SUMMER BEES IN A DORSET GARDEN (1)


The sun was out, the bees were out and I was out trying camera settings having failed spectacularly to come to terms with a new(ish) SLR. The problem remains me, not it, but I sense that the hatred is mutual. Anyway, a few bee shots worked well enough to use… This is my favourite bee, tiny and pale, far smaller than the sturdy yellow and black bumbles jostling for the space on the hyssop and lavender. I like the way their packed saddlebags matched their  colouring. There are probably two or even three different species of bee here for all I know, but it’s hot and I can’t be bumbled to look it up…

This is the first year I have taken on board the number of mites the bees carry. #1 has a fine one under the wing; and I saw one bumble with a smart necklace of mites. I realise they are mostly non-parasitic (apparently), and maybe it is even a sign of good bee health…

Bees in August, Dorset Bees in August, DorsetBees in August, DorsetBees in August, Dorset Bees in August, Dorset Bees in August, DorsetBees in August, Dorset Bees in August, Dorset

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“HONEY RUSH” – LAST ORDERS IN THE SEASON’S FLORAL SALOON


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:

  1. 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.
  2. Lavender – perennial success with bees and butterflies. More planted this spring and very well visited.
  3. 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.

Bees in Dorset Summer's End 1 Bees in Dorset Summer's End 2 Bees in Dorset Summer's End 3 Bees in Dorset Summer's End 4 Bees in Dorset Summer's End 5 Bees in Dorset Summer's End 6 Bees in Dorset Summer's End 8 Bees in Dorset Summer's End 9Blurry, I know, but the intruder arrived from nowhere as I pressed the button… Why it didn’t land on one of several vacant flowers next to this one, I have no idea. Maybe fighting drunk on pollen?Bees in Dorset Summer's End 7

A SMALL COPPER IN DORSET


Putting aside thoughts of a ‘Two Ronnies’ sketch about policemen in Dorchester, the small copper referred to is a butterfly I photographed yesterday. I only had a tiny old Canon with me (hello, ‘Two Ronnies’ Church Dignitaries sketch), with its ‘battery dying’ light flashing and no charger to hand. So these pics are the best I could get in a hurry…

It’s been a remarkable late summer for butterflies and moths, with many species I have never seen / noticed before – including this little one. It’s possibly because we planted some hyssop in early May that has flourished. At any given time of day, there have been 3 or 4 butterfly species (mostly Red Admirals, Peacocks, Tortoiseshells and Whites); a couple of moth brands; 3 or 4 bumblebee types (mostly white-tailed and carders); and varied honeybees of indeterminate make. Apart from a white buddleia, we have never had a plant that has been so attractive to flying creatures. Even the flycatchers have enjoyed it.

HYSSOP, WITH VERY PRETTY SMALL BEE [ID welcomed via ‘Comments’]Hyssop with Bee, Dorset

SMALL COPPER BUTTERFLYSmall Copper Butterfly, Dorset 1 Small Copper Butterfly, Dorset 2 Small Copper Butterfly, Dorset 4 Small Copper Butterfly, Dorset 5 Small Copper Butterfly, Dorset 6 Small Copper Butterfly, Dorset 7