20180531 Cross country trip of flower spider on a windy day

In the early afternoon I noticed a white “blob” swaying in the wind on a blade of grass.  Upon closer inspection with the telephoto lens it appeared to be a flower (crab) spider, Misumena vatia.

Over the next 45 minutes I watched that spider travel about 3 metres downwind into a bunch of emerging Canada Anemones.   Most of the time I was looking through the Electronic View Finder of the camera, trying to follow and keep focus on that little piece of white bobbing in the strong gusty wind.   I managed to get a few pictures.

In all cases below, the wind is blowing from left to right.   The wind drifts the spun silk downwind towards other blades of grass and seed heads.  Usually there are several filaments blowing it the wind at one time.  They appear to be at least a metre long.  Click on photos to get close-ups.

Then, after a filament connects to something downwind, the spider climbs along it to a new position.

Resting on a seed head …

It went down that blade of grass to hide in ambush on the dandelion flower.   The approaching Syrphid fly didn’t land on the flower — a wise move!!!

Then the spider went up the stem to the seed head and began to splay our filaments of silk….

It then tightened the silk, pulling the seed head towards its destination …

and then it arrived at the next seed head….

There are several filaments connecting this seed head with the target downwind …

This is the only image that I managed to get of the spider “enroute” to the next seed head.

This is where the spider was headed, one of several Canada Anemones about to bloom…

Here it is ready to release some more filaments downwind to tangle in the blades and seedheads of the grasses.

I have to conclude that these spiders only travel downwind this way.  This indicates that the architecture of cobwebs is affected by the wind at the time of construction.

Lots to learn out there.

This is what is happening at high elevations in New Hampshire these days:


20180530-31 End of May flowers and insects

The occasional wild calla lily is blooming in the ditches along Hwy 529.

Interrupted ferns are now full size, illustrating how the fertile segments (pinnae) “interrupts” the fronds of the fern…

Every springtime I am reassured to see this nice patch of Pink Ladyslippers on the property I had on Riverside Road.  22 years ago there were about half a dozen blooms — so they are doing well ….

Sometimes I see these reddish leaf remnants on Black Cherries (P serotina), never on Choke Cherries (P virginiana).   Another identifier when looking at small trees?

We have a small number of Blueberry blossoms this year.  I fear that the absence of pollinators will result in a small crop for 2018.

Starflowers are in their diminutive glory ….

And soon the wild ( Virginia) strawberries will be ripe for little (and bigger) critters to snack on…

I am still trying to identify this small flower.  The stalks are about 15 cm high and grows along wet mossy roadsides, often along with wild lily of the valley…..

Eastern tent caterpillar on a Chokecherry shrub. Eastern tents attack cherries predominantly.

The other common tent caterpillar, the Forest Tent Caterpillar  is at a population maximum in Northeastern Ontario this spring and is causing defoliation of Sugar Maple and Poplar trees.  If it is just a one-year attack the trees will probably recover with no ill effects.  Attacks for several years in a row can cause damage or even death to the affected trees.

This Native Elm tree died about 5 or 6 years ago.  Now it provides a home for a food source for Pileated Woodpeckers, the architects of this structure:

This Yellow Warbler seems to be having a conversation with the birdie (below) on the same tree.

This Eastern Phoebe was flitting its tail and talking back to the warbler with its characteristic “feeee beeee” sounds…..

This might be a meadowhawk.  Hopefully I’ll see more examples as the season progresses.  In the meantime I’ll peruse a new (to me) website:  http://www.pbase.com/tmurray74/bugs

As Andy Fyon says, “Fanleaf Hawthorn or Fireberry hawthorn; shrub or small tree; also known as New England hawthorn.

The last of the Trilliums ….

This might be a Dreamy Duskywing …..


Latest from Mary Holland:  https://naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com/2018/06/08/newly-emerged-dragonflies-vulnerable/

20180529 Squirrel, Flycatcher, Otter, Dragonflies and Spring flora

We saw this American Red Squirrel feasting on Staghorn Sumac fruits, a change from its usual diet of seeds from conifer cones.

