The first I’ve seen in 21½ years in San Diego

Picture of the Moment

As much as I love wildlife of all kinds, one of the things that I really disliked about my native home state of Texas was the number of bugs.

You DID NOT want to go outside at night because you would have to turn an outdoor light on, and that meant you would be walking out into billions and billions and billions of flying bugs.

I know we have nighttime flying bugs here in San Diego, but I think they go to sleep at night just like I do.

And ants! I hated ants. Especially fire ants. I remember one time when I went with a friend to Lake Houston to go sailing on his brand new sailboat. Out in the middle of the lake we jumped in to go swimming….. right into a bunch of fire ants! IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LAKE! That day ruined me forever on going sailing and going to Lake Houston.

The last time I saw an ant colony here in San Diego was July 6, 2009. You’re laughing, aren’t you? You think me knowing the date is funny. I know the date because I took a picture, and the metadata tells me that I took it on July 6, 2009. Now you’re laughing because I took a picture….

Ants

Photographic Art logo

Should I talk about roaches? Ack! When I moved to Houston in 1977 after graduating from Texas A&M University, my first apartment was next to a bayou. Add in lots of palm trees, and it was roach city. My roommates and I used to cook greasy food each night, collecting the grease in bowls and cans to spread around the apartment. Then and only then could we get a good night’s sleep because the roaches would go after the grease, climb in the bowl, get stuck and drown. The next morning, those bowls had 20 or 30 roaches in each of them. We only stayed there three months, and those three months ruined me forever on living near lakes, rivers, streams, and palm trees in Houston.

I can count on one hand the number of roaches I have seen in 21½ years in San Diego.

Then we come to spiders. I love spiders. Except daddy longlegs. For some reason, I find daddy longlegs to be creepy. My wise old grandmother, though, taught me an appreciation for all wildlife, explaining to me the food chain, so when I find spiders inside that don’t belong inside, I shoo them back outside. Hmmm. Some day I’ll have to let Julian video me shooing a spider back outdoors. That video probably would go viral….

The spider I miss, though, is the big garden spider, the one that builds a huge, beautiful orb web at night so that when you go to get the paper in the morning, you walk into a huge web, forgetting about the paper while running yelling to the shower.

I have never seen a garden spider here in Southern California…. WAIT! I lie. I saw one in Pacific Beach last weekend! I was so excited that people were rushing over to where I was taking pictures to see what was going on. I’m pretty sure most of them all of them thought I was weird. Nonetheless….

Following is Photographic Art of my beautiful garden spider. You may tell me in a comment how beautiful it is….

Garden spider

Photographic Art logo

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43 thoughts on “The first I’ve seen in 21½ years in San Diego

  1. smilingtoad

    I KEENLY look forward to seeing this spider-shooing video!

    And yes, that spider is exquisitely dashing, what a beauty, indeed! I would have been doing cartwheels whilst photographing this fellow right alongside you.

    Har har I cannot count how many times I have gotten so excited over something that I am photographing, inadvertently drawing a curious, bulbous-eyed, neck-craning crowd, only to disappoint and dash all hopes when they realize I was animated over some smelly dead fish or a shattered bottle or some dead twig…their dashed hopes and pained expressions become palpable as they scatter, flinging over their shoulders askance glances, speculating about my sanity. Ah whale…

    I cannot believe you were unfortunate enough to have dove right into one of those floating rafts of fire ants…that is absolutely tragic…

    Another exquisite post as always. Many cheers to you. San Diego certainly is a contrast with Florida, insect-wise. Oh but I certainly am grateful for the spiders! One time I ambled right into one of those wonderful webs, at night, and promptly fell into a river. The little blue crabs were not pleased and the splash disrupted the fishing expedition of a most irked blue heron, who flapped away in a huff, screeching with protest…Luckily my camera was all right, though, and the spider too 😉

    Cheers!

    Autumn Jade

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      You just won the Russel Ray Photos award for bestest comment of the century!

      This was the best: “….their dashed hopes and pained expressions become palpable as they scatter, flinging over their shoulders askance glances, speculating about my sanity.”

