Tiny Tuesday Arachnid
With apologies to the arachnophobes out there...
If someone had told me six years ago that I'd have "favorite" spiders, I'd have scoffed. I was a life-long arachnaphobe, sent into shudders of horror by the mere thought of spiders. But, somewhere along the blip-road, I followed a few people who photographed spiders - I got shivers looking at their photos, but was fascinated to read what they'd written about their subjects. I learned so much and the more I learned, the less frightening the spiders became. Pretty soon, I started looking at my garden spiders in a whole new way.
And - voila - I now have favorite spiders. Among them are this very small Northern Crab Spider. You could easily fit a half-dozen of these on an American dime (as long as they didn't start pushing and shoving). They tend to hang out on flowers where they patiently wait for something to come along. They are partial to tiny hoverflies and sweat bees but I've also seen them take down other small insects and even other spiders. They don't spin webs, but instead ambush their prey. This one has been hanging out on the seed head of some grass in my garden for about a week. It was very chilly today, and not much wind, so I managed to get some decent shots of the little hunter before leaving him to his waiting game. He's going to have to be cautious since his grass clump is about six feet from Wren Nest # 2 with six eggs due to hatch any day now...
The hike this morning was a wash-out as it started to rain early. So, instead I ran to vote, got my car registered, had a really nice visit with MIL and killed way too much time taking photos.
I caught a fleeting glimpse of my first downy woodpecker fledgling of the year today. It'll probably be a few more days before the parents bring them down out of the trees. I always love it when they start careening around the deck and patio - awkward, hilarious and cuter than cute. I also had a starling show up at the feeder today with a fledgling in tow - my God, that baby was loud! Such screechy things, starlings.
There are loads of fledgling house finches around now - when I walk outside, the peep-peep-peeps fill their air as they follow their poor fathers around, begging relentlessly. The feeding seems to fall almost entirely to the males- I suspect the females are already working on the next nests.
Five more shots on Flickr, if you'd like to have a look, starting HERE with the four baby bluebirds. Followed by a haggard woodpecker, a pissed-off catbird, a wretched looking adult titmouse and six-day old Black Swallowtail Caterpillar.
Thanks Isbi for hosting TinyTuesday. I realize the theme is flora so I'm hoping the fact that the spider is on some flora qualifies... :)