Saturday, 13 June 2015

A Session with the Bee's !

I have been trying to naturalise our garden as much as I can, I have collected and strategically placed dead wood branches around the pond, birds are already using these to make there way down to the artificial waterfall where they can drink and bathe, Robins, House Sparrows and Blackbirds seem particularly fond of bathing and drinking here, rather than the bird baths.

The dead wood branches around the feeding station  allow the birds to fly in and perch (pose) before moving on to the feeders, I have been keeping an eye on these new perches which now seem to have been accepted and are being used by House Sparrows, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blue tit, Great Tit, Dunnock Robin and Blackbirds so far, this should make for  some more interesting photographs, rather than on the actual feeders which do not look so good in photographs.

The Buddleia tree I planted last year has grown nicely and I am looking forward to it flowering in the hope that more Butterflies are drawn into the garden, at the moment Holly Blue's are seen most frequent, probably because of the Ivy we have growing on an adjoining brick wall. Occasional visits by Peacock, Red Admiral, Brimstone, Small White, Large White, hopefully these will become more regular when the Buddleia flowers.

My new shady area flower bed under the pear tree, up until recently an area where nothing really grew, looking much better now. complete with genuine pear tree logs, and some nice ferns,  I am hoping these may attract some insect life.

The Flowering Blackcurrants around the garden are a fantastic pollen source for the bees and Bumblebee's from March and April but once these drop their flowers the Bee sightings become less frequent.

 A new shrub called "Libertia grandiflora" that's been flowering from mid May and is still in flower now in mid June, maybe the answer, its providing an excellent pollen source for the Bee's and drawing them back into the garden.
The shrub is a native plant of New Zealand, I first noticed it after a trip to Kew Gardens, I must admit you do not see many for sale in the garden centres, I had to order mine from the internet, its certainly worth looking for, as the Bee's seem to love it.

On a particularly sunny afternoon recently, I noticed  the Libertia was covered in Bee's, the opportunity to get some close up shots was too great to pass up, they seemed unconcerned by my presence, spending a short time on each flower before moving to another.

The majority of the bee's appeared to be Honeybees, to be more precise, the Western Honeybee or European Honeybee (Apis mellifera) , although to be honest there seemed to be a lot of variation in appearance, some of the Bee's were quite hairy on the abdomen  while others had lost the hair on some of the abdomen segments showing orange stripes, hopefully I have got the right identification.

European Honeybee (Apis mellifera)   'worker'

A few other Bee's were seen on the same shrub, heres a couple of shots of a Carder Bee, with its tongue sheath extended

Carder Bee

A few of the smaller Bumblebee's were also taking their share of the pollen, These are Early Bumblebee's Bombus pratorum

Early Bumblebee worker  Bombus pratorum

Early Bumblebee Bombus pratorum  male

This very nice Marmalade Hoverfly was in amongst the Honey Bee's together with another stranger to the garden, 

Episyrphus balteatus  Marmalade hoverfly

This one proved harder to identify, my first thoughts was some species of Hoverfly, but eventually identified as a Tapered Drone fly. Its a type of Bee mimic very similar to a Drone fly.

Sometimes, If you take the time to look a bit closer at those insects buzzing around your flowers you will be amazed at the different varieties visiting.


  1. I love those bee shots, they also confirm my early bumblebee identifications!

    1. Thanks for your kind comment, intriguing little beasts aren't they.

  2. Its a privilege to come and look for the first time at your beautiful photography.
    Merlin52, sounds like a good Call Sign.{:))