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      1. smilingtoad

        You can imagine the looks I received when I squealed and fell to the ground to photograph a seascape shot with a sharp shot of a crab arm in the foreground a couple weeks ago. I thought it was beautiful….

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          1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

            Nah. I have WordAds, so the more comments (and views and likes) I get, the more ad revenue comes streaming into my bank account, which then is used to buy gas for the car, which then allows me to get out & about, which then allows me to photograph interesting things like spiders………LOL

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  2. smilingtoad

    Okay, just ONE last blather since you’ve got me all excited with this post. Some months ago a crowd gathered, wondering why on earth I was skipping around on the rocks, ignoring the glorious sunset spooning liquid gold sunlight into the silken waters that lapped against the bed of limestone I was cavorting upon (I don’t know how I manage not to ding up the camera whilst engaging in these acrobatics), snapping away at the rocks, ignoring the glory. They could not discover what on earth it was that was so exquisitely fascinating and worthy of photographing that it rendered the sunset a mundane and blase subject to me, so one person in the crowd trotted up to inquire.

    “RATS! LOOK there goes one now, isn’t he the cute! They must be engaging in some kind of mating game to be this excited, running around all over the place like this!” I squealed with sheer delight, snapping about a thousand photos as the darling rodent gamboled by.

    You can imagine the reactions. I am surprised there wasn’t a near-drowning in the haste to escape the rocks, the sunset, forgotten.

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      1. smilingtoad

        Har har haw. YES. You’d love it. Always brimming with plenty of wildlife- dolphins, manatees, alligators (my buddies) and myriads of dazzling spiders. I have taken others on such expeditions- so far, all have survived, but I do admit…none have returned completely unscathed… 😉

        Poor Sir (Steve of SirFelion) is most commonly dragged out on these photographic expeditions. He starts trembling the minute I come catapulting into view, with camera in hand, bugling, “Ready to go photographing, Sir?!” He tries to escape, but somehow, he always manages to get talked into coming along…

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        1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

          SirFelion has been inactive in the blogging world for the whole summer. He finally published a blog post on August 10. I’ve been following him for quite some time, but he really does need to come in from outside and publish some stuff on his blog for me to ogle. Get on him!

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          1. smilingtoad

            On it indeed! He writes superb posts and I am always wanting to see more meself!

            He just attended a meeting about the state of our Indian River Lagoon this past Thursday and I’ve been beseeching him to write a post about it.I am certain a superb poem is waiting to be written, inspired by that meeting. He wept as an eloquent lass spoke, describing her life on the lagoon, and the grief she felt as she experienced loss after loss as development advanced over time, and pollution has left its ugly mark…the meeting delved into the importance of voting for Amendment 1 which is critical to cleaning up the waterways. Here is a link if you are curious about it- http://voteyeson1fl.org/sections/page/about

            So expect some eloquence from Sir shortly 😀

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        2. Russel Ray Photos Post author

          P.S. I worked in Tampa from April to October 1994. The company rented me an apartment at Rocky Point, which has a lot of channels, always full of manatees. They were the coolest and friendliest creatures. Sadly, I lost all of my Tampa pictures in the Great Hard Drive Crash of August 2005.

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          1. smilingtoad

            Oh NO you experienced a Great Hard Drive Crash as well? I just experienced my first one a few months ago. I almost quit photography…almost. I lost well over a terabyte of work, years’ worth. I wailed and wailed. But then, I suddenly remembered that Florida was still right out the door waiting to be photographed and I found meself dashing off, once more, unto the breach. I am sorry you too know this pain…all those lovely manatee photos…oh dear!

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            1. smilingtoad

              Another P.S. Tampa is beautiful I must say. There is a fantastic little rehabilitation aquarium there in Clearwater that I would adore volunteering at. The film “Dolphin Tale” was filmed there, about the real dolphin Winter, who lost her tail via fishing net. Er, ahem, I do not recommend this film to you, however….but the aquarium is very groovy.

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        3. Russel Ray Photos Post author

          P.P.S. I’m scheduled to visit your blog soon. You’re #91 on my list right now. I try to visit 100 blogs per day, and am usually successful at it. So look for me over at your place later today or sometime tomorrow. It takes me about 30 days to visit the 3,057 blogs that I am following. (My Excel spreadsheet tells me so.)

