Friday, 29 June 2012

Shunshine n showers

The Safari was able to get back to Patch 1 yesterday after work and this time we took the camera, just in case the Tree Bees were about. After a wet and dark thundery morning the sun was now out and it was warm and  sticky...excellent invert-ing conditions.
Our quarry was seen almost immediately but was across a wide expanse of Brambles and point blank refused to come any closer. Nothing for it but to try to get a record shot or two. We leaned against the very prickly shrubbery arm outstretched and pointed the camera in the vague direction of the bee, which was deep in shadow. With the sun over our shoulder we couldn't see the camera's screen so just pressed the shutter and blasted away...not the best results but if you turn your head to the right, squint hard and de-focus your eyes you can just about make out it is a Tree Bee.

The last pic in the sequence shows its big white bottom quite nicely - how these things get airborne must be an aeronautical engineers worst nightmare!
Whilst hoping it would come closer - it didn't - we mooched round snapping away at the other invertebrates around and they were in abundance. We saw our first Meadow Brown of the year, shed loads of bumble bees of various species, solitary bees, a lot of Honey Bees, bee mimicking hover flies, beetles and two dueling Large Skippers, one returning to his look out post after patrolling his territory and seeing off his neighbour.
At the far end of the Bramble thicket we spotted a burnet moth climbing to the top of a grass stem...A lovely fresh Narrow Bordered 5-spot Burnet.

Not a bad half hour session...and we take back some of what we said about the current crop of juvenile females. There were two girls from the local secondary school in the drier pond catching and admiring the tiny Froglets; wonder if they were doinfg it for fun in their own time or as past of a school project - either way they seemed to be having a great time.
No Patch 2 today as we're on a day off. we did have some chores to do and one of those meant we were able to revisit the wildflower meadow at the health centre - here's the view from the bonnet as you park your car...stunning!
One of the biggest threats to this meadow may not be mowing but atmospheric pollution, read somewhere the other day that locally nitrogen deposition from the atmosphere is in the order of 20kg/ha/yr - that's a lot of fertiliser on plants that could really do without it.
This arvo we had another wander down to the Tree Bees and met up with CR. On the way we spotted some gormless nerk, probably the landscape gardener, had trimmed part of the Philadelphus hedge along side the Golden Triangle...nothing wrong with that apart from his done it the day before it was about to burst into flower...what possesses them??? In fact there is no need to ever trim this side anyway, it's only against the field and the wind carves it back in the winter! The white flowers above right of the oval are on the top of the 'inner' hedge and sow what this side should look like right the way down to the ground - surely the most inexperienced landscape technician (won't call them gardeners) can spot and know the significance of flower buds - - numpty!!! Wouldn't let them loose with scissors never mind power tools!

Also seen on the way round was the Peregrine sat on the tower, no long lens with us today and it was a bit dull. we took a series of pics and by the time we'd stood there a few minutes he was clocking us
Then we got all arty when we saw the lovely pinks of the Sycamore seeds alongside the path.

The Butterfly Zone was busy. Loads of Large Skippers, several very mobile Meadow Browns, a Holly Blue, a  Red Admiral and a Large White. We had our first Silver Y moth of the year and shed loads of these tiny Straw Dots.
Tried something a bit different with one particular Large Skipper.

The bees weren't so numerous as yesterday and we only 'may' have had a brief view of our intended quarry. We did see a huge queen Garden Bumble Bee (Bombus hortorum) and a chunky queen Red Tailed Bumble Bee but nothing big  with a gingery thorax.
A few hoverfliees were about including both forms of the Volucella sp which mimics white and red tailed bumble bees. This one is Chrysotoxum festivum.

Still no Tree Bees but we did bump into a confiding Magpie.

Cloudy spells allowed a closer approach to the Large Skippers but still not the Meadow Browns.

A very fresh Small Tortoiseshell was also seen, almost not seen was Serengeti Frank! Where's those Wildebeest Frank?

A Dog Rose was just itching to be photographed - did anyone else make itching powder out of the hips many years ago when H & S in schools didn't exist.

Where to next? A breezy night might make an earlyish start on the Prom an option.
In the meantime let us know what was doing its best to avoid you in your outback.

1 comment:

cliff said...

Shame the Tree Bee was a no show for our visit, hopefully it/they will hang around.

The wide angle Skipper photo works for me, & that C. festivum hoverfly is a bobby dazzler.