Summer, And The Insects, Return To The PPL Wetlands.


It was Saturday, and, of course, it rained as usual  here in Northeastern Pennsylvania.   We were lucky this past  weekend, the first of this Summer.  The rains ended early,  by 9 a.m., soon the clouds departed, and the  sun was  shining. And  I was off to visit the PPL Wetlands. 

The woods at the Wetlands  still have their deep green Spring color but there are many signs that Summer is here. One of the most noticeable was the increase in insects. The ponds, lakes and canals of the wetlands now had swarms of dragonflies and damselflies hovering along their  duckweed covered shores. 

I love watching them dart about, defending their territory, looking for a meal or  looking for a mate.

There are so many species each with their distinctive colors and patterns. They are complex and beautiful creatures. 

And there were also hoards of some not so beautiful insects, the mosquitoes, deer flies and gnats. I have many itching bites to prove it. There were also a lot more bees , wasps and some moths and butterflies. I think this is a common buckeye butterfly. 

As I walked through the trails of the wetlands I founds many other signs that Summer is here including quite a few wild raspberry bushes which provided me with a few handfuls of delicious berries. 

The high bush, or ‘swamper” blueberries are still green but it looks like they will produce a good crop in a few weeks. 

A lot of the plants of early Spring such as the mandrake or may apple and skunk cabbage have already started  to decay, 

But, like everything in nature they are quickly replaced, They are now overgrown with ferns, vines and other plants such as the elderberries which are now in full bloom. 

And these plants also are producing berries but I wouldn’t recommend eating them, these were produced by a large and old poison ivy vine. 

Even though the waters are now warm, and, in most areas, covered in duckweed, a lot of the turtles still enjoy basking in the intense June sun. 

As I  watched the turtles I saw this green heron on a log, stalking some prey, maybe a fish, frog or young  turtle.

I walked toward the Riverlands and Lake Took-A- While  and saw a few birds along the way, including this shy and elusive  a wood duck and a few of her ducklings. 

The trees were filled with the sounds of the song birds but it is so hard to find them in the thick foliage, I am sure I walked under hundreds of them until I finally was able to photograph this yellow warbler. 

I also saw many of the year long residents, the cardinals, robins, sparrows and this blue bird. 

And of course the were the  noisy red-winged black birds


and catbirds, they seemed to be everywhere.

The lake was not as crowded as in past weeks but still a few folks were trying their luck at fishing or enjoying a walk along it’s shores. 

As I walked along it’s shores I heard the noisy chatter of a kingfisher. I have seen this bird fly overhead for weeks now but could not get a good photograph. Yesterday I was lucky, as it flew across the lake and interacted what looked like other kingfishers.

I checked the photographs when I got home, and, after  cropped them, I discovered it  was a family of kingfishers. They aren’t the best photographs but check out my next blog post to see some more. 

I also saw a few canada geese with their goslings along the lake. Here is a link to some more photographs of the birds I saw at the wetlands yesterday.

The sun was heating up the water and the dragonfly activity seemed to increase with the heat. I decided to walk back to my car and get my macro lens and try to capture the intricacies of these ancient insects. 

I was able to slowly sneak up close to a few perched on a leaf or branch over the water. I was out for a few hours and the intense sun told me it was time head home. Here is a link to some more photographs of the dragonflies I saw

I made my way back to the car under the canopy of leaves and enjoyed the sun filtering through to the woodland floor.

There is no question in my mind, I love the Spring and Summer a lot more than the Winter and I am going to enjoy getting outdoors as much as I can  these next three months, And I hope to share my adventures and photographs with all of you .Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike in the wetlands.


“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
Henry James

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Up Close And Far Away: Macro And The Moon. Both Perspectives Are Beautiful In Their Own Way.

