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Saturday, September 27, 2008

1st Hike of Autumn, 2008

I seriously needed to lift my mood this afternoon, so Charles & I went to the Flatwoods for a hike. There we heard 2 or 3 barred owls (one was particularly close,) although we didn't see them. Today seemed to be "spider day" (with a minor in butterflies.) As usual, click for larger views...

One of many crab spiders (aka; spiny orbweaver spiders.) These relatively small spiders took a back seat to the plethora of much larger golden silk orb-weaver spiders that we saw throughout our hike. Their bodies (sans legs,) are up to an inch long. Add legs & I DON'T want them on my face, particularly as each one seemed larger than the one before!

Like this one (above,) some of them had missing legs.
They were just everywhere. These are a small sampling of the dozens of pictures I took.

A gulf fritillary.

Thanks to my blogger buddy, Tom for narrowing this flower down to some kind of bidens. It looks much like the tickseed sunflower shown here, but another page said they're not found in Louisiana. I'm grateful to even be in the ballpark, however!

2 shots of the Abita Creek. This was what flooded our entire neighborhood during Hurricane Gustav. I often have a hard time photographing the creek, as the shots end up looking washed out (pardon the pun,) but I like these.


Backlit Spanish moss.

Restoration of longleaf pine savanna. As evidenced by the tree trunks, this whole area was blackened by prescribed fire just this last Spring.

A common wood nymph (aka; satyr) butterfly.

We also saw a few tiny deer tracks & a small pile of animal guts left on the boardwalk (I got a picture of the guts, but thought I'd spare my readers the gore.) I felt much better by the time we got home (where we found 4 crows helping themselves to seed in our backyard.) Now that I've been outside for the first time in a few months (our Gustav experience notwithstanding,) I'm starting to feel human again.

35 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

starting to feel human? Are you insulting my wife? Human? indeed!

Lana Gramlich said...

*LOL* Yes...my bad entirely, baby!

Erik Donald France said...

Awesome photos, some of them quite eerie -- and with barred owl soundtrack. Spooky.

Rosy said...

Interesting looking spider that crab spider is and I am much like you...I wouldn't want any spider on my face either!

Those yellow flowers almost look like Cosmos however it is really hard to say without looking at the rest of the plant. Pretty flowers though.

I have arrived from abe's bird blog and I am glad that I did.

Virtual Voyage said...

So different to here. The gulf fritillary is a beauty....flowers are similar to a type of sunflower we have here, or cosmos.

Miladysa said...

Awesome photographs Lana!

But, OMG!!! Those spiders! I never want to see them in real life. They are bigger than some of our dogs!!!

Lana Gramlich said...

erik; Thanks. I was hoping to maybe get another shot of an owl, but no luck today. Couldn't figure out why they weren't helping themselves to the delicious, nutritious guts left on the boardwalk, either.

rosy; Glad to "meet" you. :) Hope you enjoy your visit(s.)
I wouldn't mind the crab spiders on my face--they're relatively small & easily brushed away. It's the monstrous golden orb weavers that'd make me pee my pants! *L*
I need to bring my field guide next time I go out there hiking. It seems that regardless of how many things I remember to bring (i.e.; sun hat, camera, binoculars, etc.,) I'm always forgetting at least SOMEthing!

julie; It's interesting for me, as well, as I'm used to the US temperate zone, myself. Moving to the subtropical zone has been almost like moving to Mars. I went from knowing SO MUCH about the local flora & fauna to knowing virtually nothing at all. I'm always up for more learning, though, y'know? :)

miladysa; My 1st Spring down here I almost walked face-first right into one of those spiders. Fortunately Charles saw the horror unfolding & grabbed my arm & yanked me back! With legs, those spiders are about 4" long! That's enough to freak me out...and I don't MIND spiders!

Travis Erwin said...

We have a lot of spiders right now as well.

Shauna Roberts said...

Great spider pics! I've never seen a crab spider before; it looks like something from another planet.

Middle Ditch said...

Wow, I have never seen a crab spider before and am not sure I want to. That flower looks a bit like a wild primrose but I could be wrong.

I have loads of spider webs in the garden, those large spiders with a cross on them. I find them fascinating and what fascinates me the most is that all those wild bees, sucking up the last of the nectar, somehow manage to avoid all those huge webs.

Lana Gramlich said...

travis; Perhaps I need to learn more about the life cycle of these spiders. That might be interesting.

shauna; Yes, crab spiders are quite odd looking. I have one shot of just the silhouette against the sky & it totally looks like a UFO!

middle ditch; I know what you mean! Even as we hiked, there were all kinds of butterflies, bees, syrphid flies, dragonflies, mosquitos, etc., but we didn't see a lot of web activity. I wonder if some insects have their own built in detection systems...

laughingwolf said...

wow... never even heard of a crab spider... add that to my list of good guys!

great stuff again, lana :)

ChrisEldin said...

Beautiful photos, Lana. There's another blogger I like (also an artist!) her name is Cindy Pon, and she has been posting spider pics lately.

Being outside is healthy in many ways. I'm glad you're taking the time to enjoy the sights and refresh your mood.

I've gone through a round of rejections for the past year or so. Don't know if it's similar or not, but here's a cyber {hug}.

