Photo Adventures with Curiosity and Learning

This diary tracks Natasha's activities during the fall of 2002.
September 4, 2002 I returned from Patras, and there she was - a large spider approximately 7 cm in length (body) and perhaps 15 cm between the tips of her extended legs. Her web spanned the distance between a large bush and the garden wall - approximately 3-4 meters.
September 7, 2002 Just watching daily activities, and so far, not very interesting. Mostly in the launching position, ready for catching dinner.
September 8, 2002 Today I saw her catch a fly. There was a transient vibration of the web - and immediately she was racing to the point of impact. She grabbed the fly with her legs and appeared to wrap it with some silk.
September 14, 2002 Today, I fed her a cockroach. I tossed the insect into the web and she immediately raced to the point of impact. Because the cockroach was on the opposite side of the web, she reached through the web and pulled it through the web, making a rather large hole. She then wrapped it in silk, took the package back to the launching position where she hung it for later.
September 15, 2002 Today it is raining. She sometimes drags her legs through her mouth, as if drinking the water that was collecting on her legs - but this is only my speculation.
September 17, 2002 Today, I became fascinated with her behavior - weaving etc. So I started making videos of her ballet. Weaving the web is and interesting activity in successive refinement. She somehow destroys half the web and places a few critical radial and circumferential segments. Then she fills in the spaces between these outline structures.
October 30, 2002 Today it rained gently and she was weaving her web. Got some wonderful close-up photos of her weaving and small drops of water collecting on her legs.
November 5, 2002 For 3 days, the web has remained intact, with no reconstruction.
November 6, 2002 I had a meeting in Philadelphia - and when I returned, Natasha and her web were absent. Yesterday there was rain and today strong winds - I don't know what happened, but I've lost a friend and I'm a bit boggy and sad. Maybe tomorrow there will be a surprise.
November 7, 2002 No web, No Natasha. Its interesting how one can develop an attachment for something like a spider, but she was a part of our daily life - for me and for the neighbors. We all were fascinated by her presence - and there is a hole in our life just now - sigh.
November 7, 2002 Each morning when I walk by the bush that anchored Natasha's web - I look to the right, and there is a big empty space. Before Natasha, the space was equally big but there was no sense of emptiness - now its simply empty. Interesting attachment I've grown for this lady, her space and her influence on our friends. I'm not the only one that is sensing her absence.
May 4, 2003 Kapow! Superhero Science - shown on the Discovery Channel at 9pm and included several segments from Natasha's life. Thanks to Gloria Morris and Actuality Production, Los Angeles! Also see a nice writeup by Prentiss Findlay at the Charleston Post and Courier - Sunday May 4, 2003 edition.
August 8, 2003 This summer has brought many golden silk spiders (Nephila Clavipes) or banana spiders to the Charleston area. Friends have phoned to tell me that they have very interesting colonies of spiders, and would I like to see them. The answer was "of course". And now there are several additions:
February, 2004 The Australian Broadcasting Company did a very nice story about spiders and used some of Natasha's photos. Visit ABC-Science Spiders Spin Out
May, 2004
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C. Frank Starmer