Friday, April 10, 2015

Tawny Mining bee Update

I went out in the morning to see how she had got on with the nest and in the flower bed was a very neat pile of excavated earth with a very symmetrical round hole in the middle. She was out and about.

I spotted another one later in the day. They are so very pretty, striking two tone ginger.

The some more solitary bees.. a male resting on a leaf. 

And, I think, a female Andrena haemorrhoa, the early mining bee, because of the white hairs on on her face.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Tawny mining bee digging

Today 3 more bee species in the garden. A most beautiful bright Common Carder Bee Bombus pascuorum queen. Sadly no photo as she was gone by the time I brought my camera out.

But then a quick sighting of a bright ginger Tawny mining bee. I saw her disappear into a flower bed and found her, well only her back end really, digging a nest. She was quite oblivious to me.

Then in another flower bed what I think might be an Andrena bicolour. She too disappeared into the undergrowth. ( I am now, 10th April,  correcting this. I think she is an Andrena haemorrhoa. I saw one today very close to this spot. They are similar but this one has white hairs on her face.)

Nearby I think this is a corresponding male as there were quite a few cruising over the surface of the flower bed. This one landed on the windowsill nearby.

I havn't actually seen any mason bees yet but one of the tubes in the bee house has been unplugged, so someone is out and about. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Little Bees on the Field Edge

Every year since I have been here these solitary bees have nested all together on this sunny south facing slope on the edge of a field by the reservoir. I can't even hazard a guess as to what they are. They love to be together! Today they were out in force.

Hundreds of nests along the field edge, with my bike for some idea of scale. They sometimes don't seem so solitary.

I am endlessly impressed by their ability to dig themselves out of this hard packed clay soil. They seem to love hard trodden paths and our soil here is like concrete. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

More Bees

Today the sun is shining which is a huge relief after the rain wind and hail. I spent a few minutes outside with the camera. At last I have a shot of Bombus lucorum, the white tailed Bumble Bee.
I have seen quite a few in the garden before now but never had my camera.

The bees often take a break on the white plastic windows of the conservatory. Its warm I guess! She spent a while having a spruce up before she flew off. 

It's lovely to see that the Hairy Footed Flower Bees are now very busy back in the blue strawberry pot. This will be the third year they have used this pot as a nest site. I think the pot must contain more bees nests than soil. I gave up growing things as it is too dry. The poppy which has seeded there will not survive the sun or the digging of the bees! You can just see the female above the bud in the foreground heading towards the pot. 

.....and to the left in the photo below, visible by those busy wing beats. I could get close enough to see her digging into the soil .. she is quick!

The males are very busy chasing each other but do have to stop now and then to refuel. By the pond, close to the strawberry pot and, therefore, the girls there are some little violets. One of the males stopped for a while. Their hovering ability is wonderful and very characteristic of these bees. They also have a high pitched buzz and the very distinctive white face. 

.....and a long tongue. The females have a slightly deeper buzz and dont hover so much but must be one of the busiest little bees in the garden. They are so delightful zooming about like little black bombs.  

We have seen a brilliant yellow Sulpher butterfly, have huge amounts of frogspawn, and tiny spiders are basking on sunny stones. 

A little queen Bombus pratorum was feeding on the rosemary. Dainty little bees these. The workers can be tiny. 

Hopefully we will have some more sun this weekend :)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Tree Bumble bee, a Beautiful terrestris and another Hairyfooted Flower bee

A sunny if cold day today and three more bee photos.

The winter honeysuckle is a real winner here with the bees and I only wish it were bigger.. but it seems to be doing a good job for the bees.

Tree bumble bee, Bombus hypnorum
Gorgeous big queen hypnorum showing perfectly her signature colours of ginger black and white.

Hairy footed flower bee: Anthophora plumipes female
This female Hairy Footed Flower Bee might well be from the same nest as the male I saw earlier this month.  I fear they have emerged too soon as their favourite flowers are not yet out. But I have seen another male zooming about so hope they are finding something. 

Bombus terrestris queen,the Buff Tailed Bumble Bee, showng that very typical buff tail.
Huge terrestris queen sunning herself on the wall by the kitchen window. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

A Gorgeous Hairy Footed Flower Bee

Sunny but cold, but sunny enough to bring out some more bees. It is as if a switch has been turned on and the frogs are sunning themselves too... It's all about 2 or three weeks behind last year.

Best of all Chris spotted a very new and rather dazed Hairy Footed Flower bee on the ground by the back door . The females nest in the strawberry pot just by the side of the door and its a sunny spot so I guess this is an early one to emerge.
He seemed to need a rest before getting going. He stayed on my hand for about 15 mins. Lovely to see him.

He spent a good while sprucing up and getting things in working order. That tongue is just amazing!

Then a gorgeous, huge Bombus lapidarius queen. Ahhh wonderful signs of spring!

Friday, March 6, 2015

First Bumble Bees

They are telling us that Spring is just about on time this year. It actually seems a bit slow But this week saw some chilly sun and the first Bumble Bees! Hurrah.
Honey bees were first but now I have seen this Bombus terrestris queen a couple of days ago and today a huge Bombus hypnorum queen. Good luck bees.

 Note to self......must get some more crocus.