Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Marbled Orb Weaver, Strictly And A Little Craft


You may remember a couple of posts ago I was lamenting the loss of my Marbled Orb Weaver (Araneus marmoreus).This is unusual for me as spidery folk are not usually top of my list when it comes to favoured creatures, but I must admit I do have a soft spot for a Marbled Orb Weaver. 

Have you seen one before? 


Aren't they pretty? All mine look like this, with the very defined central brown band, but as a species they can be much more marbly or mottled. The similarity of the markings in mine suggest they are a community who has been living and breeding here on our bank without input from other differently marked individuals for quite some time. 

We found one in the front garden when we were clearing out an old bed a couple of weeks ago, then I discovered another one also in the front garden on what we rather grandly call our Wild Bank (largely because it gets no attention and is, if you like, a physical manifestation of the current Rewilding Craze that is sweeping conservation circles- rewilding, in case you've not heard of it, being a way of managing the land that involves not managing it at all, in other words, allowing natural succession to take place. In the UK this means you'll eventually end up with a broad-leaved forest). Anyhoo, the second MOW was living in the Bean Tree on the bank, and just as I was all set to photograph her to show you, she vanished.

I generally sweep an eye over the Wild Bank a couple of times a week all year round because it is always full of Interesting Creatures (perhaps underlining the value of rewilding?), and over the weekend guess what I found? Another female Marbled Orb Weaver mending her web near the Bean tree (perchance my original one returned), and then M discovered two more a little further along, one in an old dock and the other among the hydrangeas. Their territories weren't overlapping, but they were all in a line along the one stretch of bank. In the first pic below you can see how she's working the strand of silk she's producing to weave it into her web. And in the second pic you can see how she's keeping contact with a single thread from the web so she knows when she's caught something.



Marbled Orb Weaver webs are usually found in shrubs or woody plants near wooded areas and close to a source of water. This part of our garden has a stream running close by the bank which is itself covered in woody shrubs, and we also have lots of trees round about too, so it explains why I find them in this section of the garden rather than the others. In the other bits of the garden Garden Orb Weavers (Araneus diadematus) proliferate instead.

Girl Marbled Orb Weavers tend to be bigger than boys and spend most of their time tucked away hiding in leaves at the very edge of their webs, which is what I've observed them doing. They fold the edge of the leaf over and secure it with silken thread. Baby Marbled Orb Weavers make their retreat out of silk only. The adults hold on to a single thread which is attached to the centre of their web so they can tell when they've caught something from the way it vibrates. They re-spin their intricate tracery of interlocking lacey threads every day to create a new web. Babies are laid in egg sacks in October where they remain until hatching out in the Spring. If MOW's are worried by anything or feel themselves to be in danger they'll drop to the ground and hide until they feel safe again. Makes you feel Quite Tender towards them, doesn't it? (or is that just me). Here is one of our girls hiding in her leaf having completed the redressing of her web....


Also observed in the garden over the weekend amid the glorious warmth and sunshine were a Specked Wood, rather aged and bedraggled. Unfortunately, he ended up in one of the aforementioned Ubiquitous Garden Orb Weaver webs shortly after I took this photo. Such is nature.


Our Comma is still Going Strong and Looking Beautiful...


And of course, I can't resist another picture of the Callicarpa who seems to have settled in well :o)


I have also been doing a Bit More Sewing, making Crimble Prezzies and a fox purse for my friend Mrs M as a thank you for supper on Saturday. I've made this too, out of some left over fabric, but I can't decide what to do with it. Any ideas? I'm thinking a drawstring duffle bag. It's not huge but with a border around the edge would be big enough for a medium-sized duffle I reckon...


And finally, now that Bake Off has ended (well done Nadiya- a worthy winner), a quick mention of That Jive on Strictly on Saturday night. I know a lot's been made about his professional dance training on line, but ignoring all of that, wasn't that dance just brilliant to watch? It's the only one I've replayed and watched again because it was just so thrilling :o)

Hope you're all well and enjoying the week,

CT :o)
 

37 comments:

  1. 'That jive' was amazing and like you, the only dance I've ever replayed to watch again!

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    1. It made me smile just watching it- fantastic!

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  2. Fabulous spidery photos. I watched our spider, who I think is probably also a MOW, rushing in to grab a little flying thing that he'd trapped the other day. I could tell he was thrilled with it. Well done on the sewing, I'm impressed at how much you always do. What's the secret?! I was happy Nadiya won too, loved what she said. Haven't seen any Strictly but now I'm wishing I had. CJ xx

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    1. They do look so proud when they've caught lunch don't they? Was this the same spider whose web you didn't walk into on the way to the bin?
      I'm paying for my busy days this week- migraine on Sunday, which is always a message to slow down :o(
      As for That Jive- have a look for 'Jay Strictly Jive' on youtube, or probably anywhere else- it's well worth watching, just perfect. You'll be out of your seat clapping and bouncing up and down (like I was) :o) XX

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  3. Dear CT
    'That Jive' was incredible and last night, Karen Hardy said it was even better than the Jill Halfpenny one! Praise indeed. I have also watched it several times because I just could not believe it!
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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    1. I heard Karen on It Takes Two as well. I LOVED watching that dance SO MUCH. I wonder whether they got it that good in rehearsal or whether it all just came together on the night? :o)

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  4. I am an arachnaphobe, but even so love orb spiders from afar {just wish they didn't like the space between my washing line and cottage as well as they do} Of course, visitors to my web journal and FB page would never know this as I do get up close and personal with spiders at times! Amazing what the protection of a lens does for bravery! Beautiful photos of a real little beauty, and I am all for rewilding too.
    The jive was amazing! You could not tell who was the celebrity and who was the professional.

