September 22, 2020
Today is the first day of autumn and towards the end of summer and during the Fall, we see an increase in spiders' webs around the park. Often there is a big orb-weaver spider bang in the middle, as with this beauty that Jo photographed on a Himalayan Blackberry.
The reason they are more evident at this time of year is because they are trying to catch and eat as much food as possible before bugs and insects become scarce in the winter.
Not all spiders weave webs, but those that do, will respond to vibrations caused by insects as they become enmeshed. The spider will first paralyse the victim by injecting poison into it. Digestive juices delivered at the same time then start to necrotise the prey, turning its insides to liquid. Whilst this process is happening, the spider will be wrapping the food in Saran wrap, no not really, spider silk. This way it can attach it to a convenient place on the web because the liquification process takes a little while. When the insect has been turned into a delicious smoothie, the spider can then ingest it.
September 16, 2020
|On Monday, the new School Programs Assistant, Joanna started work. Today, we went out to check some of the trails we use and we spotted our first Amanita Muscarias of the season.Yet another indicator that Fall is on its way.
September 10, 2020
Walking through the Park into work this morning, I came across this little Guinea Pig, shivering on the trail at the side of the boardwalk. Since we don't have feral Guinea Pigs, someone must have dropped it overnight or first thing this morning.
I can't help wondering whether people realise that leaving it here is a death sentence. Like the bunnies that get abandoned, any domestic pet that is left in the Nature Park, if it doesn't die of shock or exposure, will eventually get eaten by coyotes or birds of prey.
This one may fare better. We have found it a home.
September 8, 2020
On Friday, we had a party of volunteers from Deloitte helping us with trail work, this was part of their company-wide Impact Day. At the end of the day, led by Kris and Rich, they created these teepees on the edge of the Wildlife Garden.
Teepees (and yes, I had to look up the spelling and was given three options by Oxford online, 'tipi', 'teepee' or 'tepee' ) provide shelter for birds and if you have a big enough garden, they are a wonderful way to support wildlife. As I approached them to take a photograph, a bird flew out of one, and Rich reported that birds had been in and out of them all weekend. At the moment, it seems more likely that the birds are picking off insects and other bugs, but as we go into the Fall and the temperature drops, they will be using them increasingly in the way that they use the Salal and other low- growth plants in the Park, as protection from the weather.
September 2, 2020
As soon as I had typed in the title, the day's deafening silence was deafeningly broken by the gardeners cutting grass or blowing leaves or some other worthy activity that involved both noise and smell.
The silence is caused by the gap between school and school programs starting, and maybe this is reflected in the weather, it feels as though the rain is just holding off, waiting for some signal to start again and the sunshine feels equally uncertain.
I loved these three photos, taken today, the frog just hanging in the water, soaking up the last of the summer, and the turtles likewise, on the bank of the pond, but in the foreground, the blueberry bush, still in fruit, starting to turn their magnificent autumn red. Lastly, the lush rosehip of the dog rose, reminding us quite fulsomely that Fall is already abroad in the Park.