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June 15, 2015 / diannegray

Some birds and a bird-catching spider

The picture of the spider is at the bottom of this post,
so if you’re an arachnophobe – Run. Away. Now.

I see loads of birds on my daily dog walk around the farm. I try to get pictures of them, but sometimes they’re just far too elusive.  Some look pensive, some look cute and some look annoyed.

I thought I’d start off with the annoyed ones. I could just imagine the first two birds could be the baddies in a Pixar movie.

This is a Metallic Starling which is native to Northern Australia and New Guinea

Metallic Starling3

This Figbird looks like he’s had a big night out on the town with those eyes!

Figbird4

The Kookaburra below must have felt very pensive that day

Kookaburra2

This little cutie is one of my favourites – the Olive-backed Sunbird chick

Olive-backed Sunbird2

The Cattle Egrets often walk around the freshly cut cane fields looking for insects

Egrets

There are over 630 bird species in Queensland, Australia. I need to get a little faster with the camera so I can get more pictures for you.

But in this beautiful bird paradise there are also bird predators. The Golden Orb spider is one of my favourite predators because it’s so awesome to look at. Many years ago I ran straight into a golden Orb web and I didn’t think it was great at the time! Neither did my neighbours who thought I was being murdered. But I’ve learned to keep an eye out for large webs now. These spiders will hurt if they bite, but they’re not aggressive (unless you run through their web) and their venom is potent but not lethal to humans.

The Golden Orb spider can catch small birds as well as snakes.

Hubby came across this fine specimen on the dog walk (I told him not to leave the trail!). He noticed it an inch before it touched his face  – maybe he needs glasses.

The photo is taken from the underside of the spider. It was about the size of hubby’s face.

Golden Orb spider1

Can you notice the gold web? This is why it’s called a Golden Orb spider.

Phew – you made it to the end of this post! 😀

If you love cooking, check out my daughter’s Little Food Blog. But if you’re going to make dangerously good strawberries and cream hotcake, remember to put on an oven mitt to avoid second degree burns!

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103 Comments

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  1. Theo Fenraven / Jun 15 2015 6:35 am

    Love the spider! Bird pics were nice, too.

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 15 2015 6:36 am

      Even though the spider is huge, it’s actually quite hard to see. It’s an amazing creature 😉

      Like

      • Theo Fenraven / Jun 15 2015 8:49 am

        We have golden orb weavers here, too, but they’re somewhat smaller. I have photos of one shooting silk out its butt while it wraps a grasshopper. Fascinating!

        Like

      • diannegray / Jun 15 2015 9:56 am

        Oh, I’d love to see that. Maybe you could put it in one of your future posts 😉

        Like

      • Theo Fenraven / Jun 15 2015 9:46 pm

        Sure, although it will freak out the people who hate spiders. 🙂

        Like

  2. the eternal traveller / Jun 15 2015 6:41 am

    There is nothing more terrifying than walking into a spider’s web, especially at night. We’ve all done the frantic dance that follows getting web on your face.

    Dianne, we are coming to your area soon. Can I email you?

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 15 2015 7:00 am

      The problem with walking into a spider’s web is that you never know where the spider is (except if it’s the size of the Golden Orb!). Yes, feel free to email me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Carrie Rubin / Jun 15 2015 6:42 am

    I’ve seen eyes like the Metallic Starling’s before. In a horror movie! Talk about demon eyes. 😉

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 15 2015 7:01 am

      He would make a great Pixar baddie. Now I know where they get their character ideas from 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Polysyllabic Profundities / Jun 15 2015 6:49 am

    Wow….that is an incredible spider!

    Like

  5. JackieP / Jun 15 2015 6:53 am

    I love nature! That spider is one serious spider! Whoa! I’m allergic to spider webs. Yeah, weird right? It seems I’m allergic to the protein they excrete while making the webs. So walking into that web would not be the highlight of my life. LOL The birds are great even if a bit on the demonic side, except the cute colorful one. 🙂

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 15 2015 7:04 am

      It would be awful being allergic to spider webs (particularly around my house because they are everywhere). Nature is amazing, Jackie 😀

      Like

  6. Jill Weatherholt / Jun 15 2015 6:57 am

    Yowza! That spider is huge, Dianne! I had to scroll back up to the Sunbird chick to calm down. What a cute little fella. Thanks for sharing your terrific photos!

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 15 2015 7:06 am

      Thanks for coming by, Jill! I’m glad the Sunbird chick managed to calm you down – it certainly is a cutie 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Amy Reese / Jun 15 2015 7:07 am

    Wow, so lovely to see all of these birds in nature. You have a great eye, Dianne. Great shots! I’m sure I would sound like I was being murdered, too, if I came across that spider!! Yikes!

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 15 2015 9:45 am

      There are so many beautiful birds here and it’s so hard to capture them on film. I really admire those people who get the really hard shots 😉 Yes – that spider is terrifying, but harmless (unless you’re waving your arms around trying to fight your way out of its web) lol 😀

      Like

  8. avwalters / Jun 15 2015 7:29 am

    Beautiful birds! But, oh my! A spider that can eat birds? That makes me suddenly very happy to deal with our black flies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • diannegray / Jun 15 2015 9:46 am

      I saw a picture recently of one of these spiders eating a snake. Very scary indeed!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Chrissy / Jun 15 2015 7:52 am

    OMG that spider is terrifying. I remember the massive spiders living up there. They were the least scary animals! 😂 Thanks for the shout out to Litte food blog xo

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 15 2015 9:48 am

      I think you might have been here when I ran through the orb spider’s web in the shed. I think I made a lot of noise even though spiders don’t necessarily scare me (as you found out when that big huntsman was sitting on my arm) lol 😀

      Like

  10. bulldog / Jun 15 2015 8:46 am

    This is such a great post…. love the birdies, but that spinnekop, damn would not enjoy walking into that….

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 15 2015 9:51 am

      Hubby was off the path and heard a crackle. He realised the brim of his hat had touched a web, then he focused and saw the spider an inch away from his face LOL. They’re very hard to see. I would love to have gotten a photo of the look on his face!

      It’s so great to see you here, Rob. I hope everything is well in your neck of the woods xxxx

      Like

  11. Margie / Jun 15 2015 9:37 am

    Although I don’t mind looking at spiders, I’m sure glad we don’t have any monster size ones here in Canada!

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 15 2015 9:54 am

      I don’t mind looking either but I have a nephew-in-law who can’t even stand seeing pictures of spiders. This is why I usually put a trigger warning at the top of posts. I don’t want people falling off thier chairs 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Sharon Bonin-Pratt / Jun 15 2015 9:58 am

    Love love love the birdies. But the only nice thing I can say about the spider is that it eats snakes.

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 16 2015 6:39 am

      That spider is a beauty – if it ate rats as well it would be even better 😉

      Like

  13. Janna G. Noelle / Jun 15 2015 10:31 am

    Hey, Dianne, you’re back!! Those are some great bird pictures – I really enjoyed observing the bird life while I was in Oz last year. And my god, that spider! How did your husband not notice that inching toward his face?!? I would have screamed bloody murder if something like that came upon me.

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 16 2015 6:39 am

      Hello, Janna! Time just races by and I was gone longer than expected. Hubby keeps a close lookout for spiders now after his experience with this beauty. I think the problem is that we tend to look at the ground for snakes while we walk and now so much what is right in front of our faces 😉

      Like

  14. Gallivanta / Jun 15 2015 12:23 pm

    I would be happy to encounter any of your beautiful bird life, but would prefer to keep well away from the spiders. I loved watching the kookaburras when I was in Cairns. And I enjoyed their morning chorus. Good to have you back.

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 16 2015 6:44 am

      It’s lovely to be back 😀 The bird life here is amazing. Hubby and I were actually talking about the snakes and spiders the other day during our walk and came to the conclusion that we’re really glad Australia doesn’t have lions and tigers and bears – our dog walk would be a bit too exciting with these things around 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gallivanta / Jun 16 2015 10:47 am

        Yes, that would be a little too exciting. Every day walks would become safari-like.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. EllaDee / Jun 15 2015 12:31 pm

    I don’t mind spiders although I’d hate to get too close to that Golden Orb spider but if snakes are on its menu it makes it good in my books. And I love the birds even the Metallic Starling – it looks noisy!
    I’ve signed up to the Little Food Blog – Yum 🙂

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 16 2015 6:51 am

      Thank you so much for signing up to the Little Food Blog – Chrissy is a lot of fun (and a fantastic cook!) I stayed with her in Melbourne for three months in 2012/13 and was very spoiled with her delicious creations. I don’t know where my children get their cooking talents from (my son was a chef before he joined the fire department) because it certainly doesn’t come from me 😉
      You probably don’t have the Golden Orb around TA, but I’m sure you’d keep an eye out for snakes and spiders. Hubby didn’t see this one coming because he was watching where he was stepping. A trap for young players 😀

      Like

  16. nrhatch / Jun 15 2015 1:13 pm

    Hard to picture a spider catching a snake, or a bird, but that’s because we have itsy bitsy spiders crawling up our garden spouts.