I have still been busy at the office, and it has still been hot here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, so I haven’t been on any long hikes or adventures, but still a lot to see, even near  your own backyard. macro -28

I walked about a block from my house yesterday with my macro lens and was, again, amazed at the variety of insect life I was able to find. macro -25

There are not a lot of flowers in bloom this time of year, but the bees, wasps, flies and other insects sure found they ones that are blooming. I found hundreds of insects visiting a patch of mint flowers. macro -15

It seems every time I walk with my camera and macro lens I find a new insect I have never seen before. yesterday it was this unusual fly. Here is a link to some more photographs of the insects I saw near my house. -27

It was a cloudy evening, and the clouds prevented me from watching the full moon rise, but I set my alarm , and awoke in the middle of the night and was treated to a cloud shrouded moon while I was serenaded by a chorus of katydids and crickets. full moon -6

It was a magical evening. Here is a link to some more photographs of the full moon. moon -12

It was cloudy and a bit cooler this morning, but the sun broke through the clouds and it got hot. I decided to leave the office a bit early and headed to the PPL Riverlands with my macro lens. macro-1

Once again I enjoyed the complexity and beauty of nature up close. It is an entirely new world.Here is a link to some more potogrpahs from my walk.

Here, like my yard, I found only a few flowers in bloom, but the one that were, attracted moths, butterflies and insects.macro-18

There are now more berries and seeds being produced by the many plants that bloomed earlier in the summer and in spring. macro-14

And,of course the ponds, canals and lake were active with the darting and hovering of the many species of dragonflies.macro-34

I could spend hours, probably days, watching and photographing these beautiful creatures. macro-30

They have been flying through the atmosphere of our planet before the dinosaurs walked the Earth. Here is a link to some more photographs of the dragonflies, which also can be found in my photograph albums page of my blog.

Even though the summer heat has caused the birds, amphibians, reptiles  and mammals to become quiet and inactive there is still plenty of beauty in the warm days of summer if you look up or down and keep your eyes peeled. macro-22


I am the dragonfly rising on the wings of unlocked dreams on the verge of magical things.” – Aimee Stewartmacro-35






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The Insects Don’t Seem To Mind The Heat

It was another hazy, hot and humid day here in Northeastern Pennsylvania yesterday. Temperatures again hovered in the mid 90’s. I decided to stay close to home, and took a few shorter hikes in the heat, the first at the local Rails to Trails, with my macro lens. Insects -15

There are not many flowers in bloom now, but the many species of insects sure were able to find those that were.  It was amazing to see the many types of insects attracted to the queen anne’s lace growing along the trail.Insects -23

The most common now were the many types of grasshoppers. They seemed to be everywhere. Insects -5

The beautiful thistles are also blooming now. And they too attracted many insects, including these beautiful moths. Insects -42

It is amazing how many different types of bees and wasps there are in our area. I tried to photograph a very small, thin and unusual wasp but they would flee at the slightest move. Insects -11

And I came across these unusual insect, it seems to be some type of mantis with those large  pincers .  Here is a link to some more of the photographs from my morning hike. -31

I walked for about an hour in the heat, returned home for some water and a break, and then decided to take another hike out to one of our many local parks and lakes, this one only a few mile from my home, Lake Irena at the Community Park in Hazle Township. Insects  community Park -1

It was now midday and the heat was intense but there were still a lot of folks enjoying the shade of the old oak trees and having a picnic or just getting out of the sun. The insect, however didn’t mind the heat or sun. Insects  community Park -9

I first walked along the shore  of the lake, and found plenty of dragonflies darting about. I didn’t want  to stand in the hot sun to try and get close ups, that will wait for some cooler weather. Insects  community Park -15

Again I saw a lot of grasshoppers jumping about and this poor fellow who jumped into the lake. He was really struggling and seemed to look at me for help, well probably not, but I helped him get out of the water anyway. Insects  community Park -11

And this strange insect flew into the frame of my glasses and didn’t want to leave. Insects  community Park -8

I left the lake, to get out of the intense heat and sun, and walked along a path under some ancient oak trees. The shade was refreshing, and  the many mushrooms I found growing there, also seemed to appreciate it. Insects  community Park -2

The heat was exhausting so I left the park. I really enjoyed having an up close look at nature and the world of the insects and may do it again today. Here is a link to some more photographs from my walk at Community park.

