Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Bumblebees 2013

Despite it still being rather chilly the bumblebees are out in numbers in the mid- spring sunshine this evening. I counted six buff-tailed bumblebee queens, (Bombus terrestris) on this Berberis shrub in our garden.

This buff tailed bumblebee hung onto the plant stalk while she washed her face and had a bit of a tidy up. (I believe they brush the pollen off themselves). It is so good to see them. I was getting quite concerned this year.

Guess who has learnt how to enlarge and crop a photo?
I also saw my first Holly Blue butterfly (Celastrena argiolus) of the year in my garden too.

Update: This morning I found this little fellow crawling across my desk. It is a weevil (Family Curculionidae), possibly a vine weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus) or similar species. I bribed it with some dock (Rumex) leaves and it stayed still long enough for me to get this photo. This graceful herbivore is considered as something of a garden pest. I rather admire it. After eating a sizeable portion of vegetation it hid under the leaves and had a good long rest. A weevil after my own heart.

This is the Common Carder bee (Bombus pascuorum) viewed from above.

This is possibly the solitary Tawny Mining-bee (Andrena fulva). If so, she was picking up the pollen that had dropped from the Berberis flowers above. A bit like the small birds do after the finches have been at the bird feeder.

The violets seem to be doing very well this year. This is the Common dog-violet (Viola riviniana).
Photograph by Katie Walker

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