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September 25, 2009
BIG spiders!

You can tell the sex of spiders by whether they 'wear boxing gloves' or not. If you look at their heads, it seems as though they have two feelers attached. These are the pedipalps and they use them to hold prey. The male spiders use theirs to transfer sperm to the female. They put sperm onto the web, then dab their pedipalps into it. Female pedipalps are long and slender, whereas male ones are quite rounded at the ends - the 'boxing gloves'. This difference is quite distinct and easy to see even on very small spiders - if you can see the spider, you can probably see its pedipalps.

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And the reason I mention this? There really are a lot of these big, orb-weaver spiders around at the moment, and I often look to see whether they are male or female. Most of the ones I am seeing are female. One possible explanation for this is that food will be less plentiful in the winter and they still need to use their body's resources to lay eggs and spin a substantial cocoon to protect them. Some species of orb-weavers die as winter approaches, but the eggs must survive and hatch in the spring.

Posted by Janis


September 17, 2009
Scents of Fall

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Fall is in the air, and although a walk along the trails didn't immediately reveal any amanita mushrooms, I decided to go searching for them. Sure enough, in the part of the bog which has mostly succeeded to forest, there they were, poking through the forest floor under the hemlock trees.

For me, the amanitas are as much an early sign of autumn as the  salmonberry flowers are of the spring.

There are other mushrooms too, ones more difficult to identify than the red and white spotted amanita muscaria.

Some of the blueberry bushes are now starting to blush red, and many are festooned with spiders' webs, with big brown orb-weavers right in the middle. 

But most of all, the park just smells of fall.

Posted by Janis


September 5, 2009
Nesting Cooper’s Hawks

This year saw our resident pair of Cooper’s Hawks move their nest site from the Time Trail to the Nature Park parking lot.  The sound and rumbles of semi-trucks passing their nest 24 hours a day did not appear to faze them.  In mid July, three healthy young hawks left the nest and took time to explore their new world.  They were seen perching in the trees next to the Nature House acting like security guards checking up on park visitors. The three juveniles seem to have spread their wings and left the park, while the adult female can still be seen regularly perching near the bird feeding station behind the Nature House!

One of our regular photographers Henry Wong took some great shots of the young hawks.

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For more information on the Cooper’s Hawk please visit this Wild Birds Unlimited web link: http://whatbird.wbu.com/obj/36/overview/Coopers_Hawk.aspx

Posted by Rich Kenny
Nature Park Assistant




Archives
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February 7,2012

I visited the park today with my wife and 3 young kids. We're very impressed and will be returning. I've featured the park on my blog - www.chrisronald.com Thanks, Chris
Chris Young
October 31,2010
Vancouver

Hi You had a busy summer, I see! Very interesting to read about the parklife. You did hard work...! Through the volonteering in the Richmond Nature Park my eyes are opened wide in my country too.... Please say hallo to all we know. Yours Lea
Lea Hafner
September 26,2008
Switzerland

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