Archivos de diario de abril 2024

06 de abril de 2024

2024-04-05: Lake Sylvia State Park

I hoped to take a late lunch break and observe pollinators when the sun came out, but instead of the previously forecast gap in the clouds, 4PM brought rain... as did 5PM. Around 6-6:30 it finally cleared up - too late for pollinators, but time enough for an evening walk in the woods. Since I hadn't been to Lake Sylvia in a couple weeks, I thought it a good idea to go document the status of the bloom. I also wanted to see if there were still newts everywhere in the lake - I saw several on my last visit, but I didn't bring a camera capable of getting good photographs of them out in the water.

Arrived at the lake about 7PM, temperature a little below 50F and the sun low. Paddlers on the water were in sunlight, but both shores were in shadow at the day-use area. Decided to cross the bridge by the dam to see if there were any newts (there weren't). Light in the forest was beautiful, though - late sun barely filtering through the trees.

The redwood sorrel is starting to come into bloom, and many trillium and violets are also flowering. The salmonberries by the lake are still flowering and those in the forest are just starting. Devil's Club is starting to leaf out. No sign of flowers on the red huckleberry.

A lovely evening walk and a few plant phenology data points. I even saw a bumblebee, but I didn't even try to take its picture given how dark it was towards sunset under the trees.

Publicado el abril 6, 2024 08:57 MAÑANA por wildnettle wildnettle | 12 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

2024-04-04: Pollinators at Schafer State Park

A beautiful day, so once I determined I could get away with it, I clocked out for a long lunch break and headed over to Schafer State Park. Several picnickers out. I crossed the bridge and headed up the trail alongside the river. All sorts of flowers blooming. Not just the Trillium and Cardamine that I'm seeing everywhere right now, but checkerlily and some buds I couldn't recognize. I'll need to go back to find out what they'll be!

It was a bit cool, and at first I thought I was going to get skunked on pollinators -- until I came upon a stand of blooming Oregon-Grape with daisies beneath it. I spent a good 20 minutes watching the bees and flies at that spot (though most of them were too fast for me, and the bees vacated the Oregon-Grape when I arrived and didn't return while I was there). On the Bellis perennis I saw Dialictus, Pieris marginalis, Bombylius major, and some syrphids I didn't manage to get photos of. On the Oregon-Grape, I saw Bombus, Andrena, and a small syrphid. There were also some dandelions nearby and I was fascinated to notice that nothing visited them.

After determining that I was unlikely to see anything new at that site, I headed a little further up the trail, where I saw what looked like an Andrena approaching some trillium. I watched, curious, but the bee veered hastily off at the last moment. When I approached the flower, I saw a crab spider feasting happily on half a fly.

Further investigation at this site revealed couple lovely little ichneumonids. I photographed one for a little while, then decided against heading uphill - the higher ground seemed a bit windy and it was getting towards time to head back. I returned to the Oregon-Grape stand, pausing to admire a very attractive Red-Breasted Sapsucker. Back at the stand, I found a nice jumping spider and some tachinids.

It was at this point much later than I should have stayed, so with immense regret, I returned to the car and went to finish my work day.

Publicado el abril 6, 2024 09:18 MAÑANA por wildnettle wildnettle | 25 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

2024-03-31: First bees of spring at Lake Quinault - July Creek picnic area

Inspired by the iNaturalist Discord's linking of Rod Crawford's field journal, I thought it might be a good idea to write up some of my outings this spring, both to document some of "the ones that got away" and to put some of my best memories into writing. My outings observing are idyllic moments that shine in my memory like jewels on a necklace - all similar, but each a treasure.

It was a gorgeous sunny weekend, and after spending most of Saturday just getting out to the cottage, I was determined to spend Sunday at Lake Quinault. I wasn't sure I'd see any bees - the historical bee observations on the southwest peninsula are pretty thin, and the first bees of previous years were never before April 5. In order to maximize my chances of observing any bees, I brought my 300mm telephoto, 1.4x teleconverter, and some extension tubes. I've used this combination to good effect before to observe fast-moving, shy pollinators in the Sespe Wilderness, so I thought it would serve me well here as well. I also brought a more traditional macro rig in case the invertebrates were better behaved than I expected.

My first stop at the lake was July Creek Picnic Area, where I'd had decent success with invertebrates on a previous outing, including an Ichneumonoid wasp - so I knew it was a good spot for some early Hymenoptera. I wasn't disappointed, either. The rocky streamside revealed a bunch of blooming Petasites frigidus that I could tell from a distance was a hotbed of pollinator activity. The combination of warm sunny gravel and a stand of flowers has always provided me with good bee sightings, especially when combined with water. And, of course, I expect to see more bees where more sunlight reaches the ground, as at lakesides and along roads.

The pollinators fled the flowers as I approached, so I set up with the telephoto a ways away and waited to see if they would return. Most seemed content to look elsewhere while this weird large mammal was in the area, but a few came back either to visit the flowers or rest on the rocks. I observed several bees and syrphids on the flowers, as well as stoneflies by the water.

Once I was no longer getting any new observations on the coltsfoot, I wandered the area to see what else was in bloom and who was visiting it. I saw the salmon berries visited by a few bumble queens, and the red huckleberry (the first I've seen blooming) by several yellowjackets who were moving too fast for good pictures. Moving on down the trail, I found a cleared spot by the bridge full of blooming Bellis perennis. Small insects were zooming industriously around the daisies, and the clear was wide enough for me to avoid blocking the trail (not that anyone else was around), so I knelt down and spent a few minutes observing. My attention was soon drawn to the insects resting on the blackberry leaves across the trail and on the wood of the bridge. A whole lot of similar-looking bees were using the bridge as a sunning spot. I suspected Andrena, and some photos and the help of identifiers confirmed it.

