Nature's Place

The Last Bee

P1140798_filtered Mark Berkery

Before : resting undisturbed.

Click on the pix …

P1140806_filtered Mark Berkery

Bigger than she looks.

P1140823_filtered Mark Berkery

Not a comfortable mouthful for a night-time predator.

P1140828_filtered Mark Berkery

And after : back to sleep.

Definitely the last Blue Banded Bee for this year. I have been trying to provide enough for her to survive but I think the cold may get her in the end. I even have a white bowl out with a blue sponge in the middle of it soaked in sugar solution, like a giant flower, so she doesn’t have to fly far first thing on a cold morning to fuel up – haven’t seen her take it yet.

The shots were taken in the dead of a cold night with a reflector under her, so there was less shadow below. It was just a piece of paper attached to the lens by elastic, a bit clumsy really but it worked to a point. I bumped her with it and she protested by spreading her legs that way, as if to say ‘I’m a bigger mouthful than I first looked, and you could choke on my sharp pointy bits’.

They do that when disturbed at night, if it’s cold enough that they don’t fly off to the light, make themselves look bigger. Many creatures do it, cause themselves to appear bigger than they are, or an uncomfortable mouthful, until the threat is gone.

It’s a working strategy people also employ when feeling threatened. Nature … it’s our nature after all.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click on those pictures for a closer look
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24 Responses

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  1. Greta said, on 04/07/2016 at 9:00 pm

    I like the philosophy. I’ve only ever seen one of these bees. They’re not large are they? I’m sad to learn they die off in winter. It goes without saying, great shots.

    • Mark said, on 04/07/2016 at 10:58 pm

      Thanks Greta. They are not big but they are robust.

  2. Angela Brown said, on 04/07/2016 at 5:07 pm

    Incredible photos. I’ve only ever seen them visiting my garden in flight and have only managed a few clumsy videos of their wonderfully flopsy landing into borage and nasturtium flowers – but I have no idea where they go after visiting…yet. Over the fence somewhere….a mystery yet. There is nothing more beautiful than hearing their tell-tale buzzing for the first time each year after missing them. Just like seeing the first dragonfly of the season. The endless cycle.

    • Mark said, on 04/07/2016 at 6:22 pm

      Thanks Angela. If they are visiting they won’t be far away nesting and roosting at night. It could take a few days to track them but if you follow the females they revisit the nest a few times a day. You need good eyes though, to keep up with them.

  3. Ann said, on 04/07/2016 at 11:09 am

    Those are lovely photos. I love watching the Blue Banded Bees in my garden. They visit my salvias. Thank you.

    • Mark said, on 04/07/2016 at 6:20 pm

      Thanks Ann. They are a pleasure to watch, colourful little things darting about.

  4. Susan Lukwago said, on 29/06/2016 at 1:44 am

    Beautiful, impossibly exquisite pictures as always, Mark. Thank you so much. And for the “trouble” you got to get them and share with us all. Thank you for helping us truly see.

    And this: ” Many creatures do it, cause themselves to appear bigger than they are, or an uncomfortable mouthful, until the threat is gone. It’s a working strategy people also employ when feeling threatened. Nature … it’s our nature after all.” So very true … and many times the threat is either from within us or manufactured by us.

    • Mark said, on 29/06/2016 at 8:01 pm

      Thanks Susan. A window on a piece of my world.

      The earth is the earth but yes, so true, we make our world on it what it is.

  5. Mark said, on 26/06/2016 at 6:09 pm

    Today she didn’t return to her roost. Succumbed to the night’s cold and the rigours of her adventurous high speed life no doubt.

  6. amoodindigosoul said, on 23/06/2016 at 2:39 pm

    Amazing and priceless shots. Thanks for sharing them.

  7. treesshrubs said, on 23/06/2016 at 1:40 pm

    She surely looks like she needs to be popped in somebody’s pocket… awesome that you’re out there at night….😊

    • Mark said, on 23/06/2016 at 4:04 pm

      If I thought she’d behave and it wouldn’t cause her to freak I would. She’s in the back yard, not far to go …

  8. Cate said, on 23/06/2016 at 9:08 am

    A peaceful passage for this little beauty, as her season draws to an end….

    • Mark said, on 23/06/2016 at 12:05 pm

      As peaceful as it gets, being the only bee with a lot of hungry birds around … :-)

  9. Lissa said, on 23/06/2016 at 6:22 am

    The last of the old generation. Until the young ones hatch in the warmer weather. That cycle that can’t be avoided. Always a bit sad and wistful.
    Just like coming to the end of human life. I look after elderly people in our Day Respite centre and I tell you those folk know how to laugh and squeeze every bit of enjoyment out of life. You are doing your best to provide a happy end for this little creature as well. Nicely done.

    • Mark said, on 23/06/2016 at 12:07 pm

      Just seeing what works really. I have seen old folk in a retirement ‘home’ just waiting to die.

      • Lissa said, on 23/06/2016 at 5:22 pm

        Not sure which “old peoples home” you have been in recently but that isn’t the case these days. Sure, some have advanced dementia and aren’t capable of intereacting much but the bulk of people are keen to enjoy their days with various activities. Besides. I work in a Day Respite not a Residential Facility. Completely different. Folk come in for the day and then go home. Bit like a party every day with outings and activities and laughter with friends.

  10. BearlyAware said, on 23/06/2016 at 6:04 am

    Thanks for talking about the behavior of raising the legs. I have seen bumblebees do that her in the US Pacific Northwest during the early spring. I often see bumblebees stranded on or near salmon berry flowers. They get slowly active during a cool but sunny day and visit flowers but then cold rain hits. The frigid soaking wet bees are sometimes stranded on the same spot for days until another warmish sunny day comes. They hang on tenaciously through wind storms that pull the bushes sideways. I have touched the bedraggled little souls to see if they were still alive and seen a pair of legs slowly rise. My mind had said they were trying to brush off the thing touching them, but your explanation rings truer.

    One summer, twenty five years ago, my daughter taught me that you can pet bumblebees. She was able to delicately pet them and they would sometimes raise a leg or two. When I tried, my clumsiness usually caused them to fly away, but I never got an aggressive response from them. My daughter’s lesson taught me to look at bees and wasps very differently from what I had been previously taught..

    • Mark said, on 23/06/2016 at 12:12 pm

      Yes, nature is not the ‘enemy’ we were taught it is. But that’s what we do when we want to exploit something or someone, we demonise it or at least don’t invite logical thought to counter the emotion.

  11. Nina said, on 23/06/2016 at 5:57 am

    Beautiful as always.


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