365 Nature – Day 318

In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Learn more about the project and see all the 365 Nature posts.


Over the last couple of months I’ve developed a night-time ritual of watching the spiders around our back porch light. When we replaced our exterior doors we opted for new doors with small windows at the top. I wish I could say the reasoning for the windows was so I could watch spiders at night, but that would be untrue. Really, we just wanted more light inside, the spider watching was an unexpected bonus. Now, each night on my way to bed, I stand inside and through the windows I watch the spiders on their webs. The porch light is in the ceiling and the spiders build their webs around it, like records stacked up on end, circling the light. Some are larger, others smaller and the webs seem to correspond with the spider’s size. I believe most of them are Cross Orb Weaver spiders.

I’ve watched their webs as they tear apart, I’ve watched the spiders investigate movement and pounce on the prey. Most of what’s in their webs now are tiny flies and I’ve noticed some of the flying woolly aphids I watched on Days 287 and 297 flew and got stuck in the spider’s webs.

Yesterday was very windy and today their webs are covered in fluffy seeds and even a feather. During the day they hide in the shelters around the house and porch, in cracks and crevices. But at night they all come out and sit in the center of their webs, waiting for prey to fly into them. I’ve never watched them all that closely, but now I’ll be keeping an eye on all of our spiders.

Kelly Brenner
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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist, writer and photographer based in Seattle. She founded The Metropolitan Field Guide in 2009 and has contributed articles to aincluding Crosscut, ParentMap and National Wildlife Magazine. She holds a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon and a certificate in non-fiction writing from the University of Washington.

She is currently writing a book about urban nature to be published by Mountaineers Books in 2019.
Kelly Brenner
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