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 16 2015 6:53 am

      It’s like Jurassic Park here, Nancy. We have blocks of cane up near the mountains where we walk and every now and again I expect to see something huge burst out of the rain forest! Luckily we don’t have mountain lions or bears 😉

      Like

      • nrhatch / Jun 16 2015 12:45 pm

        Just watch out for that hungry crocodile!!! :mrgreen:

        Like

  17. Photos With Finesse / Jun 15 2015 1:24 pm

    I’ve started to show a lot more interest in birds this year since I invested in a behemoth lens that takes very good shots of them. That said, I’m not a natural born birder – a considerable lack of patience being one challenge. I just want them to land and pose. I like your Figbird and Sunbird. I have a thing for the yellow ones. Not completely sure I’d be a fan of your Orb Spider – although he has pretty yellow markings too. I generally don’t mind spiders, but we don’t have ones here that eat birds and, for the most part, humans. 🙂

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 16 2015 6:57 am

      That spider wouldn’t want to be any bigger, Suzan, or they would be filming horror movies about people-eating spiders in my backyard! Birds are notoriously difficult to photograph because they rarely sit and pose. I saw a beautiful metallic blue bird flash past yesterday and it was gone in a split second. I have no idea what it was, but even if I’d had my camera out it would just have come out as a blurry blue flash.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Minuscule Moments / Jun 15 2015 1:45 pm

    Love the view from your house Dianne, even the golden orb spider. My two when they were little, use to get their deck chairs and sit out the back watching a golden orb spider spin its web, all they needed was some popcorn they were so entertained.

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 16 2015 7:01 am

      I’ve never seen one spin it’s web, Kath – you and the children are very lucky to have seen that. Apparently in some countries they make clothes of gold out of the web. I don’t know who would collect the web to spin it into yarn but I wouldn’t like to do it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Minuscule Moments / Jun 17 2015 6:45 am

        I have picture book idea because the children loved seeing this spider come down each night and make her web. One day she didn’t come down and they were so sad. a few days later she had eggs and then millions of little babies took to the air to find new homes. So there you have it, my good spider story.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. anotherday2paradise / Jun 15 2015 6:15 pm

    Great photos, Dianne. I’m so glad the spider is only on my screen. 😯 I love the different facial expressions that we capture with our bird photos. Your baddies definitely do look like rebels. 🙂

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 16 2015 7:03 am

      When I see these birds I think about scientists saying they evolved from dinosaurs. I wouldn’t like to be hunted by the enormous version of that blackbird – yikes! He looks like he means business 😉

      Like

  20. pommepal / Jun 15 2015 8:51 pm

    Great bird photos Dianne. Wow 630, so that’s now 5, only another 625 to find!!!! I had a lovely big golden orb, though not as big as yours, swaying around between the grevillea and the bottlebrush. He/she had been there for weeks slowly getting bigger. Then yesterday after strong winds and heavy rain, he had sadly disappeared. 😦

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 16 2015 7:06 am

      Oh no! Hopefully it will build again somewhere where you can see it spinning another web.

      Like

      • pommepal / Jun 16 2015 8:05 am

        I hope so, other alternative a bird flew into it… 😦

        Like

  21. the eternal traveller / Jun 15 2015 9:04 pm

    Dianne, I messaged you on Facebook!

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 16 2015 7:06 am

      Okay – I haven’t been there yet. I’ll check now 😉

      Like

  22. grumpytyke / Jun 15 2015 11:48 pm

    Love the bird pix. Look forward to more. I’ll pass on the spider.

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 16 2015 7:07 am

      The birds are fantastic. I’ve just had a swarm of bee catches around the house. They’re very pretty!

      Like

  23. billyraychitwood1 / Jun 16 2015 12:24 am

    Lovely pictures – as always! You must be more protective of your hubby! 🙂

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 16 2015 7:09 am

      He was looking at the ground so he didn’t step in a snake, Billy Ray 😀 I guess this is why the GoPro went so badly for me when I wore it on my walk. Look up, look down, up, down, up, down LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Letizia / Jun 16 2015 12:53 am

    Wow, that spider is something else! I’ve always thought Kookaburras were adorable looking; like the teddybears of the bird world somehow. Off to check out your daughter’s blog…. yum yum!