The trail went on into dense woods unlikely to yield good observing spots, and the daisies were still quite active with rather bold insects, so I went back to them, switched to macro gear, and got some good photos of a Hoverfly. Then back to the car (pausing for a dung fly on the daisies in the parking strip) and on to my primary destination for the day, Kestner homestead trail, where observers had posted a variety of blooms the day before.

Publicado el abril 6, 2024 03:53 TARDE por wildnettle wildnettle | 31 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

2024-03-31: First bees of spring at Lake Quinault - Kestner Homestead Trail

Arrived at the ranger station at 3pm, a little late for observing bees. Since this was due to excellent bee activity at July Creek, I couldn't complain too much. Started along the trail and soon saw a white butterfly resting on a salmonberry flower a ways off the trail. Thank goodness for telephoto lenses!

High moth activity; several times moths that were resting near the trail fled before I was able to photograph them. I very much regret not noticing a beautiful large brown moth on a tree trunk right next to the trail before I startled it.

A lot of skunk cabbage in bloom and other hikers said it was an unusually dense bloom. I didn't observe any pollinators on the skunk cabbage.

On down the trail. Several bumblebees circled me to get a good look at me, but none let me get a good look at them. However, I observed more Lepidoptera (and many more escaped my lens) and a wide variety of interesting flies resting in sunny trailside spots near blooming cardamine. I took a rest on a bench and watched sunlight and cloud shadows chase each other across the mossy trunks of old-growth bigleaf maple.

I arrived at Kestner homestead at 5PM, and noted that the wide cleared fields would likely make a good Hymenopteran observing spot later in the season and earlier in the day (there were few flowers at the time). There were also, of course, old buildings and fences. And a beautiful view of the mountains. As I wandered the area in search of bees (got an Andrena on a fence).

Not many bees on this leg of the trip, but with so many excellent flies and far more moths than I actually managed to photograph, I can't regret the adventure.

Publicado el abril 6, 2024 04:13 TARDE por wildnettle wildnettle | 28 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

10 de abril de 2024

Pollinators of ONP (Anthophila/Syrphidae) ref

For my reference and that of other people looking at bees and syrphids in the Olympics, here are the results of the 2014 survey. I read this prior to even moving up here, but I haven't been referencing it regularly.

Rykken J. 2018. Measuring and monitoring pollinator diversity along elevation gradients in Olympic and North Cascades National Parks. Natural Resource Report. NPS/NOCA/NRR—2018/1634. National Park Service. Fort Collins, Colorado
Species list at Appendix A starting on p 47 of the PDF. NOCA = North Cascades, OLYM = Olympic.

Quick summary (I'm doing this by hand so sorry if there are any errors). Undescribed species might have been described since publication. Many spp had only one individual collected, which suggests there may be spp that were present with 0 individuals collected.

Hymenoptera spp identified in ONP below 1000'

  • * only below 10' elevation (probably beach site)
  • (Rare) fewer than 10 individuals collected


  • * Andrena columbiana (rare)


  • Bombus bifarius
  • Bombus caliginosus (rare)
  • Bombus flavidus
  • Bombus flavifrons
  • Bombus mixtus
  • Bombus sitkensis (uncommon)
  • Bombus vandykei
  • Bombus vosnesenskii (rare)
  • Nomada sp. 2 (rare)
  • Ceratina acantha (rare)
  • Mellisodes (rare)


  • Hylaeus modestus (rare)


  • Halictus confusus
  • Halictus rubicundus
  • Halictus virgatellus
  • Lasioglossum zonulum
  • Lasioglossum zonulum
  • Lasioglossum
  • Dialictus
  • Evylaeus sp. 6 (rare)
  • Sphecodes sp. 4
  • Sphecodes


  • Megachile perihirta (rare)
  • Osmia densa (rare)

Be sure to check out the paper for the full list since many spp, including Apis mellifera of all things, were only collected above 1000'.

Publicado el abril 10, 2024 04:22 TARDE por wildnettle wildnettle | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

15 de abril de 2024

2024-04-07: Observing up the coast

With an afternoon high tide, I decided to scout the shorebird migration spots although it is likely too early in the season to see many birds. My intention was to finish with an evening walk on the beach at low tide, but I didn't wind up getting to that.

My first stop was Grays Harbor NWR, of course. It was lovely weather, but there was little bird activity at the wildlife refuge, aside from a Northern Harrier and a couple turkey vultures. Documented the bloom since I was there.

Second stop was the roadside birding hotspot that Audubon's Washington State Birding Trail refers to as "Humptulips Estuary." The area open to visitors is merely a roadside turnout, but the wetland owned by the GH Audubon Society was much more active than the NWR was.

While I was there I stopped at the boat launch to admire the river, clean up some trash, and document the plant community.

On to Griffiths-Priday State park, where I was greeted by a picnic area absolutely packed with blooming shepherd's cress. There was so much that it turned the air fragrant! The prolific Vaccinium ovatum was in bloom as well, and the strawberries. And the future promised even more flowers!

Down the trail, I encountered a broad sandy area that appeared to have recently been underwater. Apparently, there's a creek here that flows directly into the sea instead of joining the Copalis River, so the creek bed fills up with seawater at high tide. This created an incredible environment that was a ton of fun to explore.

There were several bumblebees on the Vaccinium ovatum. I also saw a queen - Vosnesenskii or similar - looking for a good spot near the edge of the picnic area.

I never did make it to the beach proper. I have no regrets.

Publicado el abril 15, 2024 05:37 MAÑANA por wildnettle wildnettle | 67 observaciones | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario