Nature's Place

Neon Beeauty

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There isn’t much insect activity in the garden after a hot and dry summer and recent unseasonal heatwave.

The native bee’s nests are devoid of activity. Because they know, without thinking, it’s not a good time to be born right now.

The heat has seriously stressed the flowering plants the bees need for survival and recovery may be a protracted process. If …

But here are a few that came before, magical little bee of neon blue on black. Little beauty bee.

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

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Blue Banded Bee …

A Blue Banded Bee from the same bee hotel as the Neon Cuckoo Bee lays. How they roost outside the nest.

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She’s asleep at night which allows me to set the background, somewhat. For the contrast necessary to appreciate it.

There are always limitations, to anything, of what’s at hand for the job. And variables can be employed.

Such as angles and lighting and background – sometimes, and you never know what you’ve got ’til you see it big.

So I look to see what may be, what looks good inside, guided by experience and intuition, and shoot away outside.

Within constraints, of available space in surrounds, close to the ground, under the stairway … pain in the knee …

And then there’s the variables of the medium, composition, saturation, sharpness, etc … that add up to a …

It all goes to making a picture, or image, attractive or not. There are universals to that, I think. What ‘eye’ enjoy.

But the biggest attraction is the creature – from created – itself. No accident of numbers is this little beauty. Though its numbers can be calculated, sort of …

on a flower, a print of a flower, for background while she sleeps.

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

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Bee Mystery

While the home BBB’s went missing I had a look at some old haunts and found some new roosts, out in the wild.

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There wasn’t a lot of time for a few shots since these BBB’s don’t settle until it’s nearly dark, on a steep ditch wall.

Well, you take what you can get sometimes. No crime in that. And they are little beauties anyway. Just don’t fall in.

Six different individuals here, all coming and going in the dying light, located where they’d catch the last of the suns rays.

Some shots are best cropped, no apologies for that. It is a re-presentation after all, not a re-production – what I do here.

Trying to capture some colourful background – failing – makes the little beauties shine all the more – for our pleasure.

There were different plants in varying stages of their life cycle. The bees prefer the dried ones, better to hold on perhaps.

During a night that can be the death of them, better to be holding to something that won’t let you down.

And everything has its time. Not every bee wakes up with the rising sun. But we all do sleep … some time.

The Blue Banded Bee house out back, where I found the Neon Cuckoo of last post, went remarkably quiet from around noon on the 24th.

The silence was unusual. After weeks of frantic activity the bees stopped coming, no more buzzing and tumbling at the entrance.

Same again this morning, quiet as the grave. Then, around noon again, they came back.

Just a natural cycle it seems. Here one day or season, gone the next, and back again.

It’s what it is …

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

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The Beez …

are dead, long live the beez.

Lion of the garden, a Blue Banded Bee long gone now. No doubt his essence is passed on, maybe next years bees will shine so.

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Disturbed at night, see his spurs … A frog or … might have objection to them. He went back to sleep, from the dream of waking.

Still dreaming, a much bigger bite than at first sight. Instinctive defence from the nights stem climbing predators.

And just for a change, the angle is relative, down is often how they hang. Magnificent little Blue Banded Bee.

Though the actual form is gone the image lingers.

Invoking all the same reactions, suspected real enough.

Like here, appearing to represent something more substantial.

When, after examining the usual places, it appears there is nothing supporting.

Another image, it lingers still, insistent upon acknowledgement, as all life does.

But not to judge the situation, that we make it so, or something else.

The roiling pressure shapes the body, as the mind, in there.

No mystery to the mechanical, but behind, another matter.

Or maybe no matter at all, just requires seeing.

We’ll see … when all’s done, and not.

What ghosts endure.

The sunlight.

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

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Bee Purple

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Colder and colder, fewer and fewer, the Blue Banded Bees are making a heroic effort at surviving. They also have the sense to shelter from the cold clear sky at night, hanging from a thread.

Literally, life on a thread for these guys. Always somewhere near the nest where the females would usually be. A few of them about the garden during the day.

Still some flowers blooming on our warm winter days, enough to keep a few bees fuelled up for their frantic paced flight.

Fly little fireball, to the end of … burn up the form with the passage of the sun.

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

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Blue Banded Bee

Blue Banded Bee asleep gripping a dead twig of the star jasmine on the fence. Under cover from the rain.

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A female, by the four bands, not five, about two metres from the mud brick house cast for her early in the year.

And on the other side of the house – two youngsters in tandem on a flower stem, under the moon. No blue bands yet …

Flash disturbed the one behind, who began to buzz and struggle, as if agitated dreaming. So I backed off …

With all the rain and wind the past couple weeks these little creatures are struggling. But not suffering emotionally, they don’t do that.