Insects  community Park -3

“In summer the empire of insects spreads.”
― Adam ZagajewskiInsects -32


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Some Hikes With My Macro Lens: An Insects View Of Summer

It was a beautiful Fourth of July weekend here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, cooler and less humid, with a refreshing breeze and plenty of sunshine.  Perfect for the picnics and fireworks.  Also great weather for hiking and checking the wild mushrooms and blueberries or, as we call them ‘huckleberries”. macro dragonfly-27

I decided to take my  macro lens on my hikes, hoping to find some insects and dragonflies, during my search for the berries and mushrooms. .  I think the cool Spring hurt the low bush blueberry crop. There were not too many to be found.  The high bush blueberries or ‘swampers’ were plentiful and  were just beginning to ripen. They should be abundant  in a few weeks.macro dragonfly-5

The ‘swamper’ blueberries get there  name since they grow in or near water and where there is water, there are insects, especially dragonflies. They are now darting just about everywhere there is even the smallest pond or  swamp. macro -18

I love watching these  most ancient  insects. They  predated the dinosaurs.  They are very territorial and are constantly chasing other dragonflies, and even humans, from their territory. macro dragonfly-30

There were many other insects visiting the flowering thistle, milkweed and other wildflowers. Some were as common as the wasps, yellow jackets and bees. macro -3

Others were far more exotic ones I have never seen before, like this beatle. . macro -28

it is amazing the variety of life that exit in our area which we never notice unless we take the time to look. macro -12

And when you find insects there are spider like this one that I lured out on it’s web by dropping some bits of leaf. macro -12

On one of my hikes I heard the shrill cry of a kill deer. It’s amazing how the blend into the background. Try and find it in this photograph . It isn’t easy. macro dragonfly-7

These birds often lay their eggs in the open ground and when you near their nest the pretend to have a broken wing and try to lead you away from the nest. This one, thinking I was a predator, pulled this deception on me. Here is a link to a you tube video.  Her nest must have been in the area I was walking so, after taking the video, I left her alone. Here is a link to some more photographs of the killdeer. dragonfly-12

We had some rain last week and I was hoping to find some of the early miler mushrooms. No luck but I did find a number of different species starting to pop up. Hopefully, with the rain we are expecting tonight there will be a lot more growing, including some of the edible species I pick. Here is a link to some more of the mushrooms I found on my hike. -3

Besides the blueberries I also saw some other plants setting fruit which we will enjoy over the next few months, such as these blackberries .macro -15

And these grapes.  Here is a link to some more of the plants and young fruits i saw on my hike. -14

On one of my walks, I came upon some tiny newly hatched fish darting about. I never seen  them this small beforemacro -34

And, unfortunately, I also encountered way too many of these pest. I must have pulled five ticks off me on my hikes. But they must have a purpose too. macro -32

And as beautiful as the world looked up close on my hikes, the scenery of the July woods on these clear and cool days was just as spectacular.  There is just so much to see and do  this time of year. I love  the Summer.  Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. -7


~ The camera doesn’t make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But, you have to SEE. – Ernst Haasmacro -31


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June From A Different Perspective; A Look At The insect World.

I took advantage of the cool but pleasant weather we’ve been having  these past few days  to walk near my home with my macro lens after I got home from work. I love looking at the natural world up close. The complexity is so beautiful as can be seen by this newly formed blackberry. macro -1

I was looking  to photograph the many insects we often walk by and hardly notice, .  It’s amazing the  many different species  that  are living with  us. and we never notice them macro -13

I found quite few insect on the many daisies that are now blooming along the paths in the woods near my house. macro -5

I have seen some of them before like this beatle. macro -3

And others, like this one, I saw for the first time. macro -11

I have also seen this small white spider that  seems to only live on daisies. It blends in with the white petals and is very hard to find. macro -21

I also found this tiny spider hiding on some flower petals.  It truth is remarkable how the blend in with the flowers. macro -2

I also found this tiny spider, yes it’s a spider, I had to look twice too. And it was a very quick one, disappearing as I tried to get a better photograph.macro -8

And the moths and butterflies are starting to appear. Again I  am not good at identifying the names of the  these moths, but I do know they are beautiful and delicate and I  enjoy seeing them fluttering in our woodlands again. macro -4

