Sunday, 10 August 2008

Small ecology..

Nicole Cooke claimed the 'First blood' and the 'Union Flag will, at last be flown over the Great Wall of China..' I was informed by the BBC this morning.

Meanwhile, important things have been happening in and around the house here in Morpeth..

Last night, washing up, (A position soon to be included as a Site Of Special Scientific Interest) I witnessed the capture of a spider. By a smaller spider. I share the management of pests with this little hunter. She has a spot in the corner of the kitchen where small flies appear to proliferate. I think the walls around the window frames may be less than hermetically sealed...

In the mornings, the window sill is littered with small, dried corpses and she sits, two legs at each corner, waiting for the next squadron of unsuspecting prey.

Her last act before I retired last night, was to capture and wrap another spider. Heavier, darker and still twitching, she spun it in silk and injected a relaxant... It disappeared on my arrival at the sink early this morning.

Intending tidying her detritis, I returned to the scene.

This morning, a larger version of my cleaning lady arrived with the prepared corpse. I am convinced that this was the same victim. The larger spider returned it to her smaller colleague's web and secured it prior to feeding.

In the small jungle behind the house, where mosses, lichens and ferns have run wild, I hung a bird feeder. Optimistically, I assumed that it would be discovered in the foliage and gratefully received by Tits at least..
No such luck. I'll do it again in the winter of course.. However. My sink/hide allowed me to witness a Houdini like struggle yesterday. The Field mouse previously seen walking the walls hung, head down, burrowing and troughing the seed. A lot of it dropped to the ground and it reappeared this morning to fetch the results of yesterdays gluttony. I have not, as yet managed to capture a picture.. but this is an approximation of it's arrival...I hope to present proof before the end of the Olympics...


Sue said...

Do you now have 2 spiders, and the corpse of that other one? Or just that small fine-legged spider and the big (dead) one?
Talk about Johnny Morris!

Anonymous said...

We once had a pet spider for a few days. His name was Ralph. He lived on the side of the house by the water spigot. We visited him every day. The kids would throw bugs into Ralph's web. He would run quickly down his web when he sensed the bugs struggling. He was very efficient when biting and wrapping up his meals and snacks. We marveled at how well he did his job. The children were enthralled with him and so was I. We left for a short vacation. When we returned Ralph's web was destroyed. We never saw our Ralph again. :(