Nature's Place

Dark Neon Beauty

She is a most elusive creature in my experience. I have probably seen only one other of these bees and she was on the move, too fast to track or shoot. When I got back from a week away I went to a few places I know to see if the bees had started to show. I saw roosting Nomads, in numbers, and increasing still, but only one Leafcutter and no Blue Banded bees.

Then, after a few days looking, I saw this little black dot swaying on the grass tops in the wind at dusk and I knew here was something new. I approached slowly so as not to spook the creature and got close enough to see the blue and black beauty she is. But she was wary and took to the air and was lost (to my older eyes) in the clutter of background plants and shadows.

I went away and came back a few times only for the same thing to happen but was pleased to see the perch had been selected; she was coming back to it after being disturbed. So I got up early next morning and arrived before the sun came up and there she was. Quietly, gently I approached from the side I wanted to start shooting from, getting lower as I got nearer, camera ready in hand. And just as I was reaching out to gently grip the stalk of grass off she flew.

Again at dusk, the same day, I went back to the spot and there she was. As I got closer I saw the first Blue Banded Bee of this season and it was buzzing the Neon Cuckoo Bee, literally. The BBB flew up to the face of the NCB and the little dark beauty took no notice. The BBB did this a few times before flying off to its own roost, an indication of their relationship no doubt.

I got down on one knee, a courtesy you could say, and went to work with her for about an hour before the light was gone and I was pleased with the meeting, a privileged encounter you could say.

The next day she was gone and there hasn’t been another. Another season perhaps, who knows.


Speaking of Dark Beauty, I am reminded of the same essential quality in the people, our mystic or spiritual reality. Even though the world looks to be a violent and cruel place, and real justice as elusive as a NCB on a sunny afternoon, all is right and all is changing.

Even what the world would call a lost cause will bear a fruit that can only add to the good of the whole in time. A lost cause can turn to a noble reality, in time. This is not an easy thing to see.

But once it’s known it’s just a matter of never giving up on that dark beauty, by being awake to it, in the small things. And one day …

There … even in the brightest sunlight, dark beauty.


Or is it just a little drama, to entertain, while the work is done?

Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge


32 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. vera wabegijig said, on 01/12/2017 at 8:18 am

    Wow! I’ve never seen this type of insect before! I’m in awe of it. Thanks so much for posting!

    • Mark said, on 01/12/2017 at 10:08 am

      She is a beauty, isn’t she. A Neon cuckoo bee, not many around these days.

      Thanks Vera.

  2. sanclemente365 said, on 23/04/2012 at 10:22 am

    I love your pictures

  3. E said, on 04/02/2012 at 2:06 am

    nobody speeks german here?! i just understand BBC & NBC :)
    nice photos and the bee!

    • Mark said, on 04/02/2012 at 2:45 am

      Thanks E. Sorry, no German. I think that’s BBB and NCB – Blue Banded Bee and Neon Cuckoo Bee. Both native Australian bees, the second one is not common at all and not easy to find.

  4. Lunar Euphoria said, on 18/12/2011 at 11:44 pm

    I have no idea how you’ve managed to make a bee look downright cuddley.

    And, I’m ready for a noble reality.

    • Mark said, on 20/12/2011 at 12:06 am

      Get in line, do a jig and we’ll all get there in the end. :)

      Bees are a special form of life, having a certain responsibility for the upkeep of nature. Cuddly probably helps here and there.

  5. RIDHO said, on 29/11/2011 at 2:31 pm

    beautiful neon, it is bee? or fly?

    • Mark said, on 29/11/2011 at 5:12 pm

      It is a bee, an unusual creature for sure.

  6. Lunar Euphoria said, on 18/11/2011 at 12:36 am

    She was worth the wait. Beautiful!

  7. farmhouse stories said, on 17/11/2011 at 11:29 pm

    There aren’t enough adjectives to say how wonderful these are! I also enjoy reading about your gentle process of taking the pictures.

    • Mark said, on 18/11/2011 at 12:27 am

      Thanks Cait, a simple enjoyment is a real pleasure.

  8. yoshizen said, on 17/11/2011 at 11:17 pm

    In deed it’s a reality. I didn’t know its existence.
    Though, to see this as a dark beauty or myth is only in our mind.
    The beauty of the Dharma is equally in any mediocre bee or
    creepy crawly. :-D

    • Mark said, on 18/11/2011 at 12:25 am

      It’s all in the mind Yoshi, and as real as it is, this mythic dark beauty. You could say there is only mind, and what I hold to in it, as long as I am. I really don’t know anything about eastern teachings but I would say dharma is the life you live, whatever it is, whoever you are. And if a bee is common everything is, so everything is spiritually purposeful, or dharma.

  9. Jamiun Micheal said, on 17/11/2011 at 5:59 pm


  10. Scotty McAdam said, on 17/11/2011 at 7:28 am

    Fantastic as usual mate

    • Mark said, on 18/11/2011 at 12:14 am

      … and absurdly real. :) Thanks Scotty.

  11. Beth Niquette said, on 17/11/2011 at 4:08 am

    How incredibly lovely. I found you through Tammie. These photos just fill my eyes–which is the greatest compliment I can give.

    • Mark said, on 18/11/2011 at 12:12 am

      Fill your eyes? Maybe, in other words, it is you can see or sense the ‘reality’ of the beauty behind the creature and the purer inner form serves as the bell that rings up the clear deep psyche that the mystic would call home. The seed of vision. That’s the whole point you see. Thanks Beth.

  12. Gracie said, on 17/11/2011 at 4:04 am

    Wow! these are amazing photos. I’ve never seen a bee with that color.

    • Mark said, on 17/11/2011 at 11:59 pm

      Thanks Gracie. They are rare enough few ever see them.

  13. Tammie said, on 17/11/2011 at 2:57 am

    Mark, these are exquisite images, and an exquisite little beauty. i thoroughly enjoyed reading about your encounter, your patience, your presence with this creature.

    yes, given time…. all things are possible and change and change again….
    funny, in one sense time does not exist
    in another sense time is the bringer of healing or balance with all life

    thank you

    • Mark said, on 17/11/2011 at 11:58 pm

      Thanks Tammie. Yes, she is a beauty. And you’re right, everything happens in time and it is towards a timeless fruition – or what’s the point.

  14. bareego said, on 16/11/2011 at 11:57 pm

    What a beauty indeed, Mark.
    I can imagine you and her dancing around that stick
    Thanks for sharing that moment

    • Mark said, on 17/11/2011 at 11:55 pm

      Hello James. No stick in use here, just one knee down and holding the stem with cam resting on same hand, to minimise movement.

  15. Lauri Siirala said, on 16/11/2011 at 11:23 pm

    The bended knee did the job. As it often does when approaching the mystery. Thanks Mark for the reminder – and the beauty to behold.

    • Mark said, on 17/11/2011 at 11:53 pm

      The bended knee, the broken back, the bruised brain and one domino falls at a time, each a thread in the veil to the mystery at the edge of existence. Bodies get old too, never saw that coming. Ha, ha!

      We all need reminders Lauri, of the right kind, the other kind, the kind kind? And ‘we’ are whoever hear.

  16. Flossy said, on 16/11/2011 at 11:11 pm

    What an incredible creature! Great pics.

    • Mark said, on 17/11/2011 at 11:38 pm

      Yes, amazing, isn’t it. Thanks Flossy, appreciated.

Comment or Question?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: