Daily Observations

Sixspotted Orbweaver - Araniella displicata

I’ve not been getting out much lately, but yesterday Connor and I went to the quarry road and Cross Trail muskeg. Last Sunday Connor and I went out to Whale Park for the Marbled Murrelet watch.

Weather: The forecast of late has often called for mostly cloudy with a chance of rain. Until today, that has meant warm and dry, with a little bit of sun. What rain there has been seems to fall at night. Today it’s been raining off and on, however. June was actually drier than normal this year, with only 0.89 inches of precipitation recorded at the airport (average is 3.67 inches). We’ve already had over half that in the 4 days we have seen in July. Much of that fell today, and still more is coming down. June was much warmer this year than last, with a total of 92 growing degree days (each day the growing degree day is the number of degrees the average temperature is over 50; the total is the sum of that over the whole month). Last June there was a total of 63 growing degree days.

Birds: I’ve not been seeing much, but then I haven’t really been looking too much either.

The Swainson’s Thrushes are still singing around the house, and the last couple of days I have heard a Winter Wren singing on occasion.

The Red-breasted Sapsuckers are still frequently visiting the back yard.

There were Dark-eyed Juncos and a couple of Lincoln’s Sparrows making a fair bit of noise along the quarry road yesterday. I think they may have had fledglings that were begging.

Melissa saw a couple of birds in the neighbor’s yard that she thinks were blackbirds. At first she was thinking grackles (since she has seen those before, and that’s kind of what they looked like), but after looking through Sibley’s and talking to me about it, we decided it’s more likely that they were Rusty Blackbirds.

Flora: The Triantha is blooming in the muskegs now. I noticed two different versions of it that were very similar but with distinct differences. Theoretically there are two species with one of those having two subspecies around here. The problem is the only descriptions I can find are in pretty technical language, so I’m not sure if what I was seeing were two different species, two different subspecies, or phenotypic plasticity. I’ll probably do a separate post on those at some point.

Crowberries are developing, some of them looked pretty well ripe.

It looks like there might be a good crop of cloudberries this year, but they’re still pretty green.

Other Notes: I took some pictures of a male Sixspotted Orbweaver along the quarry road (see photo above). It was small, moving pretty consistently (unless it was upside down) and looked different enough from the female I had previously photographed, that I didn’t recognize it until I took a look at the pictures when I got home.

After the Murrelet watch last Sunday Connor and I went down the road a little ways so I could get some photos of roadside plants. There were lots of insects utilizing the blooming cow parsnip, including ants, flies, beetles and bees.

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