Nature's Place

Whittling Down The Form …



Winter has advanced across our sub tropical night with the dark clear sky and the native bees are feeling its cold grip. There weren’t that many to start with but now down to two, and they don’t give up, though there is no choice in the matter, in the season – as health fails.

As soon as the sun is high enough off they are into the garden to find sustenance, and maybe a mate – there seems to be a couple females foraging through the day – to complete their instinctive little lives.

It is always a pleasure to see them patrolling the flowers, always careful of potential predators, where I discourage the spider’s webs and the neighbour’s grandchildren from retiring them early.

The least I can do for our garden’s indispensable residents.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look *


31 Responses

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  1. Jane Lurie said, on 28/05/2015 at 4:27 pm

    These macro images really are incredible, Mark. Such clarity of detail– I am mesmerized.

    • Mark said, on 28/05/2015 at 4:56 pm

      Thanks Jane. These were set up at night while the bee slept. Reflective surface behind, matt white below to bounce the flash from above to light up as much as possible. Flash really sharpens an image when ambient light is excluded, effective SS at 1/5,000 – 1/30,000 stops any movement.

      • Jane Lurie said, on 29/05/2015 at 5:05 am

        Very interesting set-up, Mark. Thanks for sharing. I also like the thought of bees sleeping. 😊

        • Mark said, on 29/05/2015 at 9:41 am

          And they dream, or was it just the photographer bumping them at night …

  2. sweffling said, on 16/05/2015 at 6:25 pm

    What an individual way to sleep! Gives pause for thought though, at the strength of their mandibles.

    • Mark said, on 16/05/2015 at 8:13 pm

      The insect world is full of mighty creatures doing impossible things.

  3. afrenchgarden said, on 12/05/2015 at 11:34 pm

    As your Amegilla are coming to the end of their season, soon it will be my turn to see mine; their distant relatives in a distant land. Amelia

    • Mark said, on 13/05/2015 at 4:57 pm

      The wave follows the seasonal sun. We’re all nomads riding the light.

  4. Emily Scott said, on 11/05/2015 at 11:38 pm

    Amazing how they use just their mandibles to hold on, hardly looks comfortable!

    • Mark said, on 12/05/2015 at 1:08 am

      I suspect they are used to it, though I would be uncomfortable holding on by my teeth/mandibles. The material and structure is probably such that it’s the most natural thing, for a BBB. I know you know … :-)

  5. Cate said, on 11/05/2015 at 10:59 pm

    Is this little bee in kind of a cold torpor, Mark? It looks as if it might have died clinging to that stem. :) Also, I think I should know this, but where are you, geographically?

    • Mark said, on 12/05/2015 at 1:04 am

      Hi Cate. No, it’s just asleep. It grips the stem in its jaws, locks on and usually doesn’t wake until morning – unless woken by intrusive or careless photographers. In the first pic the bee is reacting to the flash, casting its thorny legs in case of attack – they do it when disturbed for some reason. Brisbane .. SE.

      • Cate said, on 12/05/2015 at 11:07 pm

        Very cool. Thanks for the additional information, Marc. I appreciate your keen observation of these beautiful little creatures!

        • Mark said, on 13/05/2015 at 4:55 pm

          Don’t take it as gospel though, it’s just what I think …

  6. standingoutinmyfield said, on 11/05/2015 at 10:48 pm

    I still love how they sleep.

  7. David said, on 11/05/2015 at 10:22 pm

    Great images. I love the detail on the eye and the hairy body and legs.

    • Mark said, on 12/05/2015 at 1:02 am

      Thanks David. The detail attracts the interest, sure …

  8. macmsue said, on 11/05/2015 at 8:04 pm

    I’m IMPRESSED! This year I’ve seen a couple in my garden but they’re like dragonflies on speed, they just ZOOM from place to place and never seem to stop long enough for me to get a good shot. Yours are fantastic.

    • Mark said, on 11/05/2015 at 9:06 pm

      Thanks Mac. They are too fast for daytime shooting, unless I stand there waiting for one to present – doesn’t happen here. So I wait for them to sleep and set the background to highlight them against.

      • macmsue said, on 12/05/2015 at 8:57 pm

        I thought they slept in little burrows! We have a clay bank very close to where I’d seen them and there were holes in some places. How on earth do you find where they’re sleeping?

        • Mark said, on 12/05/2015 at 10:48 pm

          I believe it’s the females that sleep in the nests/burrows, probably in your clay bank – you should see them coming and going there through the day. If there is any tall grass nearby, or other stems thin enough, you will probably find roosting bees there at dusk. About 10/15 minutes before (as it is getting colder in Brisbane) sundown you might see them darting about investigating the area around their roost, or hear them if you don’t see them. They usually go back to the same place unless it’s been disturbed. The males will always be around the nest site to chase the females – what else …

          • macmsue said, on 13/05/2015 at 8:40 pm

            Unfortunately I don’t think I could “track” them, they’ve been around a garden bed just smothered in Salvias, Lavender, and some big shrub with large yellow, flower clusters. During the day they just zoom around the area, never stopping for more than a few moments. I might try and keep an eye on the clay bank early in the morning.

            • Mark said, on 13/05/2015 at 8:50 pm

              Sounds like heaven, to a bee.

  9. Thomas Gielow said, on 11/05/2015 at 4:24 pm


  10. mimosquito13 said, on 11/05/2015 at 2:22 pm

    wow. big scary eyes. and sharp wings, too.

    • Mark said, on 11/05/2015 at 4:38 pm

      All the better to see you with … un-aggressive, no sting males, adding colour and movement to the garden, and pollinates various flowers so they are reborn and it can all happen again differently.

  11. 2015chronicles said, on 11/05/2015 at 2:03 pm

    Beautiful images. Good thing bees are small. They’d kick our ass if they were actually this size.
    Shine On

    • Mark said, on 11/05/2015 at 4:32 pm

      Thanks … Good thing all the little creatures don’t reason, or they’d organise to get rid of us.

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