Thursday, February 12, 2015

9-Oct-2013 Little Spokane Natural Area & Haynes Estate Part 2, Washington

Location of Spokane Co., Wash. collecting sites. Click to enlarge
This day's first destination was the lovely wooded Painted Rocks Trail running parallel to the Little Spokane River just a few miles downstream and west of Haynes Estate where we got rained out the previous evening.

Painted Rocks
The trail starts at the Indian Painted Rocks, which the Spokane Historic Preservation Office describes: "Thought to be around 250 years old, the Indian Painted Rocks are incredibly well preserved pictographs.  The paintings are made of pulverized red rock that was mixed with fish or animal oil.  While the meaning of the Rock Paintings remains unclear, they are a physical reminder of the Spokane people's occupancy and use of the Inland Northwest long before the arrival of non-indigenous people to the area."

Cones at meadow edge
Late blooming meadow flower among cones
The trail gave me access to ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) cones and litter both at the river meadow edge as well as further upland.  But while the cones were numerous, the spiders weren't: just 2 juveniles from 50 cones an skunked again by the meadow edge litter.

Upland site
Green shield bug in cone
The upland cones were no more productive, again producing just 2 juveniles.  However I did collect two specimens of an undescribed Neon (Salticidae) jumping spider from the upland litter.  At both sites, shield bugs were almost as numerous as spiders in the cones.

Bassaniana utahensis under bark scale
While Rod sampled Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) foliage on the hike back to the car, I amused myself by looking under ponderosa pine bark scales and found numerous Bassaniana utahensis (Thomisidae) crab spiders.

With the day being sunny and dry, we decided to head back upstream to Haynes Estate Conservation Area and complete the previous day's rained out sample.  A bag of needle litter collected from the previous day's cone site produced only two spiders, but one appeared to be the same undescribed species of Neon that I found in the upland litter that same morning.

Cones and litter at 2nd Haynes site
Moving on to another grove perched high above the Little Spokane River, I collected 30 spiders from 50 cones.  Most were juvenile Gnaphosa sp. (Gnaphosidae), but I also got a few juvenile Bassaniana utahensis, the same species I found under the pine bark scales earlier in the day.  A bag of litter produced 5 spiders, two of which were juvenile gnaphosids.

You can read Rod's take on the day here and view his albums from the Painted Rocks Trail and Haynes Estate Conservation Area.

Rod sifting cottonwood litter at Haynes Estate Conservation Area

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