Nature's Place

Surprise, Surprise …

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… as I was picking at the Passion vine a couple nights ago – checking for resting or sleeping creatures, clearing dead leaves from the tangle and pocketing the ready fruit, I noticed a curious thing.

One of the leaves I picked was long dead and brown, dried out and curled up, but as it plunged to the ground where it would join in the mulch a bunch of tiny bees fell out and spilled around, almost unnoticed.

I didn’t know they were bees until I took a few shots, being only 12 to 15mm long – my eyes not that good anymore, if ever they were. Then I put what I could find at the base of the vine’s stem and threw on a few more leaves for cover on the cold night, to increase their chance of survival, having disturbed it myself.

The next day I had a look around the spot and there they were, back on the vine, gathered on two adjoining leaves, exposed to the warmth of the sun and the coming night sky – it’s been getting cold here in Brisbane, believe it or not. Clearly they were attracted to congregate but I couldn’t tell anything of where they began their little lives, maybe in some of the hollow stems I put in the vine to encourage the smaller creatures to nest, those that do.

I have not seen the like before, apparently social bees without a home, living on the wing as a ‘swarm’ of around twenty individuals – actually they are a communal bee, males in waiting for a female who nest ‘communally’ nearby, not ‘socially’. That’s what happens when in the garden, the forest or field, aware I am not alone, delightful things appear. The truth of fairies and elves living at the bottom of the garden, in fact they are everywhere but are not what is imagined from the storybooks of old. The magical is still here to be seen, awake to the possibility, restrained from thinking too much – necessities for presence.

Presence, that’s the difference between the rapacious and the sustainable. The former born of wanton indulgence of the machinations of mind, the latter born of knowing enough its consequences. The one follows the other, unfortunate it would seem but misfortune is an unsustainable condition of mind so we move on regardless …

Mark Berkery ……. Don’t forget to CLICK on any picture to enlarge it in a new tab – best in FireFox – for me


34 Responses

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  1. artodds said, on 15/06/2013 at 5:53 pm

    I liked your reference to fairies and elves, …magical indeed, being and doing what they are designed to do. Thank you for sharing…the hidden wonders of nature.

  2. Alex Jones said, on 13/06/2013 at 4:39 am

    A beautiful find. Great photos.

    • Mark said, on 14/06/2013 at 12:18 pm

      They have moved on now … three days of rain might account.

  3. Xraypics said, on 12/06/2013 at 5:34 pm

    Great set of photos, and I particularly love the ones of the blue arsed fly, ahem… banded, OK, OK, This is a family show after all. Tony

  4. furrygnome said, on 12/06/2013 at 11:37 am

    Amazing pictures! How do you do that?!

  5. sweffling said, on 10/06/2013 at 6:57 pm

    I love those moments of serendipity when we slow down enough to appreciate those other lives, however little, living in parallel.

    • Mark said, on 12/06/2013 at 5:50 pm

      Yes, it’s necessary to slow down …

  6. Tammie said, on 09/06/2013 at 4:44 pm

    such a sweet surprise
    one never truly knows what they will find
    within each breath
    lives all life

  7. Emily Heath said, on 07/06/2013 at 4:31 pm

    Interesting… I’ll try to see if I can find anything similar in my ‘Bees of the World’ book.

    • Mark said, on 08/06/2013 at 1:36 pm

      The only information I could find is this – – from Ken Walker in

      Apparently these are a ‘roost’ of males and are a communal bee, females nesting at same sites but no hierarchy as in a ‘social’ bee nest. Being a roost of males means the females are close by but finding the nest/s is another matter.

      • Emily Heath said, on 23/06/2013 at 8:06 am

        Thanks – I’ve read before that generally there is an over supply of males to mating females in the world of bees, so I wonder how many of these males will achieve the goal. With their heads being non-hairy the bumps of their ocelli eyes are wonderfully clear.

        • Mark said, on 23/06/2013 at 9:21 am

          I’d say things are in balance and when extremes are reached something happens to redress the balance. That’s the natural dynamic in the macro or micro worlds of earth which doesn’t preclude extinction.

  8. Rachel Creager Ireland said, on 07/06/2013 at 12:27 pm

    Love your photos as well as your spirit revealed through how you see the world and what you say about it.

  9. gretelau2001 said, on 07/06/2013 at 5:33 am

    You take us there with your story as usual Mark :) Hopefully someone can identify these little beauties and enlarge on what you know.

  10. shinysmile1 said, on 07/06/2013 at 3:47 am

    so beautiful creatures and so talented person

  11. Susan Morrow said, on 07/06/2013 at 1:27 am

    Beautifully written, amazing photos.

  12. standingoutinmyfield said, on 06/06/2013 at 11:57 pm

    So cute! And they are beautiful photos.

  13. paranoiasnfm said, on 06/06/2013 at 11:23 pm


  14. Karen Douglass said, on 06/06/2013 at 11:22 pm

    A beautiful post. Thank you. I am reading E. O. Wilson’s Letters to a Young Scientist, in which he encourages both observation and creativity. I think you do both extremely well. Will you research these tiny bees?

    • Mark said, on 07/06/2013 at 11:30 am

      Thanks Karen. I am looking into it but not much is known of our nature where there is little prospect of commercial gain, we’ll see and I’ll post here what I find.

      Edit : The only information I could find is this – – from Ken Walker in

      Apparently these are a ‘roost’ of males and are a communal bee, females nesting at same sites but no hierarchy as in a ‘social’ bee nest. Being a roost of males means the females are close by but finding the nest/s is another matter.

  15. smallpebbles said, on 06/06/2013 at 11:20 pm

    Thanks for the clarity through pics and words – Nature is the Mirror that ever-Mirrors and Reveals. Shanti….

  16. divedaddy03 said, on 06/06/2013 at 11:15 pm

    Very cool article and well written with nice little pictures! Well done. Wayne

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