Friday, 6 June 2014

Incy Wincy and friends.

Recent posts have featured bumblebees and damselflies but it was a different invertebrate that caught my eye today and a very small one at that. I was on one of my regular walks and stopped to scan a field over a stone wall when, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed what I took to be plant debris in a spiders web between the top stones. When I looked properly I quickly realised that it wasn't plant debris and that it was ball of young spiders. I hadn't a clue what species they were but I thought I should be able to identify them later given they were bright yellow with dark brown or black markings.

A bundle of fun. Each spider was only about 3mm long if that.

Later in the day I Googled images for 'yellow and black spider UK' and quickly found some similar photographs that revealed them to be the young of the common Garden Spider (Araneus diadematus). This is a very common orb web spider and one I am familiar with in the adult form but I can't say I have ever come across the colourful young spiderlings before. It just goes to show how easy it is to overlook some very common things or how well hidden and unobtrusive they normally are.

Even though ringing hasn't featured recently I have still been busy on that front. I have already ringed 44 Starlings this month to add to the 88 ringed last month which is a good basis for my Starling RAS project and should produce a lot of retraps from the adults next year. I have also ringed a few pulli recently including broods of Skylark, Linnet and Willow Warbler. This morning saw me installing a drinking pool at one of my new sites. This should attract quite a few birds to the site as there are no water courses or ponds nearby but some sustained dry weather would also help.

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