Wednesday, May 20, 2015

1-Jul-2009 Upper Rock Rabbit Lake, Washington

Site location (click to enlarge)
Driving eastward over Snoqualmie Pass, my attention used to drift towards Keechelus Lake, the source of the Yakima River.  I never gave much thought to the wall of rock on the other side of the road, beyond hoping that it stayed in place while we drove beneath it.  But now that I know that the Rock Rabbit Lakes lie above that rampart, I tip my hat to it when driving by while the adage "All it takes is a few good cones" runs through my mind.

Upper Rock Rabbit Lake
We had to do some hot, buggy uphill hiking and trans-alder bushwhacking to get to the upper lake, as Rod described in his trip write-up.  But once there, wow, what a lovely site.

As Rod set to work sifting alder litter, I began exploring the rim of the lake to the calls of the lake's namesakes, pikas (a.k.a. "rock rabbits") coming from the boulder field above.

White pine cone at base of parent tree
I was delighted to discover a sizable western white pine (Pinus monticola) tree growing on a forested prominence above the lake.  There was just that one tree, and below it only about half a dozen fallen cones, but I eagerly tapped them anyway.  And to good effect!  From those few cones I collected 5 spiders and 4 species.  None of them were particularly noteworthy (3 linyphiids and 1 agelenid), but they were species we didn't collect in any other microhabitat that day and so were a meaningful contribution to the site's species list.  All it takes is a few good cones!

The flower crab spider Misumena vatia with prey (a bee) in a trillium

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