partial sample from Badger Pocket to the south. I'd selected 3 roadside sites that I hoped would have different habitats. First site, at Nicolai Road, gave us plenty to sweep where a canal runs along the road with no man's land in between. While several horses studied us with keen interest, we swept 11 species of which 4 were new to Badger Pocket. Next stop, along Morrison Road, gave us a nice triangle of unclaimed land between a county road and a canal, containing a big pile of concrete rubble and an elm tree with litter under it! The under-concrete fauna added nothing new, but Laurel found a Dictyna terranea between 2 plastic flowerpots there. Sifting elm litter added 2 species while Laurel got one orbweaver on the canal bridge, one wolf spider under a rock, plus Linyphantes aeronauticus and one unknown male by sweeping. The third pre-selected site didn't pan out. On the way out, we stopped off at Laurel's pine cone site (WPA Road) from last time, where I beat pine foliage adding the pale jumping spider Phanias watonus. 27 species from nothing but county-road roadsides! Insert imaginary cartoon of us patting ourselves on the back.
24 V 2019: Trying to coordinate 4 people and a vascillating weather forecast for a field trip is something I wouldn't want to try every week. But on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, 3 of us (me, Jerry Austin and Della Scott) headed north for a site predicted to be "partly sunny," Swantown Lake on the NW coast of Whidbey Island. It was raining in Seattle and Everett and Arlington — but dry by Mount Vernon. However, after we crossed the Deception Pass Bridge things looked dismally wet. Almost there, we soldiered on, and arriving at our destination things still looked iffy but at least not soaked. We had lunch in a picnic shelter at nearby Joseph Whidbey State Park, then I set out to collect from the vast marsh and meadow on the north side of Swantown Lake county habitat preserve. I had hoped for some marshland rarities here, but the best-laid plans… The road-edge vine thickets prevented access at most points, and at the few places I could get through that, cattail stands were too dense to penetrate and too stiff to sweep! But I got a sweep sample anyway by sweeping beside the road and in a small but accessible field at the north end, getting at least 7 species plus a Pardosa moesta active in the field. Sifting grass/leaf litter under a large shrub that shaded out the vines added 3, plus a juvenile Ozyptila crab spider. Across the road, I searched in vain for Salticus on the beach house fences, but found some pine cones and tapped 15, adding 2 species, one of them uncommon Erigone cristatopalpus. Meanwhile, Jerry was doing miserably and added only one species, a Zelotes fratris under driftwood. The last specimen from this site was a male Ozyptila praticola, far out of range, in short-term pitfalls (Laurel says "Noooo!").
Our second site was the edge of a Douglas-fir stand along the Crosby Road right-of-way. I beat 15 species from the fir foliage! Some of them duplicated the sweep sample, but it still added quite a few, including uncommon Theridion agrifoliae. Jerry got one more sweeping the roadside. Finally we stopped at a further bend in Crosby Road where I gathered in a couple of bags of alder litter within the right-of-way, sifting it with Della's help and adding 6 more species including uncommon Blabomma californicum. Total, 33 species including some fine records, and the last unsampled area on Whidbey Island taken care of!
30 V 2019: Having persuaded Laurel to take another trip southward, we headed for Grays Harbor County west of Olympia, where I had a promising trip plan on private timberland west of McCleary, and a backup plan farther south near Porter. We started following my printed directions from McCleary and quickly got confused. A couple of helpful chaps in a lumberyard we turned into by accident, confused me even further. It turns out my printout had omitted 2-3 important steps! In driving around the area, we went right by the road to our site but with no sign, it went unrecognized. Giving up for that day, we headed south to Plan B.
The meadows on Porter Creek were very easy to find, but not as extensive as they looked from the air. Large areas, it turns out, were either overgrown with blackberry or low, young alder trees. However, one fair-sized grassy tract was readily accessible; sweeping that plus the grassy roadsides yielded at least 9 species, and Pardosa vancouveri were still active though elusive. Laurel sifted a few loads of moss from adjacent maple stands, but it wasn't as productive as she thought, producing only 3 mature species that I hadn't already swept. The spiders in maple litter were sparse but good and added 5, including a Bathyphantes I don't recognize. The fern understory at the site was very productive; both of us sampled different areas and added 9 more species, including the native Ozyptila pacifica (mine) and a nice male Trogloneta (Laurel's). I found Laurel some Douglas-fir cones, but they produced very little. Still, we already had 29 species.
