Nature's Place

Mother and Children …

A few questions have been answered, regarding what mother would do once the children are born, and what she does to eat – she has lost so much weight in the process apparent in her much reduced rear body.

About 50 tiny Huntsman spiders have hatched so far, with some dead already, and the sac is still looking full so I expect more in the coming days. But so far it has been interesting to observe the behaviour of the much maligned spider. In this case a mother, and she has gone hungry over a period of weeks to ensure the best for her babies, staying to protect them – most of the time – and eating whatever was unfortunate enough to wander her way. I am impressed by her maternal instinct, her devotion to the little ones – though instinctive it may be, is it ever any other way.

While I was watching I noticed she was chewing down on something that has come her way – you can see the stick/leg bits hanging out from under, an opportunity for some nourishment that would keep her going a little while longer – good for the babies prospects.

I tried to give a wider view of the situation, but restricted by the proximity of walls and things while doing my best not to disturb her the shots I got are the best I can do for now. Don’t want to frighten her off so she might not come back. It’s really a matter of intruding as little as possible so nature takes its course.

I also changed the lighting I was using, a modified snoot/diffuser that requires further refinement. Something to match the working distance relative to the magnification required for the shots, some of which are cropped slightly. It all works in the end, when you know the principles involved.

I may post another of this series if significant events occur that I am present for.

For those who wanted to know what happened next.

Mother rules Ok!

Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture to enlarge in a new tab


Mother, Mother …

… In the dark of her den. Sitting there, listening to her little ones.

She has been sitting on her nest for over a week now. I had to move her from the garage while rearranging things but noticed in time there was a resident. So I put her in a suitable place, protected from the elements and unnecessary intrusion, and she has done fine.

Once I noticed she had actually moved the big white sack holding the young uns – which is attached to the wood only around the edges by silk ties, from one end of the wood to the other which was a closer/tighter fit allowing access only from the sides and no longer from atop. A security strategy I believe, to minimise directions of danger.

Another time I saw the nest was unattended and thought the move may have been too much and she abandoned it, as sometimes happens in nature, but she returned – probably from hunting or this one.

She must get hungry sitting on that egg sack for so long, outside my front door for over a week now and before that for I don’t know how long.

I had a mother once and then she died. Everybody dies, it’s ok.

She loved her children as only a mother can, in spite of our obvious failings – especially the boys, especially me – the epitome of rebellious.

The boys, young and old, because we are the more arrogant and troublesome. But girls too. And if you weren’t that your mother was lucky indeed.

But the point is Mother carries, births, nourishes and teaches what she can. She sees, experiences more of the children than the father, and so is more insightful and loving of them, regardless.

That’s what I see in Mother. Mother loves.

Our Mother, the Earth itself, loves us all and will take any punishment we throw at her. But one day she will let us know when we are not doing right by her, because we will hurt ourselves beyond repair otherwise – especially the boys, especially the older ones, who should know better by now.

Mother cares like no other.

Thank you, Mother.

The children will be out to play soon. :)

Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture to enlarge in a new tab


Dry Time

The long year of rain that washed the bugs away has been followed by a long season of dry, and few bugs are emerging that I can find, not even the Ticks. I had anticipated something of the sort with my gardening work, lots of seeds sown and plants watered with a compost area for bugs to eat and congregate in. The Possum likes the fruit as well. So it’s not all void of creatures to enjoy, albeit tiny creatures mostly.

Even so, everywhere I go there are maturing well fed spiders. It looks like food a plenty but could be a survival strategy, get a net up to catch what you can while there is any catching to be done. But we’ll see how things unfold.

What is coming can be predicted in the big picture, more or less, but the details are unknowable in their timing and context. That wonderful unknown.

There is nothing wrong with there being so few bugs, it’s just different. Last year they were so plentiful at the same times there are few or none this year.

The weather is very different this year, wetter, colder, windier and dryer at different times. And still nature is what it is behind, unmade, of a greater power than man, waving in time.

The one grace of existence, the unmade shining through.


And here are a couple pix anyway. What a little wonder. And no sign of hunger.  :)

Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge


Tick Tick

Gi’s a hug!


Nobody’s favourite animal, the tick. Except another tick, maybe.

This one is in shock after I brought it from upstairs wrapped in a tissue. It had hitched a ride home on my clothes and lucky enough I saw it before it dug in. Not so lucky a couple other times recently when one had dug in, hip and back of head. These ticks can cause paralysis and death if left long enough, the former would not be nice. The odd thing is you don’t feel them until they are dislodged and the site becomes swollen, itchy and often a running sore from some exotic bacteria.

You can see its eating gear between the two flaps, it looks to have serrated or barbed edges that make it easy to get in and difficult to get out. The flaps to either side open out for it to insert into the body and suck away, and deliver a neurotoxin at the same time. This one is a mother too.

