Tag Archives: Honey Bee

Defamation of Character!

As you probably realised I have been away for a few days, gathering botanical specimens for the benefit of our understanding and not what Fizz said, that is just her impish sense of fun.

Impish sense of funI was not lying in a ditch, I was in the pink.

Starting with pinks, I have got Primroses.
PrimroseNot pins or thrums or even yellow ones, I have got pink Primroses.

Pink Primrose

Pink PrimroseThis is the real thing, not a hybrid or garden escapee, this is the pink form of Primula vulgaris subspecies vulgaris a pink wild Primrose. They are not that rare but I didn’t have pictures and now I do 🙂

Pink Primrose

Pink Primrose

Pink Primrose

Pink PrimroseNow put pink out of your mind or the colours might clash.

This next one was a wonderful find.

I have been walking miles to get photographs of the various stages of Coltsfoot. A couple of days ago I was walking back from just such an expedition when we came to the gate.

This is where Fizz likes to play “The Gate Game.”
The Gate GameThis particular gate is by the side of a track we regularly walk and it is very close to home.

The rules of the game are simple. She runs under the gate with the ball and sits there looking at me, she won’t budge. If I climb over the gate she runs back under, to the other side and we play again. She can play this game for a long time. It is so funny. (Her impish sense of fun, again)

This time when I climbed over, I forgot all about her and didn’t bother coming back.

Coltsfoot on my doorstep.
ColtsfootI have shown you the flower, it is a beautiful flower but that’s not it.

We had been out for about three hours in bright sunshine and we hadn’t seen an insect, not even a Butterfly. The Coltsfoot was swarming with them.

I need these photographs again for Easy Wildflowers. It is okay to say, “Provides a valuable source of nectar and pollen early in the year” but it is much better to have photographs.

Honey Bees.
Honey BeeWhen I photograph insects I really want to get the eyes and it can get very frustrating trying to capture Bees on Thistles or Dandelions because they bury their faces in the flower. Coltsfoot is lovely and flat and it doesn’t give them anywhere to hide.

Honey Bee

Honey Bee

Honey Bee

Moving on…Honey BeeThere were lot’s of Butterflies but all of them Small Tortoiseshells and some of them were quite badly torn so today I will move past them quite quickly. (We will have lots of Butterflies later)

Small Tortoiseshell(Butterfly nectaring on Coltsfoot)

I just want to show you one more insect today. This next one is a Hover Fly, called a Drone Fly it is a Bee mimic.

This is Eristalis tenex.

You can tell it is a Hover Fly and not a Bee because it only has two wings and it has a thick waist.

Common Drone FlyIt has huge eyes that would meet in the middle if it were a male, this one is female and it has stubby little antennae.

Common Drone FlyIt is not quite so easy to get it to species, they can vary in colour a lot.

This is Eristalis tenex because it has a banana shaped back leg (curved rear tibia).

Eristalis tenexThe hairs on it’s back legs are longer in the centre of each section and that is indicative of species.

Eristalis tenexIf you look closely there are two lines of fine hair running down it’s eyes. That is probably not very clear unless you are looking for it.

Eristalis tenexOh dear. Am I boring you?

Bored FizzJust one more little flower today.

I have been fretting over this one. It is already in flower and I haven’t put it on EW yet. There are two subspecies and I wanted the pictures to show the difference. This is the flower in question.

The Ivy-leaved Speedwell.

Ivy-leaved Speedwell

You have to look closelyIvy-leaved Speedwell

Really closely.Ivy-leaved Speedwell

There it is.Ivy-leaved Speedwell

A British pond coin is about the same size as a wedding ring and an Ivy-leaved Speedwell is the same size as the “G” in “REG.”Ivy-leaved SpeedwellInside the flower there are even tinier bits (smaller than Fizz) and what I have been looking for is a picture of the anthers just before they open to produce pollen. There is a fairly small window of opportunity.

If the anthers are bright blue, before they get covered with white pollen and all the other bits add up then it is Veronica hederifolia subspecies hederifolia and that is what I think that I have got here.

Ivy leaved speedwellDoes it really matter? Will anybody ever look?

What do you think Fizz?

FizzFizz thinks that we should play ball.

How Brave I Am

Well, it is not every day that you walk into the middle of a swarm of African Killer Bees. Actually, these may have been Honey Bees, in fact I am pretty sure that these were Honey Bees.

So anyway I was walking past the front garden when I heard a sound that I thought must be machinery. It was very loud and coming from the garden but I couldn’t place it, it wasn’t the sound that a lawnmower makes.

I was standing in the middle of this swarm overwhelmed by their presence and fascinated.

Then I saw the Farmer and told him about them, he kept telling me to get back, they might go for me and I was just saying, “No, why would they do that?” Apparently Bees can be quite dangerous as I learned when the bee keeper turned up.

He told me that no two swarms were alike, some were very aggressive and some were docile. Well, I didn’t know that, anyway this was a docile (ish) bunch.

Honey Bees Honey Bees

They formed a ball in the Magnolia and we sent for a bee keeper.

By the time that he got here they had pretty much settled in the tree, he was going to unsettle them.

Honey Bees

He was a very nice fellow. Sadly he told me that he had lung cancer and was a bit short of breath but he wasn’t afraid to go up a tree and get the bees. I carried stuff for him.

His technique was pretty simple, “Aren’t you going to calm them with smoke or anything?” I asked, “Nah, it’ll probably be all right.” he told me.

He just went up a ladder and cut away a few branches and then cut the one the bees were on and dropped them into a box.

I did ask for his permission to photograph him at work and he was happy to let me do that.

Bee Keeper Bee Keeper Bee KeeperAt this point he has got the bees in his box, most of them and notice that although he is wearing a veil he has not bothered with gloves.

Bee Keeper Bee Keeper Bee KeeperHow cool is that?

Honey Bees Honey Bees Honey Bees Honey Bees Honey BeesMy antics as I tried to film the proceedings caused the farmer and his friends some amusement. I flinched a bit and dodged, they were getting caught in my hair. I may even have run away a couple of times.

I made a movie to try and capture the ambiance.

This was just one little extra adventure that I was granted yesterday. I get lucky, I get lucky a lot with nature and I am very grateful. This was a wonderful experience. (A bit scary too) Very cool.

Naked Men and Meles meles

The puppy and I have been Badger watching in a manner of speaking… On a hot afternoon.


FizzI am sorry for inserting this first video but I make me laugh so much.

The way that I see it a naturalist is just somebody who would take their clothes off, if Al wasn’t there.

Sorry about that. Meles meles:

The quality of these videos isn’t great, I have got the lights turned down to minimum because I was getting a lot of glare back in my previous location and I forgot to reset them.

The action is good and it is enough to tell me that I am in a good location and to try again. The very first video that I got wasn’t until 10:30. I want the lazy animals out much earlier than that.

This is work in progress.

There were a lot of beautiful flowers about as we made our way up to the sett.

I can’t really show you Honeysuckle again as we have only just done that but the Nettles were in flower.

Honeysuckle Nettle Honeysuckle NettleGet out of my bag!

FizzThe same goes for the Dog Rose, that’s been done to death. Here is a Honey Bee instead.

Honey Bee Dog Rose Honey BeeI saw a lot of bees today. No you don’t understand, I saw a LOT of bees today. Watch out for a post that may be called “How Brave I Am”