Monday, February 9, 2015

5-Oct-2013 Bear Mountain, Washington

By the time mid-2013 rolled around, I was itching to sample more ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) cones and spiders.  This was due to a move a few years prior to Massachusetts, a state covered in beautiful eastern white pine (P. strobus), but 1,500 miles from the nearest ponderosa.

Rod enthusiastically agreed to my suggestion that we make a joint week-long collecting trip in Washington since he'd recently had trouble lining up reliable field volunteers.  We settled on early October in eastern Washington, hoping to escape the autumn rains of western Washington while at the same time visiting a part of the state that Rod had had relatively little opportunity to collect in.  And of course, there'd be ponderosa pines for me.  Rod did the yeoman's work of researching the potential collecting sites.

Morning view from my room at Mom's Montlake Motel in Chelan, WA.
Greeting me on the morning of our first collecting day was a covey of California quail backlit by sunshine on ponderosa-dotted hills.  And I hadn't even left the hotel yet!  Along the road to our first collecting site on the summit of Bear Mountain I also passed a small herd of mule deer.  It all seemed to bode well for a fine day ahead.

View of Lake Chelan from Bear Mtn
Ponderosa cones before sampling
The summit of Bear Mountain included glorious views of Lake Chelan, a microwave tower, and ... cones!  Lots of ponderosa cones!  Tapping 50 cones and a bag (~9 L) of associated litter from each of two sites, I collected six species total, including my old "pine cone spider" friend Euryopis formosa (Theridiidae).  Interestingly, it was the only species that I found (on that day) in both the fallen cone and needle litter microhabitats.

For Rod's take on the day, check out his narrative and photo album.

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