Flies and Spiders and Squirrels, Oh My!


Bee on a bush by my deck.

Bees are a buzzing around the bushes that surround my deck, which are in bloom. They draw butterflies, too, but many more bees.

I went on a safari on a Wednesday morning and came back alive.

Not that I was ever in that much danger, although danger did pop up once. I just had a few minutes to kill as the family group I was with prepared for a shopping outing, so I grabbed my Nikon and shot a few critter photos.

I love being outdoors in summer, even if I’m already nursing an infected mosquito bite. Mostly, I love the plants, but the bugs, birds, reptiles and mammals that surround even in the city are fascinating, too.

As a gardener, I have mixed feelings about squirrels. Sure they are cute, but they dig up and eat lots of things, too. Still, any Iowa gardener would rather spot a tree rat than a bunny any day.

Anyway, I was hoping for some other creatures. A robin couple who lost their first brood to some unknown catastrophe—one day there were babies, the next day a mere shell of a nest—are building a new nest and apparently going to try again. I observed Mr. Robin fruitlessly tugging at the rope to my hammock swing—attempting to get some of that nice white string for the nest, I assume.

But the robin couple were AWOL this morning, as was a monarch I’ve observed hanging around recently, as were the cardinal couple who must be nesting nearby but whose nest I have not found. Audrey has spotted some hummingbirds, but I have not seen any yet this year and didn’t get a chance Wednesday morning trying to capture those elusive nectar drinkers.

Still, there were other birds to see and other critters to photograph. At one point, I was shooting a squirrel and it ran over the fence and into the woods. Undaunted, I opened the back gate to give photographic chase.

And was very daunted when I returned to me yard. I reached for the gate to shut it, and right were I was planning to put my hand, there she was. I assume she, just due to her massive size.

It was a spider, a September-huge one, easily three inches from tip of forelegs to aft.

Spider

Spider. Yes, the bottom of the board is exactly where I would normally rest my hand when shutting and locking the gate. The spider ran off without action on my part after a short photo shoot, but jeepers.

Probably not all that harmful, but still. A bit of a shock. Well, I didn’t harm the insect-eating monster—as I’ve blogged before, I try to respect spiders because I want them to be effective predators of other things that really do bite me—and instead snapped her photo.

It was near the exciting end of my safari, which turned out to be just slightly more exciting than I had expected.  My safari photos on Flickr.

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