Monday, 14 October 2019

Spider in the house !

To be more precise, its a spider or two under the conservatory roof, throughout the long summer months I have watched the spiders spin their webs along the eaves of the conservatory, happy to leave them to do their best at removing unwanted flies and such, that have made their way into the house.

One in particular, that lives in a crack at the corner of the roof has grown to a fair size, probably a female, also very wary as she scurries back to her lair at speed as soon as she detects my presence.

I've noticed that during a particularly heavy rainstorm, the raindrops hitting the glass roof tends to bring out the spiders from their hiding places. on this occasion I thought I would try and get a photograph and identify the large female that keeps catching my eye.

And here she is, presuming she is a "she" ,  I suspected this might be one of those False Widow spiders that keep making the news, a look through my Spider field book at the possibilities narrowed it down to the  Steatoda nobilis  or Noble False Widow, later confirmed by the UK spiders on Facebook.

I was particularly pleased with this find having never seen one before, a bit of research revealed that the females are much larger than the males and can reach a size of 2 to 3 cm which is very close to the size of ours. ( I,m taking this measurement covering the spread of her legs) so a female she is. The males being much smaller.
The pale marking around the front of the body is another indicator of Noble False Widow , its also said that the marking on the body sometimes resembles a skull, not on this one though.

Steatoda nobilis Noble False Widow
A few more images of the female.

As I mentioned before several other smaller spiders also living around the conservatory roof but much smaller and looking at the markings on the body are also Noble False Widows probably males.

Possible male Noble false Widow and hoverfly prey

I was initially a bit wary of  these spiders considering the scare stories that newspapers have reported in the past but it seems to be that there bite is no worse than a Bee sting,  and they scurry away as soon as they detect your presence so for the moment there safe to lead there short lives in peace, as long as they stay out of harms way.

Here's another spider taken up residence outside the house, the common garden or White Cross Spider. nothing to worry about with this one, unless you're a Mayfly !

Araneus diadematus Garden Spider and Mayfly prey.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Last of the summer Butterflies !

 The Clouded Yellow is usally my last sought after butterfly of the year, with just one sighting seen last year at Rainham Marshes in Essex. This year I was hoping to see some in Kent.

September, and several reports of Clouded Yellows at Oare Marshes caught my attention, I couldn't resist a visit, but after a long walk down the Swale towards Uplees in some sunny but probably to windy conditions brought no sightings.
 I walked around the East Flood not really expecting to see any now, until a bright yellow butterfly flew up from the path ahead, catching me by surprise, but typically it did not linger and disappeared across the inaccessible meadows next to the flood, but a sighting nevertheless.

 No more sightings for me here which was disappointing, a brief view and no photograph.

I was given some information by another butterfly enthusiast from 'Facebook' on a possibly good location to see Clouded Yellows and also the Wall Brown another butterfly I struggle to see well.

The location , Cliffe Pools, a site quite close to where I live, but a vast area to look for butterflies but worth a try.

As I walked from the car park down towards the river wall butterflies started to appear, mainly Small White and a few Small Heath, but expectantly a few Clouded Yellows started to appear , all very restless and none settling.

Small White

Small Heath

 I passed the Flamingo Pool, as it was named in my bird watching days from years gone by and walked towards the river wall. My first of many sightings of the Wall Brown started to appear, more than I have ever seen before.

Worn Wall Brown female

male Wall Brown

The embankment behind the river wall was alive with butterflies,  Small White the most numerous, Large White, Wall Brown,  a very worn Painted Lady, a very fresh Small Tortoiseshell, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Small Copper and finally a few Clouded Yellow, with just one settling for a photograph.

Clouded Yellow

Small Tortoiseshell
Brown Argus

Small Copper

Common Blue female

One last surprise sighting were these small Bees , It seemed to me at the time were making a higher pitch  hum than the usual carder bees seen. I was thinking  maybe a Shrill Carder Bee but having never seen one before I wasn't' sure.
I managed a couple of photographs and after an I.D. request discovered that they were in fact Brown Banded Carder Bee's also quite scarce, so nice to see.

Brown Banded Carder Bee    Bombus Humilis

A successful days wildlife watching, Clouded Yellow, Wall Brown and the Brown Banded Carder Bee best sightings of the day.