I have seen them in the long grass, sitting at the tip with outstretched ‘arms’ waiting to embrace some passerby. These creatures have such a grip they won’t be flicked off easily, like Velcro, something to do with the little white pads on the end of the legs – I reckon.

Ambush parasites, relentless and tenacious – that’s just nature, at times – our nature. If you walk in the rainforest, or the concrete jungle, it’s only a matter of time before one grabs you – if you need the experience.

Everything has its place in our nature, that’s for sure.

You just have to deal with it when it bites. ((:

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

Except another tick, maybe.

‘Shield’ Bug

When I first approached this bug I could see it was sitting on eggs and I didn’t want to frighten it off. So I tested its response to my presence by bringing my finger towards it from above and moving it from side to side. It responded by moving with my finger so the eggs were shielded from the direction of my finger. I thought, maybe that’s why they are called shield bugs, they shield their eggs from predation – so it seems.

I noticed she had her proboscis down on the eggs and thought she would be checking the condition of the eggs, not unlike any mum would feel her prospective young. I went back from time to time over the next week but there was no change so I didn’t try for more shots, only the side angles available without risking serious disturbance, and I wanted to see the young when they hatched.

Then, ten days after the first shot, through downpour after downpour – when it rains here it pours, I saw something had changed, there were fewer eggs. So I had a closer look and she was eating them, the eggs.

She hadn’t moved in all the time I had observed and she must have been starving, she was that unsteady on her feet. Maybe the eggs proved nonviable, some of the eggs look off in #4 and none of them looked like anything was developing inside as could be expected, and she was just doing what came natural, living to breed another day.

Today the only sign anything happened on the spot was the minimal debris where the eggs had been attached to the leaf.
The natural creatures are naturally conservationist. You can’t judge the God made.

Waste not, want not.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

A Mother Fly





She was a beauty, about ¾ inch long, lovely colour and undamaged by her eventful life, no dents in her eyes or broken hairs on her face. In fact she was the picture of health, as I know a fly can be.

This huge fly found its way into the laundry the other day. It was on the window glass and I couldn’t induce it to have some honey and slow down. It had other things on its consciousness, demanding its attention.

I followed it around for a while trying to get a decent shot of it, even moving. Eventually I decided to trap it in glass and that worked. After a few minutes under the glass it stopped still, so I lifted the glass and it remained calm. It climbed up the side of the glass and sat there for a while.

After a short time it tried to fly away and fell to the window sill, buzzing around on its back, wings beating loudly against the surface. I remember big flies doing this from when I was younger, much so.

I noticed its behind was white and I took shots of what was presented to me. When I looked on the LCD I could see tiny grubs and it clicked. It was a she and she was giving birth.

There were many, maybe 100, of these grubs scattered around the buzzing mother. It appears the fly goes a little manic with the readiness of birth which causes her to scatter her young. That would be better than to leave them all in one place, a ready meal ensuring an end to her line, not very evolutionary that.

Then, a little time later, she died.

And that’s the way of it here.


Unless you know purpose and can live it.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

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Mother Nature

It’s called a money tree – the leaves you can see, by someone, way back when I can’t remember. Where the wasp has started building a nest, a paper wasp, a paper nest. She is alone in the endeavour and there are at least three cells of the hive occupied so far. I have seen the little grub she leaves in the cell, a tiny thing about two millimetres long. And she spends a lot of time away from the hive, probably hunting food to put in with her young, her little babies. Food entombed in sensational paralysis to be eaten as needed, alive. My magnificent nature.
Whenever I go to have a look at the nest she fronts up and eyeballs me. Stands up tall, spreads her wings and ‘rattles’ her front legs at me. She is serious about her young, and dangerous if disturbed. But she won’t waste the energy harassing me if I don’t give her good cause by disturbing the nest. I wonder if she will get used to me, maybe one of the young will be my friend? I don’t think so somehow. Not these wild creatures, their instinct is too basic, no facility for socialising. But who knows, there are exceptions. Watch this space.
Isn’t she magnificent the way she poses in defence of the hive, the beautiful instinctive intelligence to survive in form rendered as a bold defiant stance, against all comers. And that she never has a doubt about what she is doing, no wasted thought, no wasted energy. All her energy going to what she is designed for, to live as wasp and reproduce, against all comers. Magnificent nature.
The fact is I see this, perceive this, in me. Inside. I re-cognise this part of my nature represented in the wasp. It is my nature, since I came ‘up’ through the species, the instinctive psychic structure and not just the appearance in sense. And it is still a part of me, a part of my nature now, in my psyche. The beauty of it is in recognising it I see the being of it, me being that, before thought gets in to distort and make something else of it.
It is wasp and, as clear as my attention to it is, I am being that, in the moment. When ‘that’ is not I am, being, no problem. The best I can. The same goes for any other nature I cognise, when thought or emotion doesn’t get in the way there is only ‘that’.
© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

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