This honey bee was making the most of the late September sunshine. The colour of its pollen load suggests it had decided to target the dahlias. It managed to get a good all-over dusting too.
TREE POPPY Romneya coulteri
This plant at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk was a magnet for small bees. We watched them come and go, filling up their little saddlebags. Photos of bees in flight don’t often work well. These are no exception. Still, they do catch the general bizzyness of the proceedings. The plant was lovely, not one we knew. Another new bee plant find for the year, along with Hyssop.
The bees are working overtime as a chill spreads over September and winter downtime looms for them. So busy are they that there is competition for individual flowers – even though there are more than enough to go round. Bumbles were out in force yesterday, and there are still butterflies around, mainly tiny Small Coppers and Whites of different sizes.
We’ve done a quick assessment of plant popularity this spring and summer that produces this league table:
- Hyssop – the runaway winner for bees of many types, ditto butterflies and (new entry) moths. Planted for the first time in May, and has effortlessly thrived (throve? thriven?) to become Nectar Central.
- Lavender – perennial success with bees and butterflies. More planted this spring and very well visited.
- Cosmos – new to the garden this year, a fast and easy grower, and hugely popular with bees, especially bumbles. Also visited by honey bees and butterflies, but only on their way the the hyssop.
This year we had West Indian Woodpeckers using 2 nest boxes under the eaves.This successfully diverts them from drilling into the woodwork of the building. They raised two families this season, with 3 chicks fledging each time. Another nest box on a tree in the drive was not to their liking, and was quickly colonised by wild bees. The nearest small apiary – there are only two I know of on an island 120 miles long – is 15 miles away. These bees will never have known the luxury of a hive. I doubt they’d need or want it…
I photographed this sunset from our garden in Dorset a couple of evenings ago. In reality it was more dark pink than red, but by simply zooming directly at it the colour was altered dramatically. The second image is a simple crop of another photo taken seconds later, as the banding became clearer as the sun sunk below the horizon. It looks more like a planet. [NB No P/shop]
A strange yellow disc appeared intermittently in the sky today. It is warmer. Time to venture into the garden. First stop – the lupins. Bees in residence? Check. Looking closely, I notice that they part the individual pods with their legs to get at the contents. There’s certainly bags of what they are after, to judge by the leg pouches.
Next stop: the nice pink flowers that are called… well, if someone wants to remind me, please use the comment box. They came from a nice house in Kent and have flourished on my regime of benign neglect.
GOOD GRIEF! When I pressed the ‘publish’ button, this turned out to be my 100th post on this ramshackle, poorly curated website. Thanks to the select, small (but slightly increasing) numbers who turn up to have a look from time to time. This isn’t my main project, but it’s a place to put a few nice pics from time to time. Merci, all. RH