Thursday, January 29, 2015

21-Sept-2014 End of Bean Creek Road, Scotts Valley, California

Location of Scotts Valley sample site
A virtual cruise down the main thoroughfares of Scotts Valley via Google Map Street View left me optimistic that I could home in on 20 ponderosa cones in no time. Reality on the ground was another matter.  The modest ponderosa woods along the southeastern side of the intersection of Scotts Valley Dr. and Mt. Hermon Rd. were easily accessible and not posted as private property, yet I found virtually no cones beneath the sizable trees within. Time today was again of the essence since I was only arriving on site in the afternoon and would have the limitation of waning daylight. 

Michael Stipe may have written Stand to be a nonsense bubblegum song, but when I turned a 180 on the disappointing grove and looked up to see this towering lone pine across the street, well, "...think about direction..." started playing on my internal soundtrack.  Loads of open cones on a thin layer of needles dotted the ground beneath this beautiful giant. Jackpot!

Today's cone source
Urban cones
Processing the cones in Felton’s Skypark, I was entertained by the several peewee soccer games underway (“The goal is that way!”) and a first birthday party being held for a boy who seemed to have one too many drunk uncles.  With all this going on I was lucky to find an open picnic table.

I collected 13 spiders from 20 cones, all via the tapping method.  As with the previous sample, which was from an urban section of neighboring Felton, Oecobius sp. juveniles were the most numerous spider present in the Scotts Valley sample.  I also collected a pair of Drassodes neglectus, a juvenile ant mimic (Micaria sp.) and an assortment of other juveniles.  Not bad for what otherwise looked like a barren, lifeless patch of urban dirt.  And I completed my work before dark.

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