Spiders, Snails and a Puzzle

I didn’t manage six miles yesterday, but I did take a circuitous route home from the train station, taking me round Haweswater and through Eaves Wood. It took a while to get work out of my head and to start to fully appreciate my surroundings, but when I reached the open meadow alongside Haweswater I suddenly felt at home and began to relax. There were several large dragonflies quartering the area. I wandered across to the edge of the reed beds, hoping to perhaps find one at rest. I didn’t, but I did come across this magnificent spider…

Now I realise that some people don’t like spiders, but that’s a point of view which I have never understood. This is obviously an orb web spider, probably a female. Araneus diadematus have a white cross on their backs, the pattern here is not quite a cross – more a lizard splayed on a table for dissection, or perhaps a stylized aboriginal art lizard. So what kind of spider is this? – an amazing one.

This banded snail was right by the boardwalked path, and very fetching it is too.

The grass of Parnassus have mostly now finished flowering, but the devil’s-bit scabious is still going strong and the bumblebees were busy taking advantage.

The wet meadow at the end of Haweswater, at the moment partly flooded, is also a great place to find spiders and snails.

I think that this is a dark-lipped banded snail. The shell is a bit the worse for wear; I wonder why?

Having stopped to try to photograph this spider and the snail behind, I noticed this tiny caterpillar on a leaf above…

And this small, thin snail…

And another (different?) orb spider…

I was briefly in the woods…

Which gives me an excuse to post these extracts from Fresh Woods which I’ve been intending to quote for a while.

If we leave the little planting now, it will only be to go to another wood, and there are woods all round us in this rolling country, woods that have names, woods that thrust their pine spears into the sky and stand in solid ranks, woods that crowd the grey roads, woods that are silent and brooding, and others that are alive with the sounds of streams that pass through them. We are going to them all, for I want to take you stalking a hare in a wood, to glimpse the deer in the forest moor, the badger in the Welsh wood just a mile away, and the fox too. If you know how to make crab-apple jelly, or wine from the fruit of the bullace tree, come with me. Come with me to see the woodcock, the tree creeper, and nuthatch. If you are not afraid of a dish of mushrooms that were picked in the wood, or if you are in need of a faggot of kindling, we shall be in such a spot tomorrow, gathering a bag of hazel-nuts or a basket of giant blackberries.

There are other woods, fresh woods, woods in which I will stand tomorrow and the day after. There are always fresh woods, little corners of the countryside where the bird and animal kingdom hold sway, places where we can hear the dawn chorus, or the last little twitter before the birds sleep and the badger ventures on his round. Brush the moss from your jacket and throw away your whittled stick. What company you have been in! What an idle time-waster you have been these past few days! Haste you away across the field, back home with your bag of hazel nuts, your elderberries, your excuses for being where you have been.

In the meadow beyond the woods some tiny frayed edged toadstools were quite striking from above, the pale frills forming a corona around the grey cap.

Down in the grass there were a number of hard to identify plants. Is this a seed head?

This rose tinted leaf had me fooled at first – I thought it was a petal.

I thought that this was groundsel when I saw it, but now I’m not so sure.

I have no idea what this unusual plant is. Nor the tiny yellow spots under the leaves.

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Spiders, Snails and a Puzzle

3 thoughts on “Spiders, Snails and a Puzzle

  1. That’s a fascinating set of pictures. That lovely first spider might be Larinioides cornutus, which is most often found near water. I think the seed head-like object on the germander speedwell plant is a gall caused by a midge called Jaapiella veronicae and I think the little yellow spots on the leaves of the spurge at the bottom are a rust fungus.Wonderful part of the world you live in!

  2. beatingthebounds says:

    Thanks so much Phil – I wouldn’t have arrived at any of those identifications on my own. By water makes sense for the spider, it was on reeds right on the edge of the lake. The speedwell all seemed to have these hairy lumps so I assumed that they were an intrisic part of the plant. There must be a lot of those midges about (I can well believe that). I should however have recognised the plant as a spurge – I must have been suffering from identification fatigue! It was very tiny, but apart from that I think it was probably sun spurge.

    Thanks Schnaggli – I’ve paid a return visit and now I know where to find out more about gastropods, which is great.

    It is both a beautiful and wonderful part of the country we life in – I’m constantly aware of our great good fortune.

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