I was taking a quick wander around the garden tonight and I spotted a small rounded spider crawling across a tightrope of silk.
At first I thought it was a European Black Widow but on closer inspection it was an equally cool Triangulate Cobweb Spider.
The scientific name is Steatoda triangulosa. Any spider belonging to the species of Steatoda is known as a False Widow due to the similar size and shape of a Black Widow. This species is not known to have any issues with biting humans but of course as with any spider a rare allergic reaction could occur.
I snapped this quick shot on my smartphone (more information continues below).
These eat other insects and spiders and can even be known to eat the only real problem spider here in Portugal, the Brown Recluse. It also eats ticks! It’s unusual to see one out in the open like this, but suspect I may have disturbed it as I cut back the large Rosemary that grows in the garden earlier today.
The name comes from the triangular patterns on its back. The female can grow to just 6mm in length.
Today (or actually yesterday because I’ve noticed it’s actually now after midnight) I gave my first Photography lesson at the fantastic new Algarve International School near Vale do Lobo. They have a great concept of teaching in which the students are given the opportunity to learn creative subjects. I am honoured to be part of this new exciting school and will be teaching one afternoon a week.
As part of the introduction to cameras I shared my memories of the first photos I took that had a purpose other than holidays snaps. It was 1990 and I was in exam year of my GCSEs. I chose to write my Geography Coursework on River Errosion. I required photographs of bends in the local Rhymney River to include in my project. Remember this was 1990, no digital cameras and not even a PC to type it on. My school had one PC and even the IT Teacher didn’t know how to use it. He didn’t know how to turn off Jingle Bells playing everytime it was turned on either, I never did get found out for doing that, in May!
Anyway, my camera of choice was a Boots Tele 110, yes I had a fancy one that was a huge £3 more expensive than the Mini 110. It had a mechanical switch to change from the normal lens to a telephoto lens.
This morning, I could hear a call that was familiar, but couldn’t quite place it. On taking a look, it all came back to me, there was a male Blue Rock Thrush calling in the garden. I grabbed the binoculars and waited. I wanted to see where it was going. Near to the house there are 2 ruins and I suspected it would head to the larger of the 2. I wasn’t wrong!
I didn’t want to get close as it’s obviously choosing a new nest site and didn’t want to destroy any chances of it being so close. Today is a terrible day for bird photography with heavy grey wet skies.
I did manage to get a a couple of shots of him from a distance. I didn’t spot the female, but in this terrible light, she would be quite difficult to spot as she is much more like a female Blackbird in appearance so would blend in with the trees and bushes. I really hope that they will remain here, the perfect nest site for them and I will bring you some amazing shots of them.
Yesterday morning whilst walking the dogs, I spotted a pair of Kingfishers already playing “Kiss Chase” up and down the river. This is a ritual that a mating pair carry out at the start of the breeding season. It’s not even March yet!