Posts Tagged ‘thistle’

Fluff Fallout

The appearance of the thistles have changed considerably since earlier in the season.

They went from an insect/spider magnet to

fluffy “balls.”

Notice the yellow seed in the middle. and how many seeds have already dropped from their means of transportation.

Fluff (down) has been dropping for quite a while now. It piles. It rains and it gets matted down somewhat. Then more continues to fall.

The wind kept these moving while I took pictures. Obviously, the downy structure creates a tangle, and most of the seeds have already dropped.

  American goldfinches don’t begin nesting until summer when the earlier thistles are past bloom. They line their nests with the thistle’s down.

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Thistles … Have Visitors?

What was this crab spider thinking? How did it even get on the tip of this thistle bud?

How can prey get to it?

Thistles have bloomed for a while out in the middle of my weed patch because there’s more sun light there. I’ve been watching the shorter ones growing on the south side of the weed patch. They are getting more sunlight now that the sun’s moving farther south.

The pattern on the buds looks like it’s been stitched, and I’ve photographed it often.

Only tiny insects could crawl around on these plants.

The words hostile environment come to mind.

I checked the spider in the evening, and it was gone. I assumed it lowered itself on a strand of silk … wonder if it lowered itself onto the bud in the first place?

These pictures are from the next evening.

This one was on a different bud. It didn’t like the attention, and

it did a quick side-step, angling downward. It also angled its body outward.  I assumed this posture was meant to threaten me by making itself look bigger.

Then it resumed its patient-waiting position.

I didn’t see the tiny jumping spider at the base of this bud until I saw the picture on the computer. Obviously, thistles have more activity around buds than I expected, and will have even more when they bloom.

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Then I found more interesting things around the thistles this evening. (the next night).

This spider’s pale coloring and faint markings makes me think it recently molted.

Three of the thistles changed dramatically in the last 24 hours. If you look close, about a third of the way up, you’ll see a tiny darkish winged insect.

The prey here looked like maybe a beetle. It was a 16th of an inch at the very most.

Cute … for a Spider

I chuckled when I saw this crab spider “staring” back at me. There’s the “hat” design, its face and even suspenders. The hat and face are on its abdomen and the suspenders on the thorax.

How cute!

It was patiently waiting for insects to visit the thistle flowers for a nectar meal.

I’m sure prey wouldn’t see any humor in the situation.