Author: Samara Iodice

Delilah and Eloise

Hurricanes are named alphabetically. So are my orb weaver spiders. This season, I had the privilege of observing the life cycles of two lovely, leggy ladies, Delilah and Eloise. Perhaps they’re the offspring of Charlotte, the first orb weaver I studied who gave me a deep love and affection for these spectacular creatures. I like to believe they’re part of...

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Observations from V-Day

A year and two weeks after first sequestering at home to avoid the sinister Covid-19 virus, I found myself inside CVS, lining up for a vaccine that I didn’t want but couldn’t avoid. I followed the footprint signs on the floor ’round and ’round the store aisles, like a rat eagerly racing through a maze to get the treat. I...

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The usual (and some unusual) suspects

On my little property, sandwiched among other modest properties in my suburban Ventura neighborhood, I’ve built a lush green paradise with inviting plants and watering holes where birds eagerly flock. By far the most ubiquitous species to frequent my garden is the common house sparrow. You know, that gregarious songbird with brown, black, and gray markings who gathers in large, social...

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More than meets the eye

You may recall that a recent post had me waxing poetic about the sparkly dragonflies I chased all around the Ventura settling ponds a couple weeks ago. Smitten I was, indeed, but, as in all fanciful love stories where I’ve been a player, the harsh reality of life suddenly sets in and teaches me a lesson. And being in love...

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Those damn dragonflies!

It was a typical temperate day in Southern California, with the sun tucking her head into the clouds for minutes-long intervals and then re-emerging, as if from a nap, ready to warm the cool air again. Outside the gates to the Ventura settling ponds, there wasn’t even the slightest hint of what lay ahead. In my many years as a...

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Let’s talk about sex

Ah, Anna’s Hummingbird – the mainstay of the Pacific Coast bird world. This tiny creature, weighing in at less than a quarter of an ounce, with a wingspan of only 4.5 inches, is a common fixture in the California garden. But, even so, I never get tired of observing its fascinating feeding, mating, and child-rearing antics. The affections of many...

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Things are seldom as they appear

Sometimes, looking through a 65-mm macro lens is like having a superpower I wish I didn’t have. Lately, it’s torn open a tiny world that seems to be under constant threat of civil war. And as much as I don’t want to take sides, it’s becoming increasingly impossible not to. No matter whether in the big, real world that we’re...

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She’s gone

Charlotte’s gone. I knew the days were closing in when she failed to rebuild her web three nights in a row, but that didn’t make it any easier when I found her missing from her hiding spot in the strawberry tree. All that’s left are the remnants of a spider life well-lived. The tattered web, and its long, sturdy extension...

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Sinister (the stalking of a honeybee)

While exploring the garden today with an assortment of macro lenses, a tiny scene of disproportionately unsettling horror caught my attention. It started innocently enough when a honeybee got ensnared in a small shred of abandoned web. As I considered whether to attempt a rescue operation to free the writhing creature or wait to see if he could vibrate free...

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Fragile existence

Charlotte didn’t consume her old web or rebuild a new web last night. This disturbs me because I’m convinced she went to bed hungry. At nightfall, there was not much more than a tiny nat or two trapped on the sticky strands of her dilapetated web. A web which had taken a substantial beating throughout the day and was literally...

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