Jumping Spider

I came across this spider years ago, while looking for salamanders (which is how I found most of the animals shown on this blog). It was on the silt fence, and when I held the camera up close to it, the spider kept running toward it. Reminds me of the way my cat approaches strange dogs — fluffed up and growling, but too curious not to approach and sniff the dog.

The constant motion made it very hard to get a clear photo.  When I got around to uploading them from the camera, there were twenty very blurred pictures, and this one.

Scarlet Snake

This is a scarlet snake. It’s easily mistaken for either a scarlet kingsnake or a coral snake, but you can tell it’s neither by the fact that the bands of red and black are only on the snake’s back. The belly is white. Coral snakes and scarlet kingsnakes have bands that go all the way around the body.

Scarlet snakes live in the southeast and as far west as Oklahoma and Texas. They eat mostly small rodents and reptiles, and reptile eggs. A large adult might get up to two feet long.

That pointy head helps them burrow into sand. The head always starts with red at the nose, unlike coral snakes, which start with black. (The “red touch yellow, kill a fellow” rule is good only in the US. If you go to Central America, the coral snakes are a lot less standardized.)

scarletsnake

Eastern Spadefoot

Here’s an eastern spadefoot, a medium-sized frog that is relatively common but rarely seen unless you happen to be trapping amphibians around an ephemeral pond. They’re burrowers, so they need loose, sandy soil that’s easy to dig into. They dig with their hind feet, backwards.

The adults are rarely seen in daylight. They usually only come out of their burrows at night to catch bugs, earthworms, and slugs. But you can sometimes find hundreds of tiny recently-metamorphosed spadefoots leaving a pond during the day.

The easiest way to tell them from true toads (the Bufo genus — around here that would be the Fowler’s toad and the American toad) is their eyes — their pupils are vertical instead of round. They also have two curved yellow streaks on their backs.

Also, they try to curl up into a ball when threatened. I’m not sure what threat would be deterred by this — definitely not a human — but it is adorable.

Photo 101: Solitude

The author chillin' on the rocky bank of the Eno River.
So solitary, this is actually a selfie!

Photo 101: Water

A small stream running between old rock walls.
A stream flows between old rock walls to join the Eno River

Photo 101: Home

When I first moved to North Carolina, I didn’t have a place to live lined up. I figured I’d camp out at a park for a few days until I found one. Lucky for me, NC has approximately a bazillion state parks, and I found one nearby with a campground.

A few days turned into two weeks, during which it rained the ENTIRE TIME and I got more and more frustrated as various possibilities fell through. At one point, I posted this extremely green photo on Instagram and Facebook:

Home sweet home…

A post shared by Bethany Harvey (@bethanyaharvey) on

My concerned friends back in Florida replied that they hoped this was just a temporary situation. It did turn out to be temporary, and a friend who lived in the area called some of her friends, and they offered me a place to stay for a couple of days. Then I finally managed to find someone with a room to rent who didn’t sound creepy and didn’t think I sounded creepy. And after a year of that, I moved into a little house all by myself, and I still live there.

So, this photo? This is not home. This is just the spot where I was camping this weekend. For fun. And it didn’t even rain!

tent

Not a single cloud

Bright, vibrant colors in winter can be hard to find, but sometimes all you have to do is look up.

Wolf Spider vs. Green Anole

Lizards eat small invertebrates. That’s what lizards do. Insects, spiders, ticks, grubs– all tasty morsels for your local lizard population.

When I lived in Florida, I had geckos in the house. I didn’t put them there, but they came in, and I happily let them stay. Because of them, I never had spiders on the ceiling. Lizards eat spiders. It’s the way of the world.

But sometimes… Sometimes, a spider defies its destiny.

Victory goes to the spider this time.

Passionflower

This week’s DP Photo Challenge theme was “Ornate.”

Sometimes you see a flower and think, “Oh, isn’t that pretty?”

And then there are the times you see a flower and think, “Whoa, Nature! You’re just going overboard now.”

This Passiflora incarnata flower is an example of the latter.

I don’t do this often enough.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Treat,” here’s something I never seem to do anymore. I have a kayak; I know there are rivers and lakes around here, and yet my kayak has been used more often as a container in which to carry my belongings on top of my car than as an actual boat in the past few years. It makes a really good car-top container, but it’s a lot more fun as a boat.

So here’s a picture from several years ago, on the Econfina Creek in northwest Florida. There are actually two rivers called Econfina in northwest Florida, and they are not connected. This is the one north of Panama City. It’s a beautiful little river, overhung with greenery and fed by deep, clear springs that keep it cool. If you ever get the chance to canoe down it, do so — and stop and swim in the springs on the way.

Everybody has something they enjoy but somehow never get around to doing, right? What’s yours?