It won’t be long until the monarch and swallowtail butterflies appear.macro -13

It was very windy these past few days so there weren’t many dragonflies and damselflies darting through the air but i did find a few perched on leaves and branches. macro -17

I love finding and photographing these delicate creatures. I could spend hours watching them. macro -15

I was only in the woods a short time and still found such a wide variety of insects. All of them, even the many types of flies, so different and yet amazing looked at up close. macro -6

I wish I had more time to discover more of  these  often overlooked creatures  which are  still a part of  our natural world. So much  to see  in these warm months, birds, animals, trees, flowers, and yes, even the insects. here is a link to some more photographs I  took on my hikes. -14


“In summer the empire of insects spreads.”
Adam Zagajewskimacro -17





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Another Up Close Look At The Beauty Of Spring.

We have finally had some Summer-like weather here in Northeastern Pennsylvania these past few days and it has resulted in a spurt in the growth of the plants, trees and flowers. macro-5

I took a few walks with my macro lens to once again capture the beauty of May  from an insect’s perspective. macro hike -18

For a few days I was very alarmed to not find any bees at the rhododendron flowers which are now starting to bloom. macro hike -6

I have been noticing fewer and fewer bees and other insects for a few years now and this year walked for two days and didn’t see a single bee. Thankfully, yesterday I finally saw a few buzzing about the beautiful rhododendron flowers gathering the first pollen of the year to feed their hive. macro-9

I am hoping the wet and cool Spring weather we had delayed their appearance and that they once again are busily pollinating the flowers as they should. We would be in a lot of trouble if they didn’t. macro-15

I found some tiny  blueberries or,  as we call them around here huckleberries, just starting to develop. i learned,  from photographing them up close, that the seeds form first and the fleshy fruit we eat grows around them. Very  interesting.macro-11

It is amazing how delicate and intricate almost all of the plants, leaves and flowers are when viewed up close. macro hike -25

Even the dreaded poison ivy leaves have a beauty to them when viewed through with a macro lens.macro hike -10

I did see my first dragonfly on one of my walks but wasn’t able to get a photograph. There should be a lot more of them with the onset of the warm and humid weather. I also saw a few moths and butterflies hovering about the flowers in the fields and woods. macro hike -32

And even the ordinary wasps and flies have a strange beauty when viewed up close. macro hike -41

All of our plants and trees have now set forth their leaves, even the oaks, always the last to  last to leaf and the last to lose them in the Fall. macro hike -27

On my way home I visited my mom’s peony plants and again found them covered with ants. macro hike -16

There are so many objects to photograph in the woods, gardens  and fields near my house that I  could spend days just roaming them with my macro lens. But then I wouldn’t get to see, photograph and share the many beautiful landscapes and wildlife that inhabits them.macro hike -34

I do know this for certain, I will never be bored in the Spring, Summer or Fall here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Here is a link to some more photographs I took on my hikes with my macro lens.


“Look around you…Feel the wind, smell the air. Listen to the birds and watch the sky. Tell me what’s happening in the wide world.” macro hike -11
Nancy Farmer





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Not Many Mushrooms Today, But Lot Of Color, And Some Wasps, Bees and Spiders.

It was another nice Fall  day here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The leaves continue to get more color everyday now and should soon be at their peak. macro hike (1 of 18)

I have been finding quite a few mushrooms since we got some rain last week. This is a photograph of some he of the woods mushrooms(we call them ramsheads around here) I found on Tuesday. !7 pounds. A nice haul, for sure.12109022_1235686976456919_2502289044651456299_n

So I left the office a little early to try and find a few more. Of course, I’m not telling where I went but it was somewhere in the woods. No hen of the woods but I did find a few honey mushrooms, also known as popinkies or stumpers in our area. macro hike (15 of 18)

It isn’t easy looking for wild mushrooms. Today, I had to hike through woods full thorns and brambles. They are like hidden barbed wire.  macro hike (7 of 18)

