Tag Archive | Weekend Expedition

Weekend Expedition 52: Return to the exit ramp

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Last week, Catherine Scott, Sam Evans and I returned to the Annacis Island exit ramp to see the amazing array of salticids in all their glory. A rather odd place for a Weekend Expedition, but we found there is abundant life to be found in a noisy, chaotic industrial zone roadway.

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Believe it or not, a concrete barrier provides great habitat for spiders! All the cracks, gaps and holes are good for retreats, and the busy roadway provides an endless source of maimed and stunned insects to serve as prey.

 

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Most of the jumpers we found were smaller sized, but there were a few larger Phidippus as well.

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This Phidippus female looks especially pretty on her drab background.

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One of the most common spiders was Salticus scenicus, the introduced Zebra Jumper.

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Here a Salticus scenicus female munches on a maimed moth.

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Other arthropods are to be found on the concrete as well, such as ground beetles, ants and honeybees.

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We found this crab spider in the rock fill of the bridge. It has a colouration reminiscent of Evarcha jumping spiders.

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I am not sure who this cutie is, but she kept raising her palps up in a really endearing way.

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Here is an Evarcha showing off some stunning eyes.

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I did manage to find another male Habronattus decorus!

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Their colouration is remarkable, but it is hard to convey in a photo!

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Catherine and Sam found a couple male Habronattus ophrys males! We had no idea these beauties were to be found here; we had found them previously at Iona Beach.

 

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Behold the awesome eyebrows and palps!

 

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We stopped for some emergency calories at a local organic eating establishment McDonald’s and found this interesting contraption, well guarded by a furious chihuahua!

 

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Feel the fury!

Weekend Expedition 40: special edition! Seals underwater!

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I thought it prudent to get a small video camera to document upcoming fieldwork, so that I can provide PR materials for granting agencies. For this purpose, I got a GoPro, a small “action cam” which has a watertight housing and super wide lens. To put it through its paces, Jeff, my brother and I took it down to Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria for a close up look at the Harbour Seals. The following is the result.

Not bad eh? Given decent lighting, it does fine video. The still images from it in poor lighting are pretty noisy though, and it probably be best not to rely on it for still shots in the evening:

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Nonetheless, it does have a certain gloomy charm.

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With the SLR from the surface though, the seal image quality is much better.

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The gulls were also looking fine against the reflection of the sky.

 

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So the verdict. Seals and GoPros: a good combo!

 

Weekend Expedition 35: A short trip to Lynn Canyon

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This Weekend Expedition was a bit rushed, as things were both busy and tiring for me, with the Spooktacular on Saturday, followed by a 5 h bout of Barn Owl tracking all night on Saturday-Sunday. As I slept in til nearly noon, and had a vehicle, I took Catherine out to Lynn Canyon, in her fabled homeland of North Vancouver.  The place was absolutely crawling with people, as are most natural areas on the North Shore are on nice weekend days. A major infestation! For this reason, Catherine and I stuck to the woods high above the river.

 

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Although it was a nice dry, sunny day, the understory was still quite wet and teeming with fungal life,

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Fungi, such as this Ramaria added colour to the forest floor.

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Even the crevices we examined for spiders seemed to be full of fungus.

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Most of the spiders we found were small Linyphiids or Araneids, but we did encounters some larger Amaurobiids, such as this pretty one. I really love the silky look of their abdomens.

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We even found a Jumping Bristletail on an old cedar trunk.

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We say several large slugs, but not much else in the way of arthropods except for some stray, sunning Leptoglossus and fungus gnats.

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Despite the crowds, getting out to the woods was good for us, as recently life has felt rather hectic.

 

Weekend Expedition 30: A day off in Stanley Park

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A picture of me, with a sizable prey item, trying to hold it together!

It has been a busy couple weeks here in Vancouver, preparing manuscript revisions for an upcoming paper and writing grant proposals for upcoming fieldwork. They way it is looking now, I may soon be travelling to Honduras in the fall for a 3 week expedition to survey for Red-throated Caracaras and Scarlet Macaws in a remote region of Olancho. This trip will also be to familiarize myself with the terrain, meet the local conservationists and researchers, and get rolling on some permitting issues pertaining to future fieldwork. This is an exciting development for species and habitat conservation, as well as for my harebrained scheme to continue research on my favourite loud birds!

Anyway, with all the excitement, it has been tough to find time to go out to shoot, but that is exactly what I did yesterday, hanging out in Stanley Park, and seeing what the late summer had to offer.

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At first, I thought this fly was a member of the Orthorrhapha, the group including horseflies, but Morgan Jackson of Biodiversity in Focus correctly ID’ed it as a Tachinid! Don’t believe me? Check out the closeup of the antennae! The species is Euthera setifacies, one of only two species of Euthera in North America.

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That’s a Cyclorhaphan, man! Those antennae are aristate!

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The Himalayan Blackberry is still being visited by pollinators, but the vast majority of the fruit is ripe.

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The ripe blackberry is under heavy attack by Drosophila suzukii, an invasive species of vinegar fly from Japan. This is male shows why  the species goes by the common name “Spotted-winged Drosophila”.

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This male Common Aerial Yellowjacket (Dolichovespula arenaria) is also a harbinger of fall. Their colony cycle is almost finished, reproductives are being produced, and within a month or so their nests will decline.

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When the Bald-faced Hornets (Dolichovespula maculata) start nectaring, it is also an indication their colonies are in decline. Because much of the sugar for the adults is produced by the larvae (trophallaxis!), when larval numbers are low, adults must find other sources of fuel.

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A Sierra Dome Spider, Neriene litigiosa (Linyphiidae) has a snack at the top of her dome web. As fall approaches, these become extremely apparent in almost every salal bush.

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Our largest native slug, the Spotted Banana Slug eats some skunk cabbage.

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The termites are flying, and their long wings and slow flight make for easy snares for web-building spiders. I like how the green of the fern is reflected in the translucent wings.

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A Pacific Forktail (Ischnura cervula) hangs out by the water.

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A Black Dancer (Mystacides sepulchralis) a type of Caddisfly, rests near Lost Lagoon.

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Some kind of Nematus sawfly.

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A raccoon checks out the situation before crossing the water.

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I love how they hold their tails out!

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Those without tails make do.

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A very late brood Mallard Duckling from water level.

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I was excited to see this male Pine White nectaring.

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The omnipresent Woodland Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanoides).

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Skippers can be pretty cute!

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A lucky Goldenrod Crab Spider (Misumena vatia) takes advantage of the skipper abundance.

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An introduced Drumming Katydid female (Meconema thalassinum) hangs out on a fern. Check out Piotr Naskrecki’s awesome blog post showing katydids ovipositing!

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A colourful background makes this bumblebee pop!

Weekend Expedition 29: life isn’t all slo’ mo’

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Well, we have been working hard for 9 days with the Photron SA-5, and this weekend was mostly busy as well. I managed to get some time out to take some photos amongst all the high speed madness. Most of these shots were taken during 6 minute downloading breaks with the camera, and I also snuck in a quick trip to the local community garden.

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Culiseta incidens, probing my finger.

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tanking up!

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Graphocephala fenahi, the rhododendron leafhopper.

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A beautiful syrphid bumblebee mimic, Eristalis flavipes.

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A flower longhorn in the community garden.

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A western yellowjacket delves under bark for prey.

OK, you have made it to the end of the photos. Did I ever mention that I am part American? The following 2 videos were shot at a whopping 10,000 frames per second.

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