Male crab spider (probably)

araneus quadratus
When I first posted this, I very tentatively identified it as a male four spot orb weaver spider (araneus quadratus) (maybe). Or possibly a marbled orb weaver ( araneus marmoreus var. pyramidatus). I hadn’t found the I.D. especially easy, and asked if anyone knew better, for them to please tell me! Thanks to two very assured comments below, I have now changed the I.D. to an adult male crab spider (misumena vatia). Thank you both. I should perhaps give up trying to identify the bugs I find in my garden as my success rate is woefully low. Anyway, this tiny crab spider was photographed peering over a leaf in a tree rather high up and I was using my macro lens when I spotted it, so these are big crops. A characterful little thing.
araneus quadratus

Hardy spider


Hello there!

This tiny spider has been hanging out in my olive tree for weeks now, happily oblivious to freezing temperatures and snow. It is a colourful and rather acrobatic addition to my garden.


And, for my next trick…

Moody jerked his wand, and the spider rose onto two of its hind legs and went into what was unmistakably a tap dance.
Everyone was laughing — everyone except Moody.
“Think it’s funny, do you?” he growled. “You’d like it, would you, if I did it to you?”
The laughter died away almost instantly.
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Spider in red


This shot didn’t make the cut first time around but it has been growing on me so I thought I would share it. The spider was completely hidden under sumach leaves so the light is poor but I like it anyway.

Over on The Shed Gallery’s Blog today, my post is about photographing flying bugs. If you have been reading Focused Moments since the beginning, you will already know the piece as it is almost the same as one I posted here in April. If not, why not pop over – I share all my secrets, such as they are 😉

Autumn unending

funghi  This year Autumn seems to be extra colourful and extra long.  I have been gazing all week at the extraordinary hues of the sycamores and beech trees in my neighbourhood.  Some photos will follow in another post. But I thought I couldn’t let Autumn pass without at least one shot of another characteristic part of the season, funghi.

macro spider on webAnd then of course there has to be a minibeast.  This shot of a spiderling will never be a competition image – the background is too busy.  But I could hardly resist sharing the little critter’s autumnal livery.


Finally, here’s a truly terrible shot but I include it because it is my first ever recognisable photo of a bat in flight!  Karen Anderson, of Modern Memory Keeping, and I went for a morning stroll in Painshill Park the other day and to our astonishment spotted this bat flitting about between the trees.  Of course, I had my macro lens on, but I gave it a go anyway.  What the little thing thought it was doing out and about at nearly noon is anyone’s guess.  I suspect stocking up on some last minute protein before hibernation.

More endless Autumn next time.



Autumn fire

Sumach leaves
Continuing the Autumn theme, this post features images of my sumach tree. The leaves turn the most gorgeous shades of orange, red and even pink at this time of year. As the tree catches the last rays of sun to leave my garden, it is a popular spot with the garden’s minibeasts too.
spider on sumach
A few days ago, I featured a tiny green spider which I misidentified as the cucumber green orb spider. I really should stop trying to identify minibeasts because I get it wrong oftener than I get it right! I now think that little critter was nigma walckenaeri. Oh well. I am, therefore not even going to try to identify this little gem of a spider crouching under a sumach leaf. Any spider experts out there, by all means chip in! Suffice it to say it’s a pretty little thing, for a spider.
green and red spider
Here it is again, toning in rather nicely with its colourful surroundings. I was trying to get under the tree to photograph the little fellow when an altogether more conventionally beautiful surprise visitor alighted on another leaf.
butterfly on leafThis delight is a ‘small copper’. I have never seen one of these in my garden before. It rested for a few seconds, just time for me to get a couple of hasty grab-shots.
butterfly on sumach
What a beauty, its colours perfect for Autumn! Seeing it quite made my day.
sumach leaves
I was planning to fell this tree as it is in the wrong place for all sorts of reasons. It has made tons of small sumachs which I can plant in a better place. But, after all this colour and buggy action, to fell it seems rather ungrateful, doesn’t it?

The secret world of the smallest things

fly on santolina

Misty morning

As Autumn sets in and the larger, more showy insects start to disappear, my macro lens turns to the smallest creatures, so small that I can only see the details by photographing them and cropping.  Each of these critters is much smaller than they appear here, hardly noticeable as they go about their secret lives.

fly and prey on grass


Carrying your prey across a tightrope of the thinnest grass stem is just showing off.

fly in golden grass

Golden grasses hide a wealth of miniature life

I like to show these critters with plenty of space around them, to show how very small they are.  And their landscape can sometimes be as intriguing as the insects themselves.

spider and prey

Small but deadly

Beware the silken hammock

spider in web
A beautifully woven hammock of silk catches the light. Inside, a tiny green spider awaits its next meal.
Cucumber green orb spider
When I first posted this I identified it, rather hesitatingly, as araniella cucurbitina, the cucumber green orb spider. I suspected a female given the size of that shadow. The males are more streamlined:
spider in web

However, I now think the spiders in this post may be nigma walckenaeri.  Any experts around? There are several rather pretty spiders lurking among the turning leaves of my sumach tree. I can’t positively identify the next one through all the silk but it may well be another araniella cucurbitina.  Or maybe not…
green spider in silk
It is definitely spider season here. I wish all the huge ones presently invading my home looked like these instead.