Mating House Sparrows and Labyrinth Spiders

Thursday, May 20, 2010 Adam Tilt 0 Comments


If you are a House Sparrow it would appear that damp, drizzly weather is the best time to be getting on with the business of mating. The bushes to the rear of the house were packed with activity and I managed to grab a picture of one of the amorous pairs. The male took three attempts before the female decided that she'd had enough and flew off, the male in close pursuit. Hopefully we will have some young House Sparrows visiting the garden soon.

12471 - House Sparrows Mating

Goppa Hill was noticeably quieter last night, although the Chiffchaffs were still in full song and the usual pair of Collared Doves seem to have gained a new companion. A single Song Thrush was perched up high on the power cables while a screeching call alerted me to a Jay flying along the Dulais. Highlight of the day mainly because they bought some colour to proceedings was a flock of five or six Linnets. They happily sat in a line along one of the field fences but alas were out of reach for my camera.

As I was exploring my eye was caught by several spider webs that were retaining water droplets and so reflecting what little light was available. Unusually these webs were flat to the ground forming a sheet approximately three or four inches in diameter. On closer inspection you could see that the centre of each web formed a funnel, at the bottom of which could just be glimpsed the legs of the sheltering resident.

12476 - Web of the Labyrinth Spider
12477 - Web of the Labyrinth Spider 12474 - Web of the Labyrinth Spider

Some googling today has revealed that these are in fact the construction of the Labyrinth Spider. Apparently the funnel leads to a series of tunnels hence the labyrinth part of the name. The spiders lie in wait until they feel a tremor in their web, at which point they emerge to make the kill. Despite my best 'fly caught in web' imitations I couldn't entice any of the residents out. I fear that they were wise to my game and decided that a warm, dry web tunnel was a much more appealing proposition. Outwitted by an arachnid. Whatever next.

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