Just up the hill at the edge of a clearcut, I beat hemlock foliage adding 2 species, and found others in aerial webs and on salal, including a male Philodromus of unclear identity. Laurel swept 4 more we hadn't got at the meadow and found a second Pardosa species running about. Despite time wasted looking for the elusive first site, we had 36 species from the Porter Creek area. On the way home, we stopped at a pine cone deposit Laurel had spotted in McCleary in front of the Simpson Door Co. (non-native black pines), where 55 cones added 3 species to the catch from a 2007 trip in that area.
2 VI 2019: With Laurel under the weather, I wanted to initiate a potential new field volunteer, UW student Kiara Milcoff, who proved very interested and very "game" even though she's had little prior experience in remote field locations. Kiara's schedule required a somewhat late start but I figured, it's June, the days are long! Giving her a choice of several possible destinations, she decided on venturing into the mountains, up the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River beyond the area sampled with Laurel last fall. We reached the right road without a hitch, but no sooner had we crossed the Taylor River bridge but the road got much rougher. After maybe a mile of rough rocky road, Kiara understandably didn't want to subject her Prius to more, so we got out and walked. Just about 2.5 miles later (and past some even more dreadful sections of road), we were in the area I wanted to sample, but unable to cruise around, we had to content ourselves with a limited selection of habitats. Still, the habitats we could reach were OK!
A quick sweep of roadside verge got me 6 species, a good start! Next we spent some time beating fern-salmonberry understory, bringing us up to 12 species. Kiara spotted one wolf spider in the road but missed it (a common experience), but did get a male microspider Zygottus corvallis she found active on roadside mud. After sifting a couple bags of tree trunk moss, we were already up to 18 species.
All this time (and throughout the day) there was an intermittent stream of vehicles, mostly jeeps and trucks, jouncing back and forth on this remote, bad road to a destination we couldn't really fathom. Only one stopped and asked what we were doing: "Spiders? Freaky!" But on the plus side, the salmonberries were getting ripe. Kiara had never before eaten a wild berry or fruit — I converted her in a big way! Anyway, as the day wore on I hungered for a good leaf litter sample (to sift, not eat), and to get that, we backtracked to a pure stand of bigleaf maple. Here we sifted 2 bags of good litter that added 7 more species; one more bag of somewhat different moss added 2 more. End result, 27 species from the place we had to walk to, and really from only 4 habitats that we could reach. Can't complain!
9 VI 2019: After a predicted wet week (that in reality wasn't very wet), Laurel was back in action and wanted to fill in a hole in her crab spider study up near the Canadian border, between the towns of Lynden and Blaine. There wasn't much terrain accessible to collectors there, but I cobbled together a three-site trip plan that hit all the necessary habitats. Our first stop was a public water access site on the Nooksack River at Harksell Road. As we feared, the site (a narrow strip between the river and farm fields) was heavily invaded by blackberry, but unexpectedly also had a major stand of invasive giant knotweed! However, disturbed field habitat to sweep was not in short supply and I began by sweeping it. Instead of the usual Tetragnatha, Tibellus, etc., I mainly got a lot of microspiders. I couldn't tell at the time if most of them were mature, but I got lucky in that respect: my sweeping yielded 9 species, including three of our local Erigone species! Wolf spiders were in very short supply, but after one got away I managed to catch a very nice Pardosa xerampelina. Laurel found very little moss to sift, but it still added 4 species, plus one measly juvenile Ozyptila (what she came for). I sifted litter while Laurel beat blackberry and we came away from this unpromising site with a nice start of 19 species.
Next stop, a road crossing of Bertrand Creek that had some woodland along one side of the road, also some nice riparian marsh grass along the creek. Here, Laurel hoped to find better Ozyptila in the tree trunk moss. Instead, she got none! But her sifting did add another 4 species. I had hopes for the understory but found its spiders to be mainly those ubiquitous invasives, Enoplognatha ovata and Philodromus dispar. The best spiders here were 3 adult male Tetragnatha elongata swept along the creek. We got a few from the bridge and road railings, and maple litter was fairly productive. After this site we had a solid sample of 33 species.
The third pre-selected site was just below the international border on H Street Road, where I'd found some conifer foliage habitat on Street View. This added 4 species, and a large grassy field gave us some more conventional field fauna, plus the ever-reliable record of Theridion simile from Scots broom. Here we took Erigone aletris, 4th species in that genus for the day, making an excellent sample of 41 in all. And this time the Border Patrol didn't stop us.
