Monday, 1 July 2013

Charming bumblers

I've been pretty much out of action the last couple of weeks, due to breaking my toe at aikido and finding walking suddenly became really quite uncomfortable. Actually, it's fine when I'm barefoot, which means (ironically enough) that I can still do aikido perfectly happily, but pressure from footwear (even socks) is painful. My wildlife fix has come courtesy of Susan's garden - I spent last week at her house in Pembury, looking after her cat, while she was swanning around Devon seeing Dippers and all sorts. It was a mostly dry week with some sunshine.

No shortage of House Sparrows around here. Mums, dads and kids came to the feeders all day every day. The pic of the male having a dust bath was, unfortunately, taken through the window.

A bit more of the local birdlife. The most fledgling Blue Tits I saw on the fatballs at any one time was six, so that's an encouraging sign of a good breeding season. Nice to see a baby Dunnock too. The Green Woodpecker was the biggest treat though. Photo taken from an upstairs window, so as not to scare him off.

The real interest for me this week though was bees. I'd noticed on visiting Susan's house a couple of weeks before that there were some Tree Bumblebees visiting the flowers, and I was keen to photograph them, plus the various other species that were around.

Here's a Tree Bumblebee. Very distinctive - ginger thorax, black body, white bottom. This was probably the most numerous species visiting the flowers...

 ... though this beauty, the Early Bumblebee, would be a close second. The light ginger bum on this species is its most distinctive feature, especially as some lack the yellow band at the top of the abdomen and so are mostly black.

An example of a mostly black Early. The flowers are phlox by the way (thanks Galatas on the RSPB forum for identifying them).

This is the same individual as the previous pic, not a great angle for ID but apart from that it's my favourite shot of the week - these bees have such great faces.

A couple of Buff-tailed Bumbles. I think. There were not that many of these around, and I have to hold my hands up and admit that I'm not too sure how to tell Buff-tailed from White-tailed, as both have white 'tails' (it's only the queen Buff-tailed who has a buff behind, workers are white of bottom).

And finally, the Honey-bee. I use the singular because I saw literally one, this one, all week, which is a little troubling. I'll make a point of looking out for them elsewhere from now on, once my pesky foot is better.

ETA - you know what, I think this might actually be a Leafcutter Bee (Megachile centuncularis). Any thoughts out there?

1 comment:

Phil said...

The good old Sparrow and the humble Bumble. Always overlooked yet always nice to see Marianne.
Hope your toe is on the mend, let me know when you are fighting fit again and we'll book a trip.