Nature's Place

A Silent Death …

Or a loving embrace? Either way, a most unusual meeting.

*

Out in the field at sundown with a strong wind blowing I came across a protected area that had a few different creatures sheltering in the grass tops, off the ground. The Orange Wasp was the most noticeable beside the gang of small green golden Nomad bees that I often find roosting here.

Usually the Orange Wasp is so skittish it is gone as soon as I see it, as if the act of cognising it is registered by the wasp and taken as a signal to fly. But the strong wind did interrupt that process this day. The Orange Wasp remained in the relative shelter as the sun went down behind the distant trees, and the wind continued to blow.

I focused on the Wasp, since there is usually no chance of a shot, and watched as it climbed the grass to the top. On the way it ran into a gang of small bees and caused something of a stir. Just one bee remaining behind, as if undisturbed by the wasp’s presence. The others moved off to another grass stem nearby.

And the wasp was curious of the one remaining, aware there was something there and pushing through the grasses to do what, I don’t know – taste, smell or otherwise sense the small bee. It wasn’t aggressive by any gesture or appearance, these wasps are more vegetarian than not, so if it wasn’t hungry the bee was safe. After a short while of the wasp probing the bee the bee moved on up the stem, better safe than sorry – though I think a bee knows no sorrow, just the programming of survival and all it entails. But perhaps, occasionally, a small creature will show signs of self consciousness.

It was nearly dark with some light from the falling sun still getting through the clouds and trees at times, wind blowing as it was – see the bee on a stem in the blurred background in one picture – wind blown into the frame. When there’s time and opportunity I will endeavour to include any sun rise or setting for the background, but it was mostly a case of get what you can while you can. So I shot away at the wasp I was focused on.

*

After I had enough of that and she didn’t seem to be doing anything different so the shots would all be the same or versions of … I looked up the grass stem to where the bee had gone and there was another Orange Wasp facing my way with the bee behind it, and something else.

It was difficult to see now but on closer inspection it became clear a spider had a grip of the small green golden Nomad bee and I wondered if the wasp had any involvement, as in awareness or reaction to what was happening to the bee – it was dying in the grip of a Crab Spider, right next to the wasp, they wait in just such places for just such opportunities.

But no, the wasp seemed entirely unaware of the dying bee, or the spider, and proceeded on down the grass stem as the other proceeded on up it. As the bee died in the grip of the spider the two wasps met an inch below and clearly recognised each other as their own kind and made ‘inquiries’ of each other.

Touching and turning towards each other they were clearly communicating until eventually they came together on the same side of the grass stem and touched heads and ‘beaks’. A form of caress perhaps, or exchange of information of a kind.

Tending only to what mattered to them, not a consideration for the dying bee or predatory spider.

However, it was clearly not an accidental embrace, either one. It never is.

Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture to enlarge in a new tab

*

Darkling Green

Out in the field looking for the Neon Cuckoo Bee in particular, which wasn’t to be found this time round, I came across a few other creatures. I don’t know what ‘it’s said by whom’ but a square metre of earth holds a host of creatures, many of which even I will never see – unless of course I stand there for long enough – don’t you believe it.

What kind of creation is created invisible to most? But that’s not really so is it, if you look with eyes to see you will see. And it’s a wonder to see what is there among the grass, holding on and just looking or being, for now. Or engaged in some invisible unknowable activity?

Who knows, or cares to speculate, when what is so obviously is, and is enough for now.

*

It came from the earth, as all things do, even the car and the house. But it came as it is with no purpose other than its own and that’s enough too. It doesn’t need to fit Man’s reality, Man’s particular self-interest.

It’s called a Darkling Beetle, just found out today, a brown one. There is a black Darkling you can see here : Rainbow Wanderer – And it wanders the earth as itself, no thought to be another – thing of any kind.

Darkling sounds like a kind of vampire, or other creature of the ‘darkness’ but it may also refer to a sparkling that can be seen when the black Darkling is seen close-up in direct sunlight. It’s similar to looking at a starlit sky on a dark-ling night, but with all the colours of the rainbow glittering.

One more little wonder tucked away in my nature.

Hello Darkling thing.

Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture to enlarge in a new tab

*

And Now?

… for something a little different from what has become the usual native bee, or so it seems.

*

We had a Paper Wasp nest on the deck that had to be moved because it was just too successful; about twenty strong at its height and only a few metres from the front door, and Karen had been stung when she inadvertently shifted it one recent day. So it had to be moved because I don’t like to destroy any part of the nature, the garden. I enjoy all the nature, not just the pretty or cute bits.

One night, all dressed up for the occasion, because I know they can fly at night even if they prefer not to, I clipped the old fern growth the nest was hanging from and brought it down to the front of the garden, about forty metres away, where I had prepared a post to place it in where they would have to work harder to maintain its success rate, by at least having to travel further to the food source. I rather foresaw some of the young moving off to new pastures and the nest attaining a more acceptable number, foresight is not always as it turns out though.

The nest was so successful because of the planting I’d been doing the last year, and allowing nature to take its course, Butterflies and Moths laying eggs all round the place, which in turn hatched and soon enough little caterpillars were eating up the vegetation. That’s where the wasps came in; they fed on the caterpillars, voraciously.

It was a balance though; an ample source of food presented and something came along to eat it, and so on – is usually the way of things. But there appeared to be nothing to eat the Wasp. No deft Wasp eating birds about the place, nor Geckos willing to risk being stung in the dead of night, hence the intervention on my part.

But it seems I got it wrong, or went too far, and the nest has now been abandoned by the Queen, there’s always a Queen to start off a Paper Wasp’s nest. Gone to I don’t know where because it has become apparent the little caterpillars are having a ball in the greenery and plants are dying from lack of viable leaves.

And then, in my wanderings about the garden, I saw this fat yellow Lynx spider. There are many Lynx and other spiders around the garden but none as big as this one is, or has recently grown. It looks like what the Wasps are no longer doing the spiders might be.

Well, we’ll see what happens. That’s what I love doing in the garden, just seeing what happens next. It’s a real epic unfolding; when you really see the creatures little lives as important as our own – in their way.

Which of course they are to the web of nature, my nature. It is our nature after all and we can’t really do without any part of it for long or something gets out of whack.

But it always recovers, that’s its nature too, to live again – unstoppable it seems, and ever changing on a changeless reality.

A maelstrom of possibility in form, and no real need to interfere now, nor inclination to.

*

It’s how we learn, by going too far – one way anyway.

Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture to enlarge in a new tab

*