Journal archives for April 2016

April 20, 2016

Belated Birthday Hike (Spring Garden and Brunet Park)

Usually my hikes out into the field are rather brief. Most often, my hikes are fit into short time slots, such as a lunch hour. However, for my birthday in March, the plan was to take an extended hike. The weather was up and down near the end of March and during early April. And so the hike was delayed until April 16th. The date I chose turned out to be fantastic, the weather was gorgeous--warm and sunny, with beautiful clear blue skies. I decided to hit the Spring Garden area in Windsor, Ontario first and then, around lunch time, move on to Brunet Park. These two areas are great because they do not involve a lot of driving (they are 5 or so minutes apart) and are exceptionally diverse in their wildlife. Spring Garden is a place I've only begun to explore this year and Brunet Park is a "long time" nature stomping ground of mine, though it's been a LONG time since I spent any considerable time there.

I arrived at Spring Garden at approximately 9AM, it was just under 50F. I stayed there until about 11:30AM or so. Some of the highlights include: a fleeting glance at the endangered Butler's Garter Snake (a lifer), a sustained glance at a soaring Red-tailed Hawk, a couple of substantial photo sessions with Eastern Garter Snakes, a Lesser Yellow Underwing caterpillar, a decent array of various arthropods, and the discovery of a large (~1 foot?) leech. Around 11:30 I was starting to get tired and hungry, and so I decided to leave Spring Garden, have lunch, and head over to Brunet Park.

Due to a camera/battery issue, my SLR was out of commission for most of the Brunet Park. Thankfully, though, I did have a backup option in the form of my old camera! It was starting to get really warm, by the time I left Brunet Park at around 3PM it was over 70F! I looked for snakes and other creatures. Apart from the results of my "beat sheet" activities, which I will cover next, the highlights of my time at Brunet Park include an elusive Brown Creeper bird (lifer), a mating ball of Eastern Garter Snakes, an extremely young Eastern Garter Snake, an Eastern Comma, and a bunch of Six-Spotted Tiger Beetles.

I decided I would give a "beat sheet" a try for the very first time to see what arthropods I could find in the vegetation. This took up a decent amount of my time at Brunet. My "beat sheet" was basically a garden sieve with a cut white pillow case over the concave part of it, giving a cavity for the creatures to drop into for observation. I struck a variety of plants such as goldenrods, rose bushes, trees, various long grasses, and many other plants I couldn't ID. I would take the handle of my net and strike the vegetation and see what drops on the white sheet.

My first experiment with a "beat sheet" was fascinating for me. What a hidden world it uncovers! I recorded 10 sightings connected to the "beat sheet", including the following: 1 Asian Lady Beetle, 1 American Dog Tick (they do not carry lyme disease), a couple of Bronze Jumpers (Eris militaris), 1 unidentified jumping spider, a Tuft-legged Orbweaver (which I also observed at Spring Garden), two Hemiptera (Nabis roseipennis and Kleidocerys resedae), 2 Tetragnathidae, and a Click Beetle (Elateridae). It's still pretty early in the season and I am sure if I came back in a couple months, there would be much more impressive results!

I found two snake species, though there are two other species (Eastern Fox Snake and Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake) which are present at Spring Garden and Brunet but were sadly not found. My disappointment is minimal, because it is still quiet early in the season--it is likely that the Fox Snakes have only been out of hibernation a week or two at best. In terms of the spiders which have been identifiable so far, there are four families (Araneidae, Salticidae, Tetragnathidae, and Theridiidae) and three genus (Mangora, Eris, and Enoplognatha) were represented.

It was a wonderful trip and I am very thankful that I was able to enjoy these two excellent locations for such an extended period of time. It was also tiring, and it was nice to sit down after this extended hike! All in all, between the two locations, I recorded 54 observations of 28 distinct species, 10 of them lifers (new to me). If these numbers change substantially as more IDs are confirmed, I will followup this post with an update.

Posted on April 20, 2016 16:29 by marknenadov marknenadov | 54 observations | 1 comments | Leave a comment

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