Thursday, 31 October 2013

Boo!

The spider is Nephila pilipes, female, a golden orb-web spider, very widely distributed in the tropics from India and Africa to China and northern Australia. They can have red or yellow knees. This photo of one with red knees and eyes was taken by me in March 2006 at Nourlangie Rocks in Kakadu National Park. They measure 20 cm from toe to toe and in my opinion are probably the most scary and evil looking spider ever!
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Lunch Date: Yesterday we went to Tours to take our lovely young Romanian friend Cristina out to lunch to celebrate her graduation and to thank her for her consistently friendly and professional dealings with our clients. She has been working at the Vouvray winery Chateau Gaudrelle as an intern since the spring, but today is her last day, then she's off to Paris for a few days with friends and back to Romania and job hunting.

Charles from Chateau Gaudrelle was too busy to come, otherwise we would have included him in the lunch plans too. He tells us that the harvest has been disappointing. The quantity is only half what they would normally produce, for the second year running, so it's going to be a tough year ahead financially and to meet commitments to established customers. The sparkling wine is expected to be good, but the quality of the grapes has meant that they will make no very dry or sweet still wines and their typical sec-tendre Vouvray will be average quality.
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Nature News: A flock of Mute Swans flew over the house yesterday while I was hanging out the washing. You always notice Mutes because their wings make a loud noise. Sometimes it's a powerful whooshing sound, but yesterday's lot sounded a bit creaky, like clockwork swans.

There was a big flock of cormorants descending on the Loire at Rochecorbon as we drove along the Quai de la Loire yesterday. It looked like some sort of feeding frenzy.

1 comment:

  1. "It looked like some sort of feeding frenzy"...
    they'd probably caught a Chasseur!!

    Love the spider...
    great for Halloween...
    saw a similar shaped one about 15cm across in Uganda...
    looked like a cross between this monster and our Argiopes...
    the reason I remember it so vividly after all these years is what it was doing...
    using its weight and throwing its body in and out from the centre of the web, it was moving the huge orb...
    almost 2ft across...
    through about eighteen to twenty inches of airspace...
    it did this for around fifteen minutes and then went and harvested what it had caught...
    while I watched it got loads of flies and three large metallic-blue-winged butterflies.
    Next day we moved on...
    never saw another.

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