They are cognisant of the effort and the hunger, are it, but not a single thought is wasted on it. And it can’t be changed.

The sun will shine again … the flowers will bloom … mud brick homes are available.

Everything changes in time …

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

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Bee Life

Hello world … Breaking out of the nest after a long winter, it’s time to get to work. My little brave bee, instinctively …

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Time to stretch out, on the wall of the hotel, orientation time perhaps. The sky lightening behind, it’s a new world.

Spring cleaning, a relative that didn’t get through the winter is pushed to recycling. Thorough little housekeeper bee.

She lines the nest with resin for protection, some gets spilt on the way in, and she enters backwards to lay an egg.

Not quite finished, she goes to sleep the best she can. Not the safest position in a house full of geckos, but she stings … I know.

On her way to replenishing the earth with bees, one on the other in a deep dark chamber, here sealing up the first nest entrance.

And what’s this, one greeting another to the new world, male looking for a mate, or just saying hello. They talk to one another …

And in case anyone thinks a bee is fragile, I’ll have you know she’s fierce as a lion to protect her ways. Gentle too …

The wasp appeared, at first no threat it seems, no ovipositor I see. A male perhaps, or just young. Found below the bee hotel.

Here she is in fuller form, ovipositor held aloft behind, sitting on the hotel wall, listening for the signs that tell where to …

This is where, where else … She found a place to lay her egg, a bees nest clear as day. The sheath of her delivery rises.

And this is how it goes – the bee does her work and the wasp does hers too, so it turns. Everybody has its time …

Some work for resin, others for the meat, each is born of the earth. Mothers all … except the males of course.

Every year the orange tail resin bees wake up with the warming sun and the moisture of spring rain.

These may all be female bees, mostly found by the nest – a hotel made of a log drilled for their use.

Their primary use seems to be to lay eggs, along with a little food bomb for the larva that will bee.

Another use is protection at night, somewhere to sleep away from all the predators in the garden.

The males live and sleep somewhere else in the garden, not too far away but still a mystery.

Once the bee cycle is underway and some eggs are sealed up in the nest a wasp turns up.

She, the wasp, is also laying eggs, in the bees nest. Her young will take advantage …

And so it goes, one thing dependant on another thing, until completion.

An end that is not ‘just’ another beginning.

But a beginning … without end.

Hmmm …

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

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Beez …

in the bush.

From the morning glory days, a male I think. Relishing a dose of nectar at the mouth of the mind altering flower.

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He took his time enjoying the liquid pleasure. A rare enough visitor, we being surrounded by desert dry gardens.

And more recently, a female I think. Taking a break from collecting pollen for the nest, there’s more to life than young.

And another break, or another bee, on my dry hand. Preening time, best to last a little longer in a wearing world.

Making the most of one native flower in the garden. It’s almost summer conditions here now, not yet though.

Another flower from the local bush, seeds collected and sown for the garden to give life to. She seems to enjoy it.

And all is well … naturally.

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

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Green Gold Bee 2

A typical nest entrance, fresh diggings on the downward approach – gravity works.

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I saw quite a few of these bees and not one entered the nest backwards, as other bees are seen to do, to lay an egg.

And as far as I could see they always exited head first too, suggesting an excavation allowing them to turn-around.

A youngster maybe, just emerged from underground obviously. Or where did the clay on its back and wing come from.

Compared to the one above this bee looks mature, strong and healthy. Perhaps that’s an egg filled abdomen, big as it is.

Everything dies … and I only saw the one such. No sign of spiders but this nest site would have its predators. Crabs maybe.

Foraging in the daylight can be hazardous for a crab but they know when to run and hide.

An other chapter in the life of the Green Gold Masked Bee, from the edge of the world into deep nature.

It all happens on the edge of a huge coastal mangrove forest, where a tidal creek separates it from the mainland and man’s mind made stuff.

The nest entrance is a comfortable size, and they always go in head first, but then they always come out head first. So, it seems, they have room in there to turn around.

At first I thought they could only be laying their eggs for hatching in the spring, until I saw the one that spent some time cleaning hardened clay from its back. It looks like a youngster to me.

You can see how it uses the hooked feet to scrape at the dirt. It suggests to me either a cave-in or it has just emerged from incubation. It looks smaller too, less full bodied than the others.

And then there was the one dead bee I found. It looks to have a torn wing suggesting struggle of some kind. Maybe the crab kind.

Just below the nest site are the homes of small crabs that peep out and occasionally risk a journey across the dark mud.

They are shy creatures, not comfortable being photographed, but they can be tricked into it.

Things to do, lives to live … the comings and goings, remind me of … ways to be.

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

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