Saturday, May 14

Is not just us being busy!

Whilst we have been busy, weeding, sowing seeds, digging, clearing and planting the bumble bees have been busy on the far more important task of pollinating the flowers on our fruit.
Well OK I know they really only pollinate accidentally as it’s the nectar and pollen that they want to get hold of but it is a very happy accident for us.
The tayberry growing by our shed patio is loaded with flower and while we were sitting having a coffee break we couldn’t help but notice all sorts of shapes and sizes of bumblebees visiting the flowers. I have tried to learn how to identify each type by using an identification guide but find it just too much like hard work to learn a name that is probably unpronounceable anyway. To me they will just remain large, small, or stripy bumblebees – except that is the one with the red bottom which I know is a red tailed bumble bee – see that one is easy.
Just to add to the complication there are cuckoo bees that aren’t true bumble bees. They don't collect pollen as they don't have any grubs to feed. Like their namesake they lay their eggs in the nests of other bees! I think I’ll stick to just enjoying watching and photographing them. I’m sharing some photos that I managed to take – bees are not the most co-operative of subjects to photograph – maybe someone with more inclination to identify the species may tell us which bees they are.
It’s amazing how taking a photograph makes you notice things that you hadn’t before – for instance I never realised that tayberry flower buds had spines – but they do!

Update on nest box cam
The chicks are growing fast keeping the parent birds very busy - as busy as bees. Inside the nest cup is very crowded so I expect the chicks to venture further into the nest box shortly. If you are interested in having a peep click on the link on the blog sidebar.

Dahlia update
I was asked how are dahlias had fared through last winter - well the short answer is not well - Martyn has more on his blog here.

More information
My full May diary is available on my website here and latest photo album is here

24 comments:

  1. Wow, lovely close-ups! It's always great to see the bees hard at work!

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  2. Fabulous pictures. Where would we be without bees? I hope we never have to find out!

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  3. The bees look so furry and cuddly zoom in like that. So cute.

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  4. Impressive photos - I never seem to manage to be in the right place at the right time with my camera. I spotted three different kinds of bees when I was planting up my Malvern buys yesterday, but haven't a clue which was what - except the honey bees, which I can now recognise. Am off to check up on the Dahlia update, thank you!

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  5. Great photos. It's good to see the bees hard at work, you should get bumper crops thanks to them.

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  6. I love to watch the bees...all different shapes and sizes. I thought the really big ones were the only ones referred too as bumble bees?? I am probably wrong though. I had never really thought about how many different species of bee there are but now I find myself very intrigued....I can think of 6 different types that I see on a daily basis and until now had never really thought about them all being distinguishable by different names!!

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  7. Hi Naomi - I love watching bees

    A guy at an RSPB reserve we visited said that bumble bees pollinate far more than honeybees so anything we can do to help them is in our interests as well as theirs.

    Like winged teddy bears Diana.

    Yes I recognise the honeybees Janet - interestingly some people think they are wasps.

    I hope we do get plenty of fruit Jo

    All bumble bees are large in comparison to other bees Tanya but they still are a range of sizes.

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  8. You are indeed guilty of the same obsession! Such gorgeous detail - gossamer wings and velvety fur. I often get the compulsion to stroke a bumble bee, but restrain myself in time. However I do talk to them. Some may call it weird - I just think it's civilised!

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  9. Enjoyed this post.

    BTW Linda, you are not mad because you talk to bees.

    (If they talk back then you are!)

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  10. Beautiful Bumble Bees! Lovely pics :) We don't have any bee's with red on them..lest I don't think so. Cheers, Jenni

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  11. My grandad did used to stroke them Linda and they just carried on with whatever they were doing.

    I did try to photograph more yesterday Mal as I saw some different ones but the wind was blowing the plants about too much.

    Hi Jenni - maybe you have some types we don't get. I know some of your birds are very different.

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  12. They are so gorgeous! They aren't so cuddly like that over here. I miss them!

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  13. Don't you have bumble bees Mrs Bok?

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  14. Wonderful to see so many bees about this year.

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  15. We had some different types on the tayberry flowers the other day but it was too windy to get any photos. Not only were the bees on the move but the flowers they landed on were on the move too.

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  16. Martyn got some gorgeous baby bird shots yesterday. A fluffy blackbird and a robin who looked as though if he could he would have his wings on his hips in annoyance.They are here if you want a look

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  17. Wow Sue, how wonderful to see so many bee species. Good to hear everyone has 'bee'n busy ;-)

    Love the Blackbird photo. Had the video camera out here as they've arrived in our garden too. A lovely time of year :-))

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  18. Very good Shirl like the pun! Lovely to see the young birds we have a few blackbirds and the other day one male went hurtling up to a young one with worms in his mouth and seemed to suddenly realise it wasn't his baby and left it wormless!

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  19. Fantastic pic! Everytime I've tried to get pics of insects like this they never stay still long enough. lol

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  20. P & M It helps as I set my camera to busrt which takes several photos in rapid succession. I get lots of photos that need deleting though - some where the insect has disappeared altogether

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  21. You little wildlife photographer you :) Send some Bee's my way, they would be made very welcome here!

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  22. Are you beeless Craig? At the moment chives, tayberry and raspberry flowers are attracting the most attention.

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  23. I think it's fascinating to observe the variety of pollinators that visit a garden.

    (In the US, we say "spittlebug.")

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  24. Which describes it completely L&R - it's a bit like our ladybird and your ladybug!

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