Many people will probably be glad to know that spider mating-season won’t be lasting very much longer and soon those male spiders will be very few and far between. However, some are very interesting and I recently managed to video of a smallish species called the Segmented Orb-weaver, which has a very neat tendency – the male brings a gift-wrapped prey item to the female and tries to get her to accept it so she will then allow him to mate with her. Here is the video:
In autumn many people were interested in spiders due to the surge in activity that occurs at that time of the year. Some of you contacted me to ask about different spiders, and one or two asked me if I might be providing a book for identification at some time in the future, and I promised I would do that. It took quite a while but I’m glad to say I finally finished it and it is now one of the only books on the subject available from Amazon for the Kindle e-reader:
My plan is to update the information in this book on an annual basis. It should be of useful to anybody interested in (or worried by) any of the spiders they encounter in Ireland, especially as it’s packed with photos. Feedback is welcome and will allow me to make subsequent editions more user-friendly, so anybody who decides to buy it shouldn’t hesistate to tell me where they feel improvements could be made.
When I recently showed this work to some of my friends a small number recoiled in horror at the thought of such a book, but spiders are creatures we share our world with, and no two spider species are exactly the same in appearance or behaviour. I hope this publication will at least help people to understand spiders a little better, and with a lot less fear.
If you are choosing a gift for someone very much interested in wildlife then a field scope is something that you should consider getting. A casual Google search will probably spark sheer terror, as most field scopes or “birding scopes” as they’re sometimes called, are well over a thousand euro, dollars and British Sterling. Sometimes over two thousand!
However, believe it or not, you can get field scopes for as little as €35 euro. The German optics company Bresser sells scopes for this price, and they’re remarkably good given the price. I use such a scope to watch deer grazing on a mountainside two miles from my house. This scope is a 20-60×60. This means that the strength of the scope is 20x at its lowest but can be increased to as much as 60 times the eyesight of the user. The final sixty refers to the width of the front lens, 60mm. You might need to shop around to find a scope for this price, although Aldi and Lidl do have them from time to time, and shops specialising in outdoors and opticals are likely to stock them. Army Surplus store are worth trying too.
Scopes of this price generally come with only a small window-ledge tripod, but will fit all camera tripods. You can get light inexpensive full-size tripods from most camera stores, and further afield, but do shop around.