This Great Crested Flycatcher surveyed the photographer from its perch on this dead limb…

… and then went back to surveying the area for prey …

I  saw this beastie scurrying through the junipers near Community Road in Britt.  I tried to get to the clearing in time to “capture” it.  Alas!  Too late!  All I got was its characteristic hump at 1/200 sec.   It’s the first time I’ve seen an otter in such terrain so I’m including it here.


Interrupted ferns are reaching their interrupted phase nowadays….

The tightly closed flowerheads of the Purple Pitcher Plants along Hwy 529 are about 15 cm above the base now.

Another unknown Dragonfly:

Aha! This one is easy to ID as a male Chalk-fronted Corporal

A nice example of a Blue-eyed Grass, of which we have three:  Common Blue-eyed Grass, Slender Blue-eyed Grass and Stout Blue-eyed Grass.  All are members of the Iris family of flowers.

A  Bunch:

Another unidentified beastie … this time a little (~1 cm wingspan) tan moth(?), well camouflaged.

Another tiny beastie, about 1 cm bow to stern, Skipper-sized, but I cannot ID it.

This one hung around long enough to get a defining picture:   A Northern Wild Raisin in bud:

Mother Goose still on her nest …

Solomon’s Plume (AKA False Solomon’s Seal is about to blossom while it hosts a visiting hoverfly:

The last of the spring ephemerals are fading quickly….


This is what Allen Norcross posted earlier today:


…. a good indicator what we’ll be seeing next week!

20180526-28 Blooms, birdies, bugs

Spring ephemerals are in full or fading bloom as the canopy is often leafing out.  The migrants have either passed through or are establishing families.   The pollinators are on the flowers and the predatory insects are filling up on blackflies.  Remember to click on the images once or twice to zoom in for a proper look.

The Great White Trilliums are fading from white to pink:

The last of the Trout Lilies are blooming in the deep woods.  Like many spring ephemerals, Trout lilies reproduce asexually, producing corms to develop colonies.  That is a good strategy to counter cold late springs when the strength of pollinators is limited.

The early summer flowers are emerging such as this Canadian Columbine.  Its brilliant fire red colour and nectar attracts Ruby Throated hummingbirds, Bumble and other native bees, and Butterflies.  They are easy to propagate from seeds and are good candidates for self-seeding wildflower gardens :

Pin cherries are the first of our four wild cherries to bloom.

This female American Redstart is gleaning the Tag Alders at Big (Gereaux) Lake.  She is probably building a nest in the mixed Alder, Poplar, Cherry, Ash scrub near the lake.

And this gal was eyeing the photographer from a high perch on a late Ash tree near my house.  I hope that she decides to stay.

The yellow streak in front of and above the eye helps to ID this Savannah Sparrow.

This pair of Common Grackles are probably nesting along Riverside Road east of Wright’s Marina.  Grackles belong to an interesting family of birdies, the Icterids.

Icterids make up a family (Icteridae) of small- to medium-sized, often colorful, New-World passerine birds. Most species have black as a predominant plumage color, often enlivened by yellow, orange or red. The species in the family vary widely in size, shape, behavior and coloration. The name, meaning “jaundiced ones” (from the prominent yellow feathers of many species) comes from the Ancient Greek ikteros via the Latin ictericus. This group includes the New World blackbirds, New World orioles, the bobolink, meadowlarks, grackles, cowbirds, oropendolas and caciques.

This American Bittern has been serenading Dave and Irene, morning and evening, for about a week.  Listen to its unique sound, either on the “overview” webpage, or at this link.

The American Bittern above was about 100 metres away, stretching my eyes and the 100-400 lens to its maximum reach.

Closer in, this Eastern Kingbird entertained me with its skillful hawking of insects from its perches on a page-wire fence.

At times I felt that the photographer was entertaining this birdie!


This Dragonfly was moving around on the gravel of a driveway.   I cannot ID it using the Guide at OnNatureMagazine.  Help!

And, finally, here is a Blanding’s Turtle showing its bright yellow/orange throat while crossing Hwy 529.

Here are some threads that I am following:






Lots of interesting text and photography in the above.