Nature's Place

Morning Glory Purple

At first, buried deep in the flower, supping on the nectar. Then caught it as it emerged over the pollen laden stamen.

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Wandering about in the colour and nourishment it didn’t stay still for long. Big pollen grains for good bee work.

My hand is never far from my subject. It came for the warmth that makes a difference in our winter shade.

Balanced on the edge of the petal, not yet ready for flight, it climbed for who knows what – security.

One other of its kind, on the flowering nicotiana, shy of the camera. Gotta be quick to catch these guys.

I put some old sweet potato in the ground and something else grew as well. The garden often does that, mysteries emerging.

This time it is a lovely morning-glory vine, where the passion-fruit vine used to be. A place for vines it would seem.

A few creatures visit it in its window of sunshine on a cold ‘winter’s’ day, taking what nourishment or shelter they can.

It’s the way of the garden, flowers as beacons to passing travellers, oasis of colour and nectar in man’s jungle.

A chance to live a little longer, in complete accord with life’s desire to live and live again.

How we are, how it is, in these magnificent little robotic selves.

© 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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Green Gold Bee

After a while a little luck, it landed on my stick, the easier for me to get a few shots.

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This certainly qualifies as bee activity. Regurgitating liquid takes its full attention, so it doesn’t notice me.

Once it lands and has something to do, after a little time it becomes absorbed and exclusively focussed.

Preening is one of the natural creatures favourite activities. Here ‘wiping’ its feet down its abdomen to the rear – combing.

Caught a little sunshine on the eye, refracting to the colours of the rainbow. A little magical sunlight in the lens.

There’s a place along the way, an opening onto a tidal creek, where people sometimes fish, and birds call loudly after a while.

I sometimes stop there to have a look at the water passing, and anything else that might be, small black crabs peeping from dark holes.

Today, as I came to the edge and looked down I saw a swarm of small bees flashing green in the afternoon sun, flying to the bank beneath my feet.

On closer inspection I could see they were each disappearing into a small hole in the clay, many diