Spiders & Saltbush at Spoonbill Marsh

!!!!doug-carlson-@-spponbill-marsh
Indian River Mosquito Control Director Doug Carlson, pictured above in the distance, led a wonderful walk at Spoonbill Marsh on the afternoon of 11-7-2015. The saltbush (Baccharis halimifolia), the plant festooned with white fluff above, and the spiders were stupendous and somewhat commingled.
!!!!11-7-2015-group-photo-at-spoonbill-marsh
Doug Carlson, Denny Dawson, Gayle Lafferty, John Kennedy, Joan Klimm, Maria Titherington & her mom, Tara McTaggart, Diane Morgan, Steve Palmquist, Karen & Don Schuster, Lorraine & Peter Sutherland, Anna Marie & Walt Staudenmaier, Jeanne & Michael Walther and John Warner politely posed at the start of the trip.
!!!!spoonbill-@-spoonbill-by-ks
The early laggards were lucky enough to spot the one-and-only roseate spoonbill shown above in a photo by Karen Schuster (Class of 2008). She also photographed an osprey, a far more common sight, at the beginning of the trip.
!!!!osprey-at-spoonsbill-by-ks
The end of trip laggards gushed over the plentiful golden silk spiders (Nephila clavipes), one of the largest spiders found in the U.S., shown here with prey in a photo by Karen Schuster.
!!!!golden-orb-weaver-eating-by-ks
Female golden silk spiders are far larger and showier than males. When flowering, female saltbushes with their seed-laden silken bristles are far more showy than male saltbushes shown in the background.
!!!!Baccharis-halimifolia---male-&-female
Saltbush is pollinated by the wind (anemophily), and we saw an abundance of airborne saltbush seeds caught in spider webs.
!!!!golden-orb-weaver
Wind had liberated part of a spider web that had been attached to a saltbush and had entrapped lots of formerly airborne saltbush seeds so that a white foam of fluff floated in breeze.
!!!!baccharis-&-web3

3 replies »

  1. I’ve had one of these large spiders securing my VA kitchen window all summer! Fascinating to watch her inspect and repair her web. Otherwise she just seems to cling head-down in the more tightly woven bullseye of the web. I wonder if she will still be here when we return from Vero in late May? No idea how long they live. Felicity Rask, Gloucester VA >

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