She's got her eyes on me...
With apologies to the arachnaphobes out there ... I had to go with this little jumping spider today. I was cleaning some weeds from the garden and apparently I dislodged her. She landed on a rock in the garden and I realized, on closer inspection, that she had some sort of larvae in her fangs. And let me just tell you, she wasn't about to part with her meal! I had plenty of time to grab my macro lens and get down on my belly for some eye-to-eye shots. She was an excellent model. I finally put the rock with her on it under some foliage in the garden where I assume she finished her meal in peace. I am actually not sure as to gender, but arbitrarily assigned female because "she" was a pretty large jumper.
Her exact name is Bold Jumping Spider - Phidippus audax. She is a harmless (to humans) spider and one that you want to have in your garden for her hunting skills. I selected this shot, not because it was the best, but because I liked the color that the flowers in the background gave it, as well as the eye-level pov. Also, you can see her green fangs - kind of cool! Taken with my D90 with the Nikon 105 mm lens, handheld.
Three other shots on Flickr, starting HERE with a better shot of the jumper. Followed by a common fly and a piggy blue jay.
Although the Bistro is mostly destroyed, I decided to open a smaller "pop up" version with a limited menu and limited hours. Translation: I put a dish of peanuts and some seeds out when I am on the deck to supervise.
Dinner tonight is a Panzanella salad using quinoa instead of bread and adding some salmon for protein. I found a nice selection of cherry tomatoes to use and dug up some early spring onions from my garden. A little crusty bread, a glass of wine, and we'll call it a meal!
We watched P-Hummie doing his courtship flight for one of the females yesterday - it was one of the more impressive shows I've seen and I hope that it was sufficient for the female to accept his advances. When the males are trying to woo a female (or, later in the season, to intimidate other hummers) they will fly at super high speeds in a sharp U-shape. They travel at such speeds that you can't follow them with your eye really - it's very impressive.
In the ongoing saga of the Tale of Two Kitties ... last night was a good night. We played with both of them before bedtime to tire them out and it seemed to work pretty well. They had a minor spat but it was more for show I think. Today has been fairly quiet too as they've both been napping in different parts of the house. Day by day...