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Posts Tagged ‘spiders’

wetwebs-07

Misty hammock webs on Euonymus…

I am interrupting my summer holiday picture blog posts to take note of the September weather here in South Wales. There is a nip in the air and yesterday autumn lived up to its reputation as the season of “mists and mellow fruitfulness”.

I couldn’t have told you until I looked it up, but that line is (more…)

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spiderwebs-01

The orb webs of Araneus diadematus in a city garden in early autumn

I always thought the word gossamer just meant spider silk. But now I know where the word comes from, I see it specifically refers to the fine threads that blow and glitter on the breeze on sunny days at this autumn time of year.

The Middle English word was gossomer, perhaps from “goose summer”, a time of year when (more…)

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red-spider-mite

Red spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) on ivy in the garden, June 11, 2011

I was so pleased to catch a picture of this red spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) that I thought I would post it, as well as adding it to my spider identification project page.

It was running around very fast on a variegated ivy plant outside in the garden, over and under a leaf, and kept on evading me. I wouldn’t have noticed it if it hadn’t been moving, as it was less than half a millimetre long. It must have paused for just a moment on the stem when I shot this.

Spider mites are a pest on house plants and in the greenhouse, weaving their webs and sucking the life out of the plants. I don’t mind them in the garden, though (I say this even though this is the first time I have seen them outdoors…). More information about red spider mites on Wikipedia here.

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Miss-Muffet

A 1940 Miss Muffet poster promoting reading by children. Click on the image to find out more...

First some reassurance – I am by nature an arachnophobe, and on the off-chance you are, too, this blog post has no images of spiders – apart from the pretty tame Miss Muffet picture, so feel free to read this before you decide if you would like to visit my spider gallery page.

One of my former editors insisted we did not print big pictures of spiders in our morning paper as he did not want people turning the page and choking over their porridge (or curds and whey).

Why do I dislike spiders? Who knows? When I was a child they were there lying in wait in the dark outside toilet, but surely it’s more than that…

It’s strange that I’m OK with very small spiders and possibly VERY big ones such as plump tarantulas or even Shelob in Lord of the Rings.

What really gets me is the full-size house spider, Tegenaria gigantea. Don’t expect any pictures of that here! I relate other house spiders to this benchmark, so I always think of “half-size” or “quarter-size” spiders.

Size is important, and also surroundings – I’m OK with spiders in the garden as long as they don’t dangle over my head or neck.

I am OK with most insects, so I can only conclude it’s the EIGHTNESS of spiders that gets me. The SIXNESS of insects is fine.

Spiders also tend to stick around. You can’t just drive them away as you can with winged insects.

Maybe (more…)

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whitebeam-01

Whitebeam berries on a frosty morning in November 2010

Throughout 2010 I am revisiting the little green nature book that accompanied my childhood and trying to tick off the plants and animals featured in its monthly sketchbook pages. I’m enjoying the journey – only one month to go now…

The book is “Wild Life Through the Year” by Richard Morse and it was published in 1942. You can read about earlier months here.

November 2010 in South Wales has felt very much like a bridge between autumn and winter. There have been clear, sunny days starting with a frost, heavy rain, strong winds and at the end of the month we are in the middle of an Arctic snap with below-freezing temperatures – we even had snow on November 27 (see my pictures here).

Nearly all the autumn leaves have fallen by the end of the month, with (more…)

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october-web

October is a time of spider webs in the garden

Throughout 2010 I am revisiting the little green nature book that accompanied my childhood and trying to track down the plants and animals featured in its monthly sketchbook pages. I’m learning a lot as I go along.

The book is “Wild Life Through the Year” by Richard Morse and it was published in 1942. You can read about earlier months here.

October 2010 in South Wales has been typically autumnal, with some very nippy, dry, clear days and some wet and blustery, depending on the wind direction, cold North/East or warm South/West. There was also sometimes (more…)

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fallen-fruit

September is a time of fallen fruit - here's a selection from the pavement, clockwise from top left, crab apples, lime seed, pine cone and hazelnut...

Throughout 2010 I am revisiting the little green nature book that accompanied my childhood and seeing if the plants and animals featured in its monthly sketchbook pages are still around.

The book is “Wild Life Through the Year” by Richard Morse and it was published in 1942. You can read about earlier months here.

September 2010 in South Wales has been a mixed month with much rain but also some clear blue-sky days. Autumn is definitely (more…)

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