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 16 2015 7:11 am

      You’re exactly right, Letizia, Kookaburras do look like the teddybears of the bird world! What a great way to put it.

      Thanks so much for going over to my daughters food blog. She’s amazing! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  25. donnajeanmcdunn / Jun 16 2015 1:12 am

    I love birds too and we have all kinds come and visit our feeders, but your birds and your pictures of them are amazing. The spider on the other hand really creeps me out. I would probably die on the spot if I even saw one that size. I almost faint as it is when I find one with a one inch leg span and even anything smaller can send me away screaming, but believe it or not, my oldest daughter is even more terrified of spiders than I am.

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 16 2015 7:14 am

      I don’t particularly like spiders either – yikes, anything smallish that bites is to be avoided at all costs. But this one was huge so I stood back a fair way to get the shot.

      The birds are fantastic. Sometimes they sit still for shots but most times they flit around and it’s hard to get a picture that’s not all blurred 😉

      Like

  26. char / Jun 16 2015 1:34 am

    Okay, I was loving the birds, but spiders that can feed on birds are getting beyond my comfort zone, especially if they’re as large as your hubby’s head. That’s crazy scary. I love the kookaburra and that yellow bird though. They are adorable. I have a family of quail right now in my backyard. There are about 12-13 babies the size of Weeble Wobbles and they zip all over like the roadrunner from the cartoon–so speedy.

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 16 2015 7:24 am

      How cute! I’d love to see those baby quail. It’s so nice being that close to nature. I remember when I lived in the city and there were loads of pigeons and a big zoo but that’s about as close as I could get to real creatures. Not all the creatures here are cute (um, yes, that spider) but I absolutely love baby birds 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Sheila / Jun 16 2015 3:39 am

    Yikes! I can’t imagine a spider the size of my face. It’s beautiful though (but I’m sure I wouldn’t be thinking that if it landed on my head)! Those red eyes on that first bird are pretty scary too. I’m so glad you’re back! I love hearing about all your creatures.

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 16 2015 7:26 am

      It’s great to be back, Sheila, and wonderful to see you here 😀 Yes, that spider is certainly something. It’s a fine line when we’re on our dog walk to look up (for spiders) or down (for snakes). I prefer looking down more 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  28. agjorgenson / Jun 16 2015 12:11 pm

    Did I read you right? The size of your husband’s face? I am generally not afraid of spiders, but that one would most certainly give me a fright!! Beautiful bird pictures. Thanks for sharing them!

    Like

  29. Shakti Ghosal / Jun 16 2015 11:11 pm

    A superb post!

    Loved the photos and the accompanying text.

    Just goes to show how much in that moment you were present. What was for you in that moment that allowed you to be present thus?

    Shakti

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 17 2015 7:21 am

      I’m so glad you like the post, Shakti. It’s great to see you again 😀

      Like

  30. jmmcdowell / Jun 17 2015 5:59 am

    Yowza, that is one impressive spider! You’ll understand, I think, that I’m glad they don’t live in my corner of the world! I really do like your birds, though. I’d love to see some of them in my neighborhood. 🙂

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 17 2015 7:22 am

      I’m really looking forward to the time the Crimson Rosella comes through so I can take a few pictures. Although other people around here aren’t so keen because they eat the fruit off the trees 😉

      Like

  31. restlessjo / Jun 17 2015 7:05 am

    Oooo that was scary! 😦 I was so busy admiring the birds that I forgot to look away.

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 17 2015 7:23 am

      OOPS! I hope that spider didn’t scare you too much, Jo 😉

      Like

      • restlessjo / Jun 17 2015 7:28 am

        I’m cowering behind the settee! 🙂

        Like

  32. Roy McCarthy / Jun 18 2015 1:20 am

    OMG – I’d be screaming blue murder too. As to the birds you are either very skilful or there are loads just standing there waiting for you. The very talented bird artist Kath Unsworth (your compatriot) doesn’t agree with me that all her birds look grumpy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Sheila Morris / Jun 18 2015 2:24 am

    The pictures of these birds are amazing – I see you didnt’t take a break from you photography, thank goodness! And thank you for naming the cattle egrets for me – in Texas we just call them cow birds. I used to be so fascinated by them when they walked among the cows like they were all bffs! 🙂

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 21 2015 5:59 am

      They’re such gentle birds and I love watching them flying around the harvester. They follow it up and down the field – watching them is like meditating! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Luanne / Jun 18 2015 5:41 am

    EEEEEEK!!! That is some spider! Remind me not to show it to my daughter who has arachnaphobia! Such beautiful birds. You definitely have more beautiful birds than we do here in Arizona. I’m so thrilled with my hummingbird mama, but she’s a dull gray. We have cardinals and quail and road runners, but only a few other species I’ve seen and none are as brilliant as yours.