And what I find even worse are the many spider webs strewn across my path. There is nothing as horrible as walking face first into a spider web, especially if the owner, one of these critters,  is sitting in the middle of it. macro hike spider (1 of 1)

There is an abundant crop of acorns this year and  the ground is covered in them under the older oak trees. And the woods were full of squirrels and chipmunks feeding on the bounty.macro hike (13 of 18)

I also saw a lot of bees and wasps taking advantage of the late blooming flowers, well not sure if you can call ragweed a flower but the bees and wasps love it anyway. Here is a link to some more photographs of the wasps I took today. hike bee  164 - (1 of 1)

I walked over four miles and only came home with under a pounds of popinkies  but it was a nice day to be outdoors and I mixed the popinkies  with the hen of the woods left over form Tuesday. They sure were good. I am hoping to get out this weekend again, it may be the last chance to find mushrooms this year.  I’m a Summer person and I’m not looking forward to the cold weather that will soon be here. But Spring is just around the corner. Here are some more photographs from my hike today. hike bee 143 (1 of 2)5/nggallery/blog-photos/macromushroom-hike-october-8-2015


“Autumn is a season followed immediately by looking forward to Spring.”
–  Anonymous

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Malmo Sweden: Those Swedish Folks Sure Love Their Flowers.

Sorry I left you folks in Sweden, but  it was difficult keeping  up with my blog posts after I joined up with my fellow  group of travelers in Denmark. We spent so much time exploring the beautiful countries cities of Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki and the unplanned visit to Tallinn, sharing meals and traveling, what was left was needed for sleep. And that wasn’t much considering the long days of the Scandinavian Summer. Malmo Sweden morning walk l   July 28  2015 (26 of 50)

I really wanted to share these photographs of the beautiful flowers that seemed to be everywhere in the Swedish city of Malmo.Malmo Sweden flowers  (22 of 27)


The small space between the narrow cobblestone streets and the quaint houses were all planted with hollyhocks and roses. The fragrance of the roses filled the air. And  i have never seen so many different colored hollyhocks. I am used to the red ones most folks in my neighborhood planted when I was a child. This is a link to more of the many colored hollyhocks, and a few roses, I photographed on the streets of Malmo. And, of course, you can just view them in the photograph  pages  of my blog.

Malmo Sweden hollyhocks and a few roses (3 of 13)





The public squares, cemeteries , and parks where all planted in flowers.Malmo Stotrorget july 26 2015 (10 of 12)



And of course where there are flowers there are bees. They were buzzing everywhere. They reminded me of how it used to be here in my town when I was young. Not so anymore there are fewer and fewer of them each passing year. Sad, But they where plentiful in Malmo and they were so different form the bees here in the Pennsylvania.I had more time in Sweden, when I was traveling alone in Sweden  so  I was able to get out with my macro lens and get some close ups. Amazing.  Malmo Sweden wasp  134 (1 of 1)


This is a link to some more photographs I took of the Swedish bees and wasps I found in Malmo . Sweden Morning walk july 26 2015 (23 of 23)

Although the streets mainly were planted with roses and hollyhocks I found a wide variety of native flowers in the beautiful Slottsragarden. I could have spent a month here. There is so much beauty all over this planet and the city of Malmo, which I had never heard of a few months ago, certainly has it’s share. I will never forget my visit there. Here is a link to some more of the many colorful flowers I found in these wonderful gardens.

Malmo Sweden flowers  (2 of 2)



“I must have flowers, always, and always.”
Claude MonetMalmo Sweden flowers  (4 of 27)

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Time Waits For No One, A Lesson Learned From A Two Week Vacation And A Walk In The Woods.

I returned from a fabulous two week vacation in Scandinavia which seemed to go by in the wink of an eye. All of the wonderful sights kept me so busy it seemed like I was gone for a day. Well a few hikes in the woods today showed me that the passage of time in the natural world didn’t stop while I was gone.