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          1. smilingtoad

            I am under a similar system- using Excel as well. Astounding, I thought I was the only one 😉 But how else can one manage all the thousands of blogs? I follow over a thousand right now…and keep discovering new ones I “absolutely love” and so…more to add to the spreadsheet. I am not so efficient. I visit about 30 a day, if I happen to get online. You inspire me to improve upon this. Anyhow, this comment-barrage is finally ending as I must dash off as I have a meeting with some sharks this morning and the dawn is just beginning to pinch the sky. Thank you in advance for visiting, I hope it is a pleasant one! Cheers!

            Autumn Jade

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                1. smilingtoad

                  Yet another P.S.

                  I met up with those sharkies I mentioned. I was delighted to see they kept the appointment, but was a bit surprised when they swam right onto the beach and into my lap! They were “swash surfing” as I like to call it, coming up on the beach nibbling fish. Fish were spat in my face multiple times. It was divine. A lone dolphin was breaching way out on the horizon, and tarpon were surging from the sea, breaching on their sides like humpback whales…I am still rather in a “shark-induced high” at the moment. Thought I’d share. RIGHT enough. I believe I blathered away in at least 73 comments to you today…

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  3. colltales

    Yes, Russel, your spider is beautiful. They are wonderful creatures, and as you probably know by reading Colltales even occasionally, I often write about them. It’s all part of my lifelong therapy dealing with my extreme arachnophobia, which as you know, it’s a mix of fascination and horror (I’ll just pretend that you haven’t mentioned anything about getting caught on their web while picking up the paper, etc.). Since I simply can’t get near them, I’ve really learned a lot about them, and the more I know, the more I’m in absolute awe of them, which is really the point, isn’t it? Thanks for that.

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  4. cricketmuse

    Some insects really bug me as well. We will have hornet, wasp, yellow jacket summers occasionally which absolutely dampens zesl to bbq or even eat outside. Our house eaves are decorated with stylish yellow jacket traps.
    Floating ant rafts–whodathunkit!

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      I inspected a house a few weeks ago that must have had 50 or more wasp nests under the roof eaves, all around the house. Surprisingly, my Clients had not noticed them. I always point them out because if nearby windows are open, it could be a mess, especially if a children’s room.

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  5. coastalcrone

    Yes, it is a beautiful spider! Aren’t you glad you left Texas for California? The insect population hasn’t changed much.. And I had not thought about Lake Houston in years. I used to go water skiing there eons ago.

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      I learned to water ski on Lake Houston. Then that nasty seaweed-like stuff invaded the lake, making skiing difficult if not impossible. It got so bad that one summer, probably ’83, the stuff got all wrapped around the propeller and shut the boat down. We had to be rescued by the lake police.

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  6. Carly'z Corner

    I agree with you wholeheartedly about the bugs. That is one of the main reasons why I haven’t moved the snowy alps of Cleveland! I do not care how you try to spruce up the name….a palmetto bug…is still a flying roach!

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  7. babso2you

    Have you seen the kind of bug that I featured today on my blog? He’s cool! Nice post, and the diving into the fire ants…gave me the willies! I have an ant story too. Maybe I will tell it to you one day… 🙂

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  8. Boomdeeadda

    Oh snap, look at that…sorry, the crowds were right, you are weird. I am not a fan of spiders, any kind. Big, small, hairy or bald, they are all on my “scream like a crazy person when one is on me” list. Being from Alberta, we have our share of bugs. This summer was so hot the mosquito’s were hardly noticeable but now the wasps are around in fall because they like it cool. They’re a menace and will ruin any el fresco meals you may attempt on the patio. We’re lucky to not deal with too many of the warm climate nasty’s but did have roaches in our B&B in Maui. Very little sleeping went on the first night, then they came in and used some natural spray. Don’t know if we’ll go back to that place.

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  9. thesailorswoman.wordpress.com

    You would hate my office! Every spring for the past few years it’s been infested with flying ants–a creepy combination of two things you can’t stand! I don’t like them much either and examine my work bag for stowaways at the end of every day. The last thing I want to do is bring a few home with me.

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