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 21 2015 6:01 am

      I’m waiting for the crimson rosellas to come through, Luanne – they are truly spectacular!
      Please don’t show your daughter this post, I don’t want her running through the house screaming 😉

      Like

  35. danniehill / Jun 18 2015 10:02 am

    Beautiful photos. Makes me miss Thailand. Will be there next year. Have fun

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 21 2015 6:03 am

      I’m so glad you’re going to Thailand, Dannie. That will be fantastic! 😀

      Like

  36. Kate Johnston / Jun 19 2015 5:48 am

    Wow, that spider is amazing! I find spiders fascinating, and I’ve never seen any that large before, except in a zoo. Those birds are wonderful, and so different from what we have here. Other than the Starling — we have crows or grackles that look like that, although not so ominous!

    Like

  37. roughwighting / Jun 19 2015 6:08 am

    I am so happy you’re back in the blogging world!!! These pictures are tremendous (I love love looking/listening to/singing back at birds). I’m jealous of yours!
    The spider I could do without. 🙂

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 21 2015 6:05 am

      I didn’t realise how noisy the birds were here until I was talking to my sister on the phone and she asked me if I was sitting near an aviary – LOL 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  38. ParentingIsFunny / Jun 21 2015 4:10 am

    Great photos, as always. Ugh, that spider! Your country has the most terrifying creatures!

    Like

  39. Maddie Cochere / Jun 22 2015 3:41 am

    Dianne! So glad to see you back. Your bird pictures are gorgeous. I nearly shrieked when I saw that spider – not because a picture of a spider would creep me out so much, but because I’ve had a recurring dream about a spider with gold (looks like real gold) on it’s body just like the spider in your picture! I had no idea such a spider existed, and I can’t believe it’s real. What does it mean???
    🙂

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 22 2015 8:01 am

      It must mean you were missing me, Maddie! lol. Maybe you can include a spider like this in one of your stories now you know that it is real 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maddie Cochere / Jun 23 2015 5:32 am

        I thought about that. The collective consciousness was telling me that you would soon be back in my life – with a golden spider!

        I suspect that spider is native to your field – not mine here in Ohio. I’ll be leaving that beauty out of my books. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  40. Britt Skrabanek / Jun 22 2015 10:25 am

    Incredible nature shots, as always. On our hike last weekend, we saw two woodpeckers competing to see who could peck the heck out of the most trees. They were flying together from one tree to the next. Some sort of game we silly humans didn’t get, but we were totally entertained!

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 22 2015 12:28 pm

      I would’ve loved to have seen that, Britt. What a classic. Birds are amazing – they have little squabbles and then make up and I’m sure they get jealous. I just love watching them 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  41. Daphne Shadows / Jun 23 2015 8:57 am

    That spider is totally cool!!!! I’d freak out if I ran into a web too. Can you say PANIC?! Was the spider on the web when you ran into it?

    Like

    • diannegray / Jun 23 2015 1:32 pm

      Yes – it was still on the web, but i think it ended up on the ground somewhere because I freaked and ripped all my clothes off but couldn’t find it (embarrassing much?) 😀

      Like

  42. Jacqui Murray / Aug 10 2015 10:44 am

    That is truly a big (big) spider. And it looks dangerous (if bright colors are a barometer)

    Like

    • diannegray / Aug 10 2015 10:47 am

      It’s actually not that poisonous, Jacqui. They have been known to bite if you squash them (and seriously – who would try it!), but it would just sting and maybe get infected. If they were as deadly as the black widow or funnel web, I would seriously reconsider my creek walks 😉

      Like

  43. jannatwrites / Sep 8 2015 1:28 pm

    Yikes, that’s one scary spider… you start out all cute and cuddly and end with that!

    Like

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  1. Summer Reading Giveaway | Sheila Hurst
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