Nature's Place

The One That Got Away

On my way back from Brunswick Heads today I went to the nature reserve from the Jones Road entrance. It’s a dead end road with only a few houses on it so it’s not sealed. Australia is such a huge place and with so few people it’s not affordable to seal all the roads.

Anyway, half way along this road I came to a fallen branch of a big gum tree. Some big gum trees have a habit of dropping their branches which is why it’s not wise to camp or park under them. The branch was a big one and I stopped the car to move it off the road. I’m still strong from my truck driving removal’s days, which is just as well since it was a heavy branch.

While I was tidying up the debris from the road I noticed a beautiful green beetle, iridescent I think is the word for it, it was beautiful. I picked it up and at first I thought it was dead but then it moved a back leg, so slowly.

I had the camera with me but there was nowhere in that spot to photograph the beetle. So I put it on a large leaf and took it in the car with me to the entrance to the reserve where I thought I might find a surface to put it on so I could take a picture.

When I got to the entrance the beetle was still in the same position as I first put it so I changed clothes for the walk and put on some insect repellent, I had just been for an interview. All the while keeping an eye on it in case it was alive enough to get lost in the car. But it didn’t move.

So, I was ready to take its picture and picked it up to go find a place for it, there was a tree stump close by that looked like it would do fine. Within a few seconds of me putting it in my hand it came suddenly alive and I realized at once it must be reacting to the insecticide. But before I could put it down it opened its beautiful iridescent green carapace, spread its wings and flew away with a loud buzzz. Off down the hill and into the distance. The insecticide really woke it up.

If you are having trouble getting the little ones to sit still for you try a different brand of insect repellent, you never know.

I went off down the track and after a while I went off the track and into the woods, having a look around and taking photos of the stuff that caught my eye. I was standing there looking at the shadow and light amongst the trees when out of the edge of my sight I caught the movement of something white and small moving fast along the ground.

Most creatures are camouflaged so it was an unusual occurrence. I bent down to where the white had last been and used a stick to lift a leaf or two and there it was. A spider carrying a white ball behind it. Amazing. It was a black spider and it was running along the ground carrying a white ball at least as big as its own body. (RIMG0962.JPG)

It tried hiding from me, disappearing under this leaf then that leaf and I used the stick to expose it until it gave up and stopped still. That’s when I got it.

What was the spider doing out in the open, albeit with much leaf litter for cover, carrying a big white ball for all to see. I suspect it was a nest of young she was carrying and it is probably fitting to this spider to carry them around with her since she probably doesn’t have a permanent home. The dedication and fearlessness of it, truly amazing.

I suspect she is a nomadic spider. Wandering on her piece of earth killing what she needs to eat and mating when the time comes. I wonder what happens when the young hatch? Does she kill something for them and leave them or does she nurture them for some time. Who knows what I’ll find tomorrow.

This was just off the Optus trail on the way towards ocean Shores. I went along the trail for a while and eventually came to a creek that was flowing, flowing from the swampland just back a ways. And it was lovely to see flowing water in the sunlight.

There is a certain clarity, a richness of sense and a refreshment to the mind in the sight and sound of running water. (RIMG0992+0995.JPG)

Ps. I found out it’s called a Wolf spider, I don’t know why. Maybe it’s their hunting nature; one or two kinds of wolf spider are known to hunt cane toads. And it carries its young on its back until they are mature enough to go their own way. A bit like people that.

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