Nature's Place

Stormy Weather


It has been raining heavily on and off for a few days now. Where I am, on an open plain one kilometre from the beach, the weather usually comes in from the sea. This has meant I haven’t been able to go very far into the bush here before there is so much water I can’t go on. The tracks are sodden in many places and under water in others.

On my walk today I very soon came upon a big spider making her web in a small clearing in the bush. This is the biggest spider of its kind I have yet seen. its body must have been at least an inch across. A golden orb spider. Its silk is a golden colour and her web was big enough to accommodate a number of smaller spiders, maybe males, or just hitchhikers – opportunists taking advantage of her great work in building such a magnificent web.

At the western end of the old house where I live there are two rainwater tanks. One is very old and the other relatively new. I take my water from the new one and the old one is used as an overflow tank. The drainpipes from the house roof run into the top of the new tank and this is where the green tree frogs live, in the pipes, above the inspection hole.

I have also made a little house for the frogs next to the inspection hole. Only one frog has used this as far as I know, a few days ago – perhaps when a lot of debris came down the drain pipe in a heavy downpour. It’s nice to see ones work appreciated.

The old tank is literally falling apart, the top is rusted at the edge and there are a number of significant leaks. The last tenant tried to patch it up but it’s so old any effective patching only serves to put more pressure on another area and a new leak develops.

I just leave it as it is and put water tolerant plants in the way of the leaks, and receptacles to catch the water for the green frogs to bathe in, they do love a good soaking when the weather has been dry.

When the old tank leaks bad enough, that is when the mozzies can get in to breed, something will have to be done. Until then it is a resource for the natural plant, animal and insect life.

I saw an assassin bug on the rhubarb leaf the other day. The assassin didn’t do much, just moving slowly about his patch of leaf.

There was a little neon green fly about 1cm long. There are many of these flies about recently and not all of them are green. Some have red and some are yellow, all with black stripes. I have also seen a bit of blue amongst them. Or is it the other way round – all black with different coloured stripes, green, yellow, blue and red.

They dart around the greenery chasing each other in a merry dance indeed. But only on the big leaves, where they can see each other I suspect, or where I can see them. I even saw one running on its long dainty legs after an ant a fraction of its own size and when the ant disappeared to the underside of the leaf it lost interest; maybe it has a short attention span?

There were also these two creatures mating. I have no idea what they are but I’ve seen them around the garden for the last week or so, maybe not the exact same two but closely related. Another kind of fly. Nature just keeps appearing in one form after another, there seems no end to the variety, beauty and wonder of it all.


Golden Orb SpiderSleeping FrogLeaky Water TankAssassin BugNeon FlyMating Fly’s

All copyright reserved / Mark Berkery


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