Tag Archives: trashline orb weaver spider

Monarch Monitoring, Day #1, 07-02-19

I got up around 5:30 this morning so I could get over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve and begin my monitoring of my milkweed plot there for evidence of Monarch Butterflies.

  I got there around 6:30 am and was pleased to see fellow volunteer and Certified California Naturalist, Roxanne Moger, there, too, ready and anxious to help with this first day at “my” plot.  The first thing we saw when we walked in was a lovely doe sitting on the side of the hill right next to the plot.  She let us get some photos of her before she got up and moved along.  There was a narrow game trail right through the plot that the deer had made.

A female Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
The doe is to the left in this photo, and the plot to the right (at the end of the stone wall).

We divvied the plot up and started by counting all of the plants – over 40 just in our section! – and then we went plant-by plant, looking at every leaf for any evidence of Monarch eggs or larvae.  I wasn’t expecting to see any, and we didn’t. The Monarchs didn’t show up last year until the fall, so I didn’t think there would be any in the plot today.  But we were still very vigilant about checking every plant and every leaf.

CLICK HERE for the album of photos.

 Part of the plot sits at a slight angle and is cluttered with other plants like a large coyote brush bush, a couple of wild rose bushes and some bay, and Roxanne was wonderful about monitoring that part, so I didn’t have to climb under branches or get snagged by thorns.  I thought that was so sweet of her!  I had a special magnifier to check for eggs, but for most of the time I just used my cell phone as a magnifying glass and took photos if I found anything that looked interesting or unusual.  We came across several different kinds of spiders including Yellow Sac Spiders, Trashline Orb Weavers and Jumping Spiders; some Oleander Aphids, Common Green Lacewing eggs, Red Mites, the larvae of Green Stink Bugs and the Twenty-spotted Lady Beetle, some leafhoppers and some spittle bugs.

 We were out at the plot for about 2 hours.  Later in the day, after I got home, I loaded our findings onto the MLMP website.  It took me a little bit to figure out what went where, but I think I get everything in there all right.

Species List:

  1. Asian Ladybeetle, Harmonia axyridis,
  2. California Bay, Umbellularia californica,
  3. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana,
  4. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus,
  5. Common Green Lacewing, Chrysoperla carnea,
  6. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis,
  7. European Praying Mantis, Mantis religiosa,
  8. Green Leafhopper, Empoasca sp.,
  9. Green Stink Bug, Chinavia hilaris,
  10. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni,
  11. Jumping Spider, Hentzia sp.,
  12. Meadow Spittlebug, Philaenus spumarius,
  13. Oleander Aphid, Aphis nerii,
  14. Pumpkin Gall Wasp, Dryocosmus minusculus,
  15. Red Mite, Spider Mite, Tetranychus urticae,
  16. Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa,
  17. Spotted Lady’s Thumb, Persicaria maculosa,
  18. Trashline Orb Weaver Spider, Cyclosa conica,
  19. Twenty-spotted Lady Beetle, Psyllobora vigintimaculata,
  20. Yarrow, Achillea millefolium,
  21. Yellow Sac Spider, Cheiracanthium mildei,

Cotton Tails and Orb Weavers

I let myself sleep in a tiny bit on Saturday, and didn’t get up until after 7:30 am.  I did some laundry and had a little breakfast, and then went out to the Cosumnes River Preserve — and pretty much the place all to myself for about 2½ hours.  Wow, that was nice!  We had a lot of rain yesterday, and I really wanted to get over to the American River Bend Park to see if there was any slime mold waking up — but the trails were closed for a marathon today…  The riparian area at the Cosumnes River Preserve isn’t as nice at the area at the American River, but I made due.  Saw a lot of damselflies in a variety of colors, including black ones, brilliant blue ones, and pale multicolored ones.  I also saw quite a few Cottontail Rabbits.  One came out onto the path and posed for me a couple of times, so I got lots of photos and some video of him.  They’re not as big as the Jack Rabbits at the River Bend Park, but are sure cute!

I later came across a spider I’d never seen before; it had an odd-shaped hump on its back (like a traffic cone) and sat with all of its legs gathered up around its face.  Weird.  I looked it up as soon as I got home and found out it was a kind of Trash-line Orb Weaver spider (Cyclosa conica).  I’d seen trash-line webs before, but never a spider like this one; so that was kewl.  There was also a tiny bright yellow Araneus orb spider with an egg sac that was almost bigger than she was.  Further on, I got my first in-person look at an American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis).  At first all I saw was a yellow flash go by me, and then I saw it perching in the wetland area on some tule.  Such a pretty little thing.  On the way back to the car, I saw some Tiger Swallowtail butterflies flitting around through all the weeds and wildflowers that abutted the parking lot area.  More pretty pretties… so it was a nice trip.

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