Emma remarked during our Darwin week that it was really hard to identify insects in the wild, even with a good guide, so Darwin's work during the Beagle expedition was even more impressive. My voyage around the back garden turns up lots of spiders this time of year, and without Google (sorry, library databases), I don't know how I'd identify them.
This one is pretty certainly an orb spider, according to the Neararctic Spider Database, which has a pretty good picture on their site. She's quite beautiful. Notice how she posed with the golden triangle on her back clearly visible.
It's hard to get good pictures of spider webs, since they appear and disappear depending on the slant of light, but here are a couple recent examples.
Speaking of critters, earlier this summer some kind of cricket visited me and ended up checking out my blog (I guess).