Friday, January 30, 2015

3-Nov-2014 East Whitlock Road, Mariposa, California

Today's cone source
I now have a field buddy!  Niece Clothilde Labrousse took an interest in my pine cone spiders project and was excited to get a toe into the Sierras, so we set off together to collect a sample in Mariposa.

Our first stop was in the town's eponymous park, Mariposa Park.  There we were happy to scope out some covered picnic tables and basic facilities, but found no open cones under the park’s ponderosas, even those in the untended woods above the park.  Just a few miles further into the Sierras, however, we found a serviceable clump of trees in a privately-owned field that had conveniently dropped cones on the public side of the fence.

The scales of many of the cones were rather poorly opened, and the cones were damp due to recent rain, but the microhabitat is what it is.

Cones on dried grass, pine needles and oak leaves
Back at Mariposa Park, we could hear truants riding skateboards in the nearby skatepark as we set to work processing the cones.  The day turned out to be colder and breezier than predicted, and I hadn’t dressed warmly enough, so rather pathetically we called it a day after processing only 10 cones.  Spider haul for the day: one juvenile gnaphosid, from a peeled cone.

We sprinkled the remainder of the cones at the base of a nearby ponderosa (groundskeepers had been overenthusiastic here, too), and headed home.  We’d only completed a half sample, but the company, the conversation and the scenery made for an enjoyable day.

No comments:

Post a Comment