Friday, May 6, 2016

2-May-2016 Seabeck, Washington

Site location. Click to enlarge.
Expecting the day to be unseasonably hot (upper 80s), Rod Crawford and I decided to head for the Kitsap County coast. Specifically, Nick's Lagoon, located at the head of Seabeck Bay, and then to the nearby Seabeck Cemetery.  These sites were about 8 miles northwest of Square Lake where we sampled back in February.

View of Nick's Lagoon from
picnic shelter, complete with
a Calymmaria emertoni
in her web
Phanias albeolus female from ferns
Before starting my cone tapping at Nick's Lagoon, I spent some enjoyable time hiking the trail and collecting spiders from a picnic shelter, and then from sword ferns (Polystictum munitum) in the forest understory.  Calymmaria emertoni (Hahniidae) were abundant on the underside edge of the picnic shelter's roof.  This Phanias albeolus (Salticidae) was one of the more photogenic spiders I found in the ferns.

Bombus vosnesenskii
Just a few steps down the trail from our parking place I spotted a yellow-faced bumblebee (Bombus vosnesenskii) digging into the forest floor.  Presumably this was a queen looking for a subterranean spot in which to establish her colony.  I also noticed several great blue herons (Ardea herodias) hanging out on the sandy spit that creates the lagoon, and I watched a raccoon (Procyon lotor) use a system of fallen trees and branches to cross a beaver pond.  Lots going on at Nick's Lagoon!

Rod in front of three Douglas-firs at
A fallen Doug-fir cone at Nick's Lagoon
Eventually I got around to tapping fallen Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) cones I found near the trailhead.  I tapped 50 cones and what fell out but 14 tiny juvenile harvestmen!  There were 5 spiders in those cones too, but the only identifiable one was a female Tenuiphantes zelatus (Linyphiidae).

Paths through lush salal lead to graves
Spotted coralroot (Corallorhiza
) in cemetery
Seabeck Cemetery was among the most attractive cemeteries I've had the pleasure of collecting spiders in.  This was due to the fact that instead of being one huge, boring lawn, as most are, this cemetery was blanketed in native herbs and shrubs.  So much beautiful salal!  Some people might see this as unkempt, but I found it refreshing and vibrant, a true tribute to the lives of those buried there.

Douglas-fir cone site, Seabeck Cemetery
Also a treat in this cemetery was the presence of both Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and western white pine (Pinus monticola) trees.  Open Douglas-fir cones were available in such profusion that I could have tapped hundreds if I'd had a mind to.  But I tapped the more-or-less standard 55 and collected 6 spiders from 5 different families, and 6 tiny harvestmen.  The only identifiable spider was a male Philodromus dispar (Philodromidae).

White pine cone site,
Seabeck Cemetery
Pine cone nestled in a bed of salal
Unfortunately I could only find 9 fallen pine cones to tap, but that small number produced 5 spiders and 3 harvestmen.  Most of the spiders were Phrurotimpus borealis (Phrurolithidae).  Though tiny, the bronze iridescence of their abdominal dorsa was visible to the naked eye.  Quite stunning in the sunshine!

Be sure to read Rod's trip narrative here!

Wild strawberry (Fragaria sp.) and a Douglas-fir cone

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