In those short two weeks I missed the bloom of the delicate white fringed orchid that grows in a bg near my home. I found only a few faded flowers .photo

And it seemed the milkweed was just in flower but now they are laden with thickening pods. and the elderberries are ripe and being eaten by the birds. photo (1)

I headed to the PPL Riverlands later in the morning and again realized how quickly the Summer passes. Many of the plants now have fruits and berries. The wild grapes are beginning to ripen and flowers and grasses are setting seeds. Summer is well past it’s peak now. It’s sad how quickly it passes and being away for just these two weeks made me realize this. PPL Riverlands  (2 of 13)

And I also realized then amazing amount of things there are to see  just about everywhere you look. I spent just about an hour walking in the Riverlands and I saw this tiny fawn.PPL Riverlands fawn 29 (1 of 1)

I encountered a groundhog who seemed to be just as interested in watching me as i was in watching him. PPL Riverlands groundhog  (2 of 3)


A heard the shrill cry of a red tailed hawk and found one siting in a tree.PPL Riverlands hawk 26 (1 of 1)


I changed lens and explored the area with my macro lens and again found a large variety of insects, moths and bees.PPL Riverlands wasp 48 (1 of 1)

I realized today just how quickly time passes in the Summer and I just don’t want to miss any of it. i don’t think I will travel again during the Summer months. it is short enough in these parts and I want to enjoy every minute of it. This is a link to some more photographs from my hikes this morning. Riverlands  (2 of 4)


Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. ~Carl Sandburg

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Mushrooms, Huckleberries And My Macro Lens.

We finally got some summer weather here in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  Mostly sunny skies and warm temperatures have a lot of folks  enjoying some outdoor activities.

I did some swimming on Friday but spent the weekend enjoying two old time outdoor traditions, picking mushrooms and huckleberries. And I was able to engage in my new hobby be bringing along  my camera and macro lens  and  photograph some of the many wonders of nature I encountered in the woods.

We had a lot of rain here in Northeastern Pennsylvania this year and this has resulted in many species of mushroom appearing almost overnight, including aspen scaber bolete mushrooms, which my dad and the Slavic folks called “red tops. macro aspen scaber 159 (1 of 1)

I never found them this early before and have been picking them for a few weeks now.  We would usual find them after Labor Day but not this year. I found quite a few growing yesterday. Gave most away to family but will be cooking some up shortly. Just a warning. there are many deadly mushrooms out there so don’t eat any wild mushrooms unless you know what your picking or had an expert identify them for you. macro butterfly 281 (1 of 1)

And although I was lucky and found some yesterday, I always say, it doesn’t matter if I do, have the fun is being in the woods looking for them. So much to see. Yesterday I saw red tail hawks, a green heron and  many song birds all of which were out of range of my macro lens but where now part of the many pleasurable memories I have of my hikes in the woods. macro bee and tansy 438 (1 of 1)

I was able to photograph many of the smaller, but just as  beautiful inhabitants of the woodlands and ponds. macro moth 335 (1 of 1)

The daises, queen anne’s lace, thistle and other wildflowers attracted all kinds of wasps, bees, butterflies and bugs.  The complexity and beauty of these tiny creature never ceases to amaze me.  I wish I had the time to identify all of them . Any help would be appreciated. macro wasp  240 (1 of 1)

And then there the damsel flies and dragonflies again truly amazing creatures when looked at up close. The intricate design of the dragonfly wing is just incredible.macro dragonfly 334 (1 of 1)


And how about these damselfly lovers and the heart they made.  It was a perfect summer day. macro damselfly 405  (1 of 1)




And today I headed out with my macro lens again but this time in search of wild blueberries. Known in these parts as huckleberries, I went looking for the high bush variety,  which we call “swamper” since they grow in swamps and wetlands. Again it is a bit early but I was able to pick around four quarts.


I heard many frog croaking in the water around the “swamper” bushes and saw many jump in the waters ahead of me as I trudged through the brush. I was only able to get one photograph, this tiny toad that i was able to catch. macro toad (1 of 1)

And again was able to capture a number of insects, butterflies and wasps on my hike.  I love the Summer. Now time to enjoy some of those mushrooms I picked. This is a link to some more photographs I took on my hikes this weekend. Please feel free to comment or add an identification, like this beautiful spider. macro spider 376 (1 of 1)






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