Nature's Place

Nesting the Mask

Is that a sensible title? A little cryptic maybe, it does refer somewhat to the bee and its activity.

It’s called a masked bee, probably for the appearance of it with the bright yellow patches, about 15mm long. And she is nesting.

I first saw her a few days ago on the Passion Flower plant, busy blowing a bubble that looks like it contains pollen grains, got a few shots and she was away. Then I saw her at the rose that I had recently pruned, she was digging out the exposed pith at the centre of the stems. She made some impression on around ten stems and excavated a few extensively, deeply.

Then it rained and she disappeared, when it stopped she came back, a day or so later. Then it rained again and she was flooded out, she had been occupying one stem and had entered head first, from top down. I rigged a roof for her but it was too late, she was discouraged from the location it seems, as she hasn’t been back for a while now.

However, she reminded me to use the stems of the Chia plants that had run their course, grown tall, flowered, gone to seed and had more or less dried out standing in the garden. I cut them down, spreading the seed that remained, and cut them to lengths, bundled them and placed them around the garden.

They have openings at each end that very small creatures can use for shelter and nesting and when it warms up again, soon, I’ll see how that has worked. I will do the same with some wild bamboo I collected last year, for the larger creatures such as the native bees that visit the garden and sometimes find a nesting site, as one Leafcutter bee did in a rag left rolled up on the table.

This nature of ours takes what opportunity presents, according to its instinctive need, and moves on when it wears out, or is washed out. It’s all a matter of timing, but instinctual, without conscious calculation.

Nature has no use for a watch, though it helps to be able to read the weather – inside and out.

Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture to enlarge in a new tab – best viewed in FireFox, as I do.


37 Responses

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  1. sarapriscila said, on 09/08/2012 at 10:20 am

    I have what I call a phobia when it comes to bees but these pictures are so stunning that they made me feel less scared :) Keep up the amazing work!

    • Mark said, on 09/08/2012 at 1:02 pm

      Thanks Sara. These bees are not aggressive at all, unlike the EU Honey bee. In fact I have stood in a swarm of larger native bees and they know I’m there but never attack because I am calm and not a threat – and they know it. :)

  2. jjoyv said, on 31/07/2012 at 1:01 pm

    I have nominated you for a Reader Appreciation Award. You can pick it up here. I absolutely enjoy your photography. You capture so much more than an image.

    • Mark said, on 31/07/2012 at 4:44 pm

      Thanks JJoy, glad you like my stuff. :)

  3. Tammie said, on 27/07/2012 at 11:50 am

    reading your post/words
    enjoying each image
    your relationship with the critters you find
    feels entirely intimate and caring
    how wonderful

  4. futuredoll said, on 24/07/2012 at 2:00 am


  5. Garden Walk Garden Talk said, on 23/07/2012 at 11:21 am

    Amazing sequence of shots. The bubble image was the best.

    • Mark said, on 23/07/2012 at 3:35 pm

      Thanks Donna. It’s not something often seen but many creatures do it, regurgitate their ‘food’.

  6. Jamiun Micheal said, on 20/07/2012 at 4:23 pm

    this world is full of wonderful creatures..thanks for sharing those great pics..highly appreciated…

  7. katiepede said, on 20/07/2012 at 3:30 am

    Beautiful as ever x

  8. lautal said, on 20/07/2012 at 2:59 am

    Mark, you definitely have a special connection with that micro world. I admire with your every single post and pictures.

    • Mark said, on 20/07/2012 at 5:30 am

      Thank you Lautal. It’s something that is natural but also is cultivated.

  9. Godfried said, on 20/07/2012 at 2:41 am

    Amazing pictures Mark. Love it.

  10. suzysomething said, on 20/07/2012 at 2:11 am

    So wonderful to see one of Mother Nature’s little ones in domestic action. Thank you for sharing and starting my day off with my usual “Wow moment” when I see your photos! There’s a story around “Wow moments” if you aren’t familiar with the term. Let me know if it’s new to you.

    • Mark said, on 20/07/2012 at 5:28 am

      Thanks Sara. Wow? Isn’t that usually followed by Phew? I see further with equilibrium, no up or down. At least that’s what my experience brought me to.

      • suzysomething said, on 20/07/2012 at 6:00 am

        There’s a story that I heard a while back the point of which is that when we say Wow, it is like a prayer to whatever Source we believe in. I say Wow a lot…and your photos usually elicit that response when I see them. When I grow up I want to be like you! ;o)

        • Mark said, on 20/07/2012 at 12:53 pm

          Ha! Like me? No you don’t. Why do you think nothing but equilibrium will do? :)

          Mantra, like wow, can be very effective for a while – even a long while – but the trouble is it has an opposite and they attract, in a world of opposites – one doesn’t exist without the other. The thing is to do what works for now, and change it when it doesn’t work any more – if that happens.

          I know, you were kidding. :)

  11. Chillbrook said, on 19/07/2012 at 10:49 pm


  12. Playamart - Zeebra Designs said, on 19/07/2012 at 10:25 pm

    What acute powers of observation you have! The wildlife surely whispers and spreads the word about your great heart!

    • Mark said, on 19/07/2012 at 11:51 pm

      And one fly said to the other : “Hey mate, want your ugly mug on the web?” “I know a place where this geezer actually takes photos of the likes of you and me …” :)

      • Playamart - Zeebra Designs said, on 20/07/2012 at 8:23 am

        That made me laugh! Yes, the hermit crabs of San Miguel Costa Rica surely send out a warning about me, “:Sheeees back!” Z

        • Mark said, on 20/07/2012 at 1:02 pm

          I was just reading an article that mentioned Costa Rica and there was no mention of misogynist (or otherwise) hermits, though I don’t doubt you.

          But if you are talking about the crabs habit of disappearing when you show up I wouldn’t take it personal. That’s just the game they play. You’re part is to sit outside the hideyhole and wait for one to show, maybe even tease one out with something to eat. Let us know how that goes. :)

  13. P. C. Zick said, on 19/07/2012 at 9:13 pm

    Love it, Mark. Lovely photos and story.

  14. Mike Powell said, on 19/07/2012 at 7:50 pm

    Mark, your photos are amazing. The color, the details, and the depth of the images would set them apart from others but what especially overwhelms me is the way that you have captured the masked bee in action. I absolutely love the one of the bee blowing a bubble. Your photos were a wonderful way for me to start the day. Thanks.

  15. nonoymanga said, on 19/07/2012 at 6:36 pm

    Mark as clean as a whistle!!! Cheers Nonoy Manga

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