Lana Gramlich said...

laughingwolf; Yeah...the first one I ever saw I was like, "what the hell is THAT???" But I was like that about a lot of things down here. After a while they grow on you...like the mosses & molds & slimes that make S. Louisiana their home. *LOL*

chris; Thanks much for the hug, I appreciate it. One of the differences between writing & art that I don't like is that with writing, at least you might get some kind of rejection letter stating why. In art you rarely even get that. I had to laugh at the reception later when the jurist was trying to encourage those of us who had been rejected, stating that he hoped we'd "learn" from it. I'm considering writing him a letter to ask exactly how we're supposed to "learn" when no advice, reason or even personal contact had been extended at all.
Being outside is a fundamental part of my being & even if I hadn't hooked up w/Charles, I was planning to move South at some point, anyway. 7 months of CND Winter was just getting to be too much to bear. Now, instead, I'm stuck inside for Louisiana Summers, but they're only 2-3 months, which is considerably more bearable!

Travis said...

Fortunately, we are heading out of nasty spider season in my area.

Birdfreak said...

A hike is a great way to lift the spirits.

Wicked cool spider photos!

Lana Gramlich said...

travis; That must be a relief for you!

birdfreak; Thank you! Yes, I'm looking forward to very many hikes, now that the weather's bearable. :)

Steve Malley said...

Glad you're feeling better! There's nothing like a walk in the woods...

Tom said...

Lana- I think your yellow flower is a Bidens species, I don't know the species that you have in Louisiana. Common name is beggar's stick tights or tick-seed sunflower. They are late summer bloomers, typical of prairies, marshes, semi-wet areas, shores, etc. There are several species distributed across the U.S.

Tom

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

You always have such marvelous hikes because you notice so much!!!

WOOT! Great post and pics. I have never seen that beautiful wildflower either. Wonder what it is?

Hugs, JJ

Bird said...

That crab spider is wonderful, it's getting nicely spidery here too but I am pretty envious of that one :)

Lana Gramlich said...

steve; You said it! ;)

tom; Looks like you're right on--thanks so much. :) I'll update the post when I get home.

jj; I find it hard not to notice things in nature, y'know? There are SO many treasures out there to catch the eye. :)

bird; They sure are funky little guys!

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey beautiful,

Here's to any and all mood lifting! Love the spider shots -- I think them beautiful creature even if they creep some people out. Here's to all the happy joys of fall!

Barbara Martin said...

Beautiful photos, and a walk outside will work wonders if you haven't been feeling quite up to par. Thanks for sharing your walk and the creatures.

eric1313 said...

Your photography has so much brilliant color! It's just really a nice thing to behold.

Sorry to here about your dark mood, I sympathize completely there. And I too have found that taking a protracted walk really helps. Forget around the block. A walk that lasts for at least an hour will really help out, clear the mind and give me a fresh focus after so much sitting in front of the screen.

Still waiting to pick up a new camera, but ti will be soon.

Then maybe I too can walk with a sweet purpose.

PS the spiders look really cool! I think I too would rather just look at them from a bit of distance!

Michelle (artscapes) said...

The crab spider is so cool!!!
I love autumn... :)

Lana Gramlich said...

michelle('s spell); Spiders amaze me, personally. The patience & hard work, sometimes the size & speed. Just truly amazing creatures!

barbara; Thanks. Glad you enjoyed. :)

erik; Aw, shucks. You flatter me. ;) Yes, there's nothing like a nature hike to restore one's equilibrium, y'know? Enjoy your camera, once you get it. I'm totally spoiled by my digital now!

michelle (artscapes); Yeah, the little crab spiders are pretty cool! Speaking of which, I'm sure it's probably already sweater/jacket weather where you're at!

Aine said...

The crab spider is fascinating. My kids would love the "face" markings.

And, that flower looks just like the tickseed in my garden. (I'm no botanist, though...)

Thanks for sharing the southern flora and fauna!

laughingwolf said...

i've never been south of northern new jersey, so it'd be a nature shock for me, i'm sure! lol

Lana Gramlich said...

aine; You're welcome. Glad to have the opportunity! I'm leaning toward tickseed (on the flower,) anyway. Nothing else is SOOO close.

laughingwolf; You'd probably enjoy it at THIS time of year. Never come here in Summer, however. You can't even fathom the hell created by the heat & humidity...trust me!

YogaforCynics said...

Wow, great pics, especially the one of the spider at the very top--absolutely amazing.....

PetMono said...

great pix! love spiders! i was told that a "normal" spider weaves the perfectly geometric web pattern. the schizophrenic spider weaves the wild web...

Natural said...

that's a great great shot of the woods, (the trees and grass) just beautiful. i love the blue sky too. great contrast, the blue and green!

Dave Coulter said...

It's definitely high season for spiders! I like that dark creek shot a lot! :)

Lana Gramlich said...

drjay; Thanks, much! Now that the weather's suddenly turned bearable (if not downright perfect,) I'll be posting a lot more local nature shots.

petmono; Thanks. I'm not sure on the webs, but I do know that most of the golden silk orb weavers seemed to have 3-dimensional webs (as opposed to the "usual" 2D.) They were cool!

nw; Thank you! I often have a hard time getting the light right in such shots. I thought that one came out quite well, myself.

dave; Thanks. :)

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