Friday, January 30, 2015

18-Nov-2014 Quail Hollow Ranch, Felton, California

"The office"
Collecting solo today with an eye towards Zayante Road, I headed up to Quail Hollow Ranch County Park and quickly found plenty of fallen ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) cones on a trail along the forest edge, just south of the horse stables.  The nearby picnic table that I processed the cones on was situated next to a tiny, coot-inhabited pond.  And it didn’t rain more than a few drops.  Can't get any better than that!

Cone processing went smoothly, the only interruptions being a park official who fired up a front-end loader just to drive 20 yards over to me to tell me to move my car; a friendly couple with a tiny threadbare dog; and a jogger who was enthused to meet another arachnophile and recommended I check out the woodpile behind the outhouse if I wanted to find some “Zayante tarantulas” or black widows.  He also kindly alerted me to the presence of a doe and two yearlings nearby.
...some cones on grass.
Some cones on sand...

It wasn’t until I was leaving with my haul of 12 pine cone spiders
(a whopping four of which I collected using the peel method) that I learned that I should have had a permit to collect in this park.  Oops.  Well, at least I had been careful to stay out of the designated sensitive area.

The day's catch was mostly comprised of juvenile salticids and gnaphosids, including several Micaria sp. ant mimics.  But unlike my other Santa Cruz Co. sites to date, which had been teeming with Oecobius sp., I only collected one here.

...had fuzzy palps.
This red and black juvenile salticid...

On the way home I decided to make use of the remaining daylight to cruise the area for potential future collecting sites.  A ponderosa pine-rimmed public baseball diamond snuggled up against a pine woods along Graham Hill Road seemed like the most promising next spot.  Next to that was a gated Quarry Road, which seemed to have potential.  I also followed Whispering Pines Drive through suburban Felton and was pleasantly surprised to find that there were indeed ponderosa pines on that street.  People of the pine-free Pine Flat Road in Bonny Doon, take note!  Sadly, as is the rule in human-dominated landscapes, local landowners had removed virtually every fallen cone, even from the roadway.
An actual pine at the intersection of Whispering Pines and Pinecone streets.

No comments:

Post a Comment