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    1. Same here re spiders. I am trying to get better because it feels wrong for an ecologist to have any kind of creature-related phobia!
      That Jive was the only dance I've seen on Strictly where I didn't watch the professional dancer once. He was just SO GOOD it was a dream to watch :o)

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  5. Love the spider but there again I have a soft spot for them! I thought that jive was absolutely amazing too - and wound it back as well to see it again. I can't believe how good it was so early in the series! Must admit I didn't realise he had had dance training but there again many of them often seem to have similar experience.

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    1. I suppose any kind of performance artist is likely to have had some professional training in the past, but even so, it was pretty damn amazing. I like Strictly but I've never watched a dance more than once, until that one :o)

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    2. Ps- meant to add- my nieces have just sent me a pic of a Clifden NP they found this afternoon on a tree in their school playground! Moth box out tonight me feels.... :o)

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  6. I'm not a fan of spiders but have to admit this one is a beauty. I grew up around Black Widows so I am always watchful and very careful when reaching into areas that are not clearly visible.

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    1. Yikes! I would be petrified of Black Widows! :o)

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  7. I am afraid that I skipped all the spider stuff - too much of a scaredy! The patchwork looks great, I love the fabrics! xx

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    1. I'm sorry- you know I'm squeamish about them too! Hope it didn't give you the heebie jeebies too much :o) xx

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  8. The spider photographs are beautiful - and you won't hear me say that often! Love the fabric too and I hope we get to see the finished product whatever it may be. X

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    1. Me too re spiders, but the MOWs are v pretty :o) I'll post some pics of the finished product, as and when :o) X

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  9. The spider images are stunning.......the detail amazing.
    Thank you for such an informative post.....I found it fascinating.

    Poor speckled wood.....she looked weak, I can see why she found herself in a spiders web.

    Patchwork is beautiful.....

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    1. So glad you enjoyed it Cheryl. I suspect the speckled was on the way out, judging from the damage to the wings.

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  10. Magnificent spidery-ness. I'm quite fond of them but the rest of my family aren't. We do seem to have rather a lot inside as well as out (which probably says more about my housekeeping than anything else...). I'm not a Strictly fan but I did love the Bake-Off and thought Nadiya was a very worthy winner. Lovely patchwork there :-)

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    1. I am trying to get better with spiders :-). Lots indoors here too of various species.

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  11. I do agree about that dance on Saturday night - and he is such a nice lad, so quiet and unassuming. He had a tear in his eye when he got that ten.

    Re your spiders and other nature notes - have you read 'A Buzz in the Meadow' by Dave Goulson? Enchanting book and I would have thought right up your street.

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    1. I've got it on my shelf waiting to be read :-)

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  12. The MOW in the last shot looks as though she is wearing a lacy garment...how beautiful is that?!
    Jane x

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  13. Hi, I'm new to your blog and I think it's lovely. You come so highly recommended by some of my blogging friends that I had to check you out. This is a really interesting post. I'm normally very afraid of spiders but I really don't mind orb weavers. They're rampant in my part of the world this fall. I have one very nice girl one on my back porch. She has been there since early August and we love to watch her. She rebuilds her web every evening. She's pretty too, kind of a yellow-orange color. I'm glad you enjoy orb weavers as much as I do.

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    1. Hi Jennifer and welcome. Thank you for the lovely comment. I'll pop over to see you :-)

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  14. yes it is a pretty spider as psiders goes!! Love Strickly. Thhey are amazing this year.

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  15. I will look out for that spider although we don't have any water (yet). We do have some very interesting garden spiders at this time of year, just the house spiders that give me the creeps! Great shots CT.

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  16. What a fantastic spider - I hadn't even heard of it, let alone seen one! Great photos too! And yes I actually watched that jive twice as well! Am a big Strictly fan.... :-) xx

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    1. They are v pretty and surprisingly I can admire them without wanting to run away shrieking! x

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  17. i'm afraid i had to scroll over the spidery bits of this post, rather quickly. i actually avoided this post for a few days because The Spider was looming large in my Bloglovin feed and it made me tremble a bit......

    i did manage to catch your bit about the Wild Bank, which makes me grin because we've got one of those too. i sometimes make half-hearted efforts to tame it as it borders the driveway and is the first thing anyone sees as they come around the corner and start to climb the little hill up to the house......but it inevitably gets away from me.

    no insights on the dance bit -- we don't have regular telly -- but if you're ever in mind to discuss Doctor Who [we're only just finishing the second series] or Downton Abbey or Vera......

    xo

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    1. Oh dear- sorry about that my lovely! I am usually very wobbly when it comes to spiders too but I am trying to overcome that. Getting better, slowly :o) XX

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x