|Female Crab Spider (Misumena vatia) and bee prey|
|Common Malachite Beetle|
|Brian Mark II (orange tip pillar)|
|Brown Silver-Lines moth|
|Jay (who had just eaten a Song Thrush's Child :o( )|
|Male crab spider on his ox-eye daisy|
Soon after I found her, I discovered the tiny wee black-and-white chap in the pic above, swinging in a very carefree attitude between the ox-eyes. Hmm (I thought) he's another Crab spider, albeit entirely different to Mrs C. I looked him up and discovered he isn't different at all, he's actually her husband (and about a tenth of her size).
She is eating like mad to produce enough energy to lay her eggs, which she'll fold a leaf or petal over and then stand guard over for three weeks until the spiderlings hatch. During that time she won't eat a thing and at the end of it all, she'll die. He is hanging about because he's needed to fertilise the eggs. I can't stop watching them. It's endlessly fascinating to me, these short and vital life cycles played out among a single group of flowers.
Other children in the garden this week have been five extremely noisy starling babies. They have stalked about the lawn after their parents, loudly berating them and demanding food on the spot. It went as far as actual pecking of tail feathers as well as all the gaping. This went on for two days, before the parents cracked and started shouting back at them. The kids soon got the message and I've only seen them briefly since, swinging through the sky in a great big starling mob.
The Jay is not in my good books. Hearing a terrible cacophony of furious blackbird warning calls a couple of afternoons ago when I was out setting up Badger Cam, I scrambled through the undergrowth to investigate, suspecting a stoat attack, only to find two thrushes dive-bombing the Jay who held one of their speckled offspring in his feet. He wasn't remotely worried about the parents, but he was afraid of me. He dropped the baby as I approached: I found it still warm lying crumpled in the leaf litter at the foot of a tree. It's nature in action, but it always troubles me when it's young animals.
On a happier note, the Beautiful Demoiselle is a new garden addition. I'm not convinced it came from the pond because they are usually nymphs of running water, but it was a joy to see it anyway. The Red Damsel did come from the pond- there are loads of them eclosing this week in the sun, along with one or two blues. Brian (caterpillar) has hatched from the orange tip egg I showed you in a previous post. I have to remind myself not to look too often for him because he's about the size of a very thin piece of cotton and I worry about smudging him with my thumb :o)
Cooler here today and rain is forecast tomorrow, so I'm off to Hobbycraft to restock ribbons and bias binding for various sewing projects.
Hope all are well?