Monday, October 29, 2012

Nursery Web Spider at Springbrook

 At Springbrook's Pumpkin Night Halloween Program last Saturday we had some pretty big pretend spiders.  On Monday, as we cleaned the props after bringing them inside, this very large REAL spider jumped off a fake spider and ran across the floor. 

This Nursery Web Spider, I think Dolomedes tenebrosus, has a leg span of about 3 inches, and moves faster than most of the nature center staff are comfortable with.

This is a female, and with little left to eat outside, and cold weather coming, will be lucky to find a warm place to stay with food to eat.

I photographed her on a wild sunflower seed head.

Look at the close up of the eyes in the pictures below.

Those are her fangs covered by hair hanging down below her 8 eyes. I would not want to be a small bug trying to escape from her.

 Nursery Web Spiders have very good eyesight, and chase their prey down.  Many can also run across water.

But they do have a serious problem with eyelashes, as can be seen in the picture below.  But maybe I just found her on a bad hair day.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

3rd Oldest Hairy Woodpecker is at Springbrook

 At our regular bird banding activity at Springbrook Nature Center today we captured this female Hairy Woodpecker.  We first captured her in October of 1998 as a hatch year bird.  That makes her 14 years and some months old.  If the Bird Banding Lab decides that she is at least 4 months plus 14 years old, she will be the 3rd oldest Hairy Woodpecker ever recorded.
 She looked full of energy and bright eyed as we weighed and measured her today.  These pictures are courtesy of Amber Burnette, who was photographing while I was holding the bird and taking measurements. 

Her band was very worn and thin as can be seen in this picture and the picture below. A new band is next to her band below.

Woodpeckers often wear their bands quite thin as the band rubs against the bark of trees while the woodpecker moves up and down searching for food.  But this band was knife edge sharp on the top edge, and exceptionally thin, so we took the band off and replaced it with a new one. 

We have captured her 25 times in the last 14 years.  Let's hope we catch her for a few more years and set a record for the oldest Hairy Woodpecker ever recorded.