I think it was about a week ago, on 11 June, that I saw a nice female jumping spider near my house on a pipe leading to the rainwater tank. Since then I have seen a smaller male in the same area. It was last summer that I recognized the first jumping spider I ever saw, Sitticus finschi, but these spiders I've seen this year are a different species with some different markings. The female has two rows of three yellow/white dots on the back of her abdomen, the male's pattern was less noticable overall but both have an attractive mottled grey background. As with all jumping spiders, watching them move about is a lot of fun. I was thinking dressing up as a jumping spider for the upcoming 10K Midnight Sun Run would be a good costume. Or maybe attach some big fake spiders on my clothing and declare that I am the infamous comic superhero. Now, where did I put my toy spiders?
There are a lot of other neat animals around. I've seen a great grey owl silently flying through the forest, a red fox, voles, wolf spiders and web-building spiders, fiery searcher beetle (genus Calosoma), and carpenter ants looking for a new nest site. This year has seen a bumper crop of Whitespotted sawyer beetles (Monochamus scutellatus) in the area. They are easily recognized by their big size, with white spots on a black body and long antennae. This is in contrast to the extremely low level of spruce budworms - and the spruce trees look beautiful because of it!