15 VI 2019: Ready to start collecting in the hills, Laurel and I headed for the Grider Lakes trailhead, a long drive on decent back roads from Sultan, to road's end just south of Spada Reservoir, the main drinking water source for Snohomish County. The forest in this area is all second growth, but very beautiful at this verdant season. We hiked eastward on the trail, not climbing much in this first half but not exactly level as it descended into gully after gully after gully, where culverts had been dug up in converting an old logging road to trail. Some of the gullies were dry but others carried water to the reservoir, destined for the faucets of Everett. The final gully to cross was Bear Creek, with no bridge across the route's biggest creek but rocks to hop across on (something I'm not too good at). But we made it to our destination, the Bear Creek recreation site on a rocky knob overlooking the reservoir, miles of water in both directions with no sign of a boat or a building.
The rocky habitat made for open glades with flowers (not all native, alas), grass and small trees, just right for vegetation sampling. No invasive blackberry (hooray), but both salmonberries and huckleberries were yummy. My sweep sample got me only 3 adult species, but conifers had 7 more including microspiders. All native except the ubiquitous invasive Enoplognatha ovata. Each of us found one male of the uncommon "Popeye spider" Habronattus oregonensis, best species of the day. Laurel also found a male and female Phidippus johnsonii, the female with orbweaver prey. She didn't get much from Douglas-fir cones; salal and other shrubs added only one. But I found some good understory foliage that added 4, Laurel added 3 from moss-sifting, and I got 2 more from dead wood. We now had 26 species.
At this point we decided to descend into an alder-filled ravine and make our way to the invitingly grassy lakeshore. Maybe we would have better stayed near the trail! The ravine bottom was so choked with salmonberry and small logs it was like a Jungle-gym for dwarves. Drift logs formed another barrier before we could walk free beside the lake. Finally we were able to sweep that lovely grass, getting spiders that looked great at first glance, but added not one species to what we'd taken near the trail! Laurel did find one nice Pirata piraticus wolf spider on a water-edge twig. Next, back to the riparian alder forest to sift. All that moss on the trunks — giving Laurel only 2 more species! All that litter on the ground and banked behind logs — giving me only 1 more species! Then, it was my bright idea to take a short cut to the trail up the steep ravine side. Oh well, at least it wasn't much worse than the trip down. Panting, we staggered back along the up-and-down trail to the car with 31 species. Anyway, it was worth it just to spend the day in such delightful surroundings.
21 VI 2019: The weather forecast for the first day of summer vascillated good and bad for days, but a final check that morning was favorable for our preferred destination, the Napeequa River area (a second order tributary of Lake Wenatchee). Gloomy clouds shaded our journey over Stevens Pass, but began clearing up just as we entered the Wenatchee River drainage. We soon arrived at Napeequa Crossing campground (just a few sites in a strip between the road and White River), and parked at the trailhead across the road. The camp outhouses gave us 2 mature species, a good start. The trail goes along a slope above the Napeequa River and its tributary Twin Lakes Creek before ascending steeply to Twin Lakes, high on Chiwawa Ridge. Our goal was not the lakes, but a marsh near where the creek joins the river. But first we stopped at the junction of a side trail to a lookout rock, where we each noted one of our favorite habitats: Ponderosa pine cones for Laurel (they provided her with 5 good species) and a pile of fallen bark from a snag for me — not quite as productive but it got me the best species of the day, rare Theridion berkeleyi. Moving on, we soon noticed that mosquitoes would probably be annoying here. But some fellow hikers we chatted with told us this was mild compared with the clouds of them usually found on this trail!
Anyway, we duly arrived at the marsh. I'd hoped there would be sweepable meadows there, but no such luck! The only grass was in standing water, and after struggling down a log-strewn slope you could only sweep what you could reach from the shore. However, at the upper end there was an area of "shrub meadow" that Laurel was able to sample from the trail, getting 10 species including an unexpected adult female of the large funnel weaver Novalena intermedia. I found some spider-rich conifer foliage, and we left the marsh (which, oddly enough, had a lot fewer mosquitoes than the forest nearby) already with a minimum sample of 21 species. A Cyclosa web spotted along the trail added one more.
Back by the road, I strolled up to where it crosses the Napeequa (just before the latter joins the White River, which flows into Lake Wenatchee, source of the Wenatchee River) in hopes of sifting cottonwood litter. The litter was pretty dry, and 2 bags of it gave me only a few spiders, only one (a Hahnia) mature; and no moss here for Laurel! But I swept several from small roadside fields, while Laurel got more off the bridge, so we ended the day with 28 species, making 29 with a prior record from the other side of the ridge. Well worthwhile, and some pleasing scenery too.
The move to the new museum building is all done, and it's great to be back in the field!