Monte Bello OSP: Arachnid scouting

JO, SW and I scouted on 10/2/2010 for our upcoming night hike. DK joined us.

We started out around 6:10. The temperature was mild. The vinegar weed was blooming. A large raptor that appeared to be a Northern Harrier soared low over the grassland. At the walnut grove, there were remains of a juvenile fence lizard, being eaten by three Western Yellowjackets.

We arrived at the sag pond at 6:30. There were still some Pacific Coast Dampwood termite alates fluttering around. After dinner, we left at 6:53.

The Banded Garden Spider (Argiope trifasciata) found by PB on Canyon Trail a couple of weeks ago was gone, but there was a different individual nearby, plus two Cat-faced Spiders (Araneus gemmoides).

Before it was completely dark, a Great Horned Owl lazily flew from the west to the east, and a bat fluttered by.

Many small Trashline Weavers (Cyclosa) had webs in the woods, mostly low to the ground. These spiders use a stabilimentum as a base for attaching debris (usually prey remains).

There were a lot of very small orb weavers. Another Cat-faced Spider had the beginnings of a web, about five feet up in a tree.

Cat-faced Spider (Araneus gemmoides)

JO found a Cybaeus-looking spider on the dirt part of the trailbank.

The beam of my flashlight revealed two large, round, yellow reflectors–no, they moved! Then there were two more. We stared at them, wondering what they were. JO removed his red filter, and they were just a couple of deer in the woods. I’ll have to remember the red next time I see eyeshine.

Along Indian Creek to the right, we found a smallish Calisoga spider. Near it was a hunting spider.

We were looking for the hidden pond, but I missed the turnoff. DK told us about a pond on the left, which I had not seen before. That was past the other pond, and on the way back we found the one I was actually looking for. There was a Harvestman, and a small tetragnathid, but not enough to warrant the trip down (and back up). We left there to return around 9:15.

Returning on Canyon Trail, we found one small scorpion, a California Forest Scorpion (Uroctonus mordax).

On the Bella Vista Trail sign, a tree cricket sat quietly.

We heard several Great Horned Owls in different places, including the sag pond. Western Screech-owl calls also in different areas entertained us.

The mygalomorph burrow by the sag pond had an occupant, visible after dark.

When we arrived at the lot, there was a group of astronomers and their families.

More photos are here.

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