Back on May 19th I wrote about a Nursery Spider, and this week I found a spider's nursery, although I believe this one is from a Dock Spider (Dolomedes) based on its location right beside the lake.
|Nursery Web of a Dolomedes Spider|
The spider had layed its eggs on a leaf, and then wrapped up several leaves to form a protective nursery around it. It even selected a large, sturdy leaf to give it a roof.
A mother spider will stay and guard the nest until they hatch. The spiderlings will have their first molt in the nursery, leaving their exoskeleton in the nest. These spiders had all hatched and were gone when I found their nest, littered with their first skin.
|Expended Exoskeletons from the Recently Hatched Spiders|
I can only begin to guess how many spiders hatched from this one female Dolomedes.
Farther away from the lake I came upon what appears to be a lichen growing on the base of a tree.
I walk this trail frequently and hadn't noticed it before, but lichen grow very slowly, so if that's what it is, it must have been there for quite a while considering how large it is - lichen grow less than 1/2 inch per year.
In the early morning rain today a group of deer wandered by; there were four of them in the road, with a fifth following along well up in the woods - perhaps a buck, I couldn't really see it. As the fall rut approaches, the bucks will start to monitor does, marking territory, and perhaps fighting to secure their mates. We should be seeing signs of the rut over the next few weeks throughout the woods.
With autumn upon us now, life around Lake Wicwas will start to change rapidly in many ways.