A Final Post.

After eleven years of nature blogging I’ve decided to draw a line in the sand. When this blog began on Blogger it was one of the early Australian nature oriented blogs, then, a Blogger database crash prompted the creation of the present iteration on bencruachan.org, the first post appearing on 11/11/2005. It initially focused mainly on birds, but gradually broadened to feature general natural history subjects, with the latest emphasis being moths. Since then Australian nature blogs have proliferated, with many equal to or better than any found on the World Wide Web, showcasing wonderful photography and interesting and informative comment. The blog will remain on line for a while and will then close, after that it may be accessed for reference in the National Library of Australia Pandora archive. I will continue to post nature observations on Twitter, and my other site Nature of Gippsland will continue to be published and updated. The bencruachan.org home page will remain on line after moving to another host, and something new may see the light of day there. Twitter and NOG will also carry notifications. So, thanks for reading, and goodbye from Ben Cruachan Natural History.

ben

It’s the time of year when Garden Orb Weavers have got their webs strung from every suitable anchor, trees, shrubs, buildings, the rotary clothes hoist etc. etc. A torch is essential for a night time ramble, to watch them building their wonderful constructions and to avoid blundering through them. They generally consume the webs in the morning and hide in their daytime retreat, which may be a secluded spot, or in this case a shelter made by silking two leaves together. The spider is in typical daytime pose in the second image.

retreat


orb weaver

We’ve watched this one with white markings on the body grow to a good size with web to match. She was photographed while putting the finishing touches to her web.

orb weaver

All sorts of creatures come to the moth light as I’ve said many times, and the last outing was no exception. Two specimens of this large antlion lacewing, Heoclisis fundata came in.

lacewing

Crane flies too, featured many times but still good for a showing, the second image is possibly a crane fly in the long-palped group, but I haven’t been able to confirm it.

crane fly


crane fly

Longicorn beetles are regulars with their spectacular antennae.

longicorn beetle

Flies of many kinds come in, this was one I hadn’t seen before. The vestigial second wings called halteres are clearly visible in the first image and can also be seen in the first crane fly.

fly


fly

Back to spiders, it’s also the time for huntsmen to roam the walls of the house, here’s a close up of a friendly big one on the brickwork.

huntsman

And going to the other extreme, while reading a book outside I felt something on my arm, it was a tiny jumping spider, and its photo was duly taken after transferring it to the brick wall. It is close to Holoplatys planissima.

holoplatys

Working in the greenhouse I noticed a colourful tiny spider on a potted Correa reflexa, the resulting photos showed it to be a lynx spider, Oxyopes species, probably either amoenus or molarius. My thanks as usual to Robert Whyte for identifications.

oxyopes


oxyopes

And returning to where this post started, I happened to go outside the other morning and saw an orb weaver on a thread between a callistemon and a cumquat three metres apart. While I watched, it gathered up all the previous night’s web, plus a catch, and moved along the thread into its daytime retreat in the cumquat.
Fascinating to watch.

orb weaver

Click to enlarge.

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