Today was our Investiture service for the Adventurers and Pathfinders. It went pretty well! David was named the Pathfinder of the Year, and he seemed surprised by that. I thought it was well merited though (which is why I choose him for that). I still need to order some insignia that was either out of stock, unavailable, or that I had forgotten, but I can do that sometime next week. The rush is off.

When we got home I took a nap. Va woke me up around 6:00pm because she had made a homemade pizza. She makes the best crust I have ever eaten. Normally, supper has to struggle to get me to end a nap, but not this time.

After dinner I went for a walk about the yard. I found some spittle on a blade of grass:

Spittle

Spittle


This spittle is made by spittlebug nymphs. They exude these bubbles to hide themselves from predators. It doesn’t work against amateur naturalists such as myself. I dove in and felt around for the spittlebug, but didn’t find one here. I moved on and found a tiny little spider on a milkweed leaf nearby:
Spider on Milkweed

Spider on Milkweed


I don’t know what kind of spider she is yet, but I haven’t tried to figure it out yet either. She had several eggs on the leaf with her, and in fact, that was the first thing I had noticed. When I looked closer, I found her too.

I moved on to the front of the property, and by then Beth had joined me. We walked along the road by the ditch, and I saw more spittle. Again, I jammed my finger in looking for a spittlebug. This time I hit pay-spit:

Spittlebug Nymph

Spittlebug Nymph


Again, I don’t know the exact species. But I thought the photo came out pretty OK! My Audubon Field Guide to Insects and Spiders only shows one species of spittlebug, so I’m going to have to look elsewhere. Spittlebugs are spread across five families (which is the level above genus in the taxonomic hierarchy). Kaufman’s (and Eaton’s!) Field Guide to Insects of North America shows three species, and says there are 54 in the US and Canada. I wouldn’t want to guess this one’s identity based on only three to compare against. This might be a job for Bugguide.

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Nice Spider

Nice Spider


I saw this spider yesterday and took several shots of it. This is the first one I snapped, and it was better than the rest. It’s funny how often that happens! You would think that subsequent shots would be (for the most part) better, but with me… who knows? I have no idea what species this is. It doesn’t seem to match any in my book (I have an Audubon Field Guide). The closest one looked a lot like this, but was much smaller. This guy (gal?) was a little more than an inch across. Maybe I’ll post it on Bugguide later.

Misumena vatia in love?

Misumena vatia in love?


Here’s a picture I took today. I’m pretty sure the large white spider is a Goldenrod Spider (Misumena vatia). I’m not positive, but I think she is being courted by a male of the same species. Either that, or she is a Goliath being attacked by a David of a different species.

This picture could have been fantastic, as when I first saw this pair, she had a paralyzed honey bee in her jaws. As I got into position to take the picture though, she dropped it 😦

This is the first and only shot I got of this trio cum duo. While I was diddling around with the camera, the spiders dropped down and hid under a leaf (from Aralia nudicaulis if you must know). The flower they are on is a false Solomon’s Seal (Maianthemum racemosa).

The first time I ever saw one of these spiders was sometime last year when I found one on a yarrow flower. The really cool thing about these is that they possess the chameleon-like ability to change color. They are almost impossible to see when they do that, as their color matches the flower they are stalking. They can go from white (like this one) to a deep golden yellow (when they are hunting on say… goldenrod).

Last year and this year, I didn’t see the spider at all when I approached the plant, but rather, I saw their victims (a wasp last year). I will be checking on this girl in the future too, in hopes of getting a really nice photo. But whether I can or not remains to be seen!

I took a pretty good walk at lunchtime today. I looked out the window and saw that it was gorgeous outside, so I grabbed my camera and my hat and I was off. I haven’t been walking as much as I should, and this was the first walk in Concord I’ve taken in September. So as I strolled along at a pretty brisk clip, I took pictures of every non-cultivated flower species I came across (except the ones I’ve already logged this month). I didn’t count them, but there were probably two dozen. I logged them at the Bloom Clock when I got home.

It was a multi-tasking walk. Not only was I exercising and logging flowers – I was also talking to Mom! I felt impressed to call her, and we talked for about 20 minutes before the low-battery indicator on my phone started beeping at me. By the time I got back to the office I had worked up a bit of a sweat. It was a tiny bit on the hot side (but still below 90, so it’s not like it was KY or VA hot – just NH hot).

On my way home I stopped at the vet to get Penny another half year supply of Frontline (tick, flea, and lice prevention meds). Traffic was a wee bit heavy in the opposite direction, so I decided to explore my way from the vet’s office to I-89. It was not where I expected it to be, so that sent me about 5 miles out of the way. It took 15 minutes for me to get from my office to the vet, and 19 minutes to get back. It was probably a wash time-wise.

Once I got home I took a walk on my trail. Three quarters of the way around I saw a huge spider hanging in a web right across the trail. So I made its portrait. This might be the best shot:

Not so itsy-bitsy spider

Not so itsy-bitsy spider


I haven’t tried to id this guy yet, but I bought a field guide to insects and spiders yesterday, so maybe I’ll take a crack in a little bit. I took a couple of shots (including this one) with flash turned off, but whenever I do that, the exposure time is automatically lengthened. So if I don’t hold the camera perfectly still, the picture comes out blurry. I decided it was worth the effort to go back into the house and grab my tripod, so I walked around the web and fetched it. Then I set it up and got one shot (but for whatever reason, it pegged the suck meter). About then Beth stepped out onto the deck and started calling to me. I made the mistake of hollering back, and the spider high-tailed it up the web until it was about 15 feet off the ground. So much for the tripod. I’ll look for this guy again tomorrow.