Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Adventures in gardening...

Well I've had an interesting morning.  I've done a few posts about Argiope aurantia, the common black and yellow garden spider, or zipper spider.  There are two in the yard this year.  One of my ladies, the one I've photographed for the blog is under the crepe myrtles bush.   The other lady is in the Turks caps, whose thick leaves and huge size makes her much more difficult see. 

This morning though, I was bound and determined to  pay her a visit.  This is because I'd noticed that her coloration was unusual... she doesn't have the black markings across her abdomen and her long legs are a more mottled brown rather than black.  I'd never seen that before, and research hadn't yielded any info as to how variable they are, so I shot a question to bugsinthenews.com (see the link on thr bottom right) and I decided that I was going to take a pic. 

Well I managed, not a great shot, but there it is...  she seemed a little smaller than normal so after pocketing the phone I poked around and found that she had recently produced an egg sac.  

Neat, huh?  

So, there I was, on my knees in 
rather scratchy leaves, beginning to carefully detangle myself without breaking plants or webs,  when the spider suddenly bolted for cover and I heard an unusual whir in my right ear.

Next i see a flash of iridescent green and I was suddenly face with a hummingbird.  I'm under the impression that it was a juvenile male, but they look so much like the females it's hard to tell.  He did a few darts around my head, I froze, and after determining I was harmless he went about his business of working the 
blooms of the turks cap for his brunch. . Twelve inches in front of my face.  

I've never observed them that close before, and I was fascinated.  I had no idea that their bodies could bend into that little z shape, or seen how tiny and perfect their little feet were.
 I slowly tried to inch my hand toward my pocket to get the phone and maybe get a pic, but the slightest move brought him back to my face, where he looked me direct in the eye and I swear he was saying "don't even think about it, bubba, .  This beak is sharp.  
I'll poke you."
So, i spent probably 2 minutes just observing the guy until he ate his fill and very skillfully avoided that spider web.

One of my highlights of my year.


  1. Eeeeeeeeeee! (About the spider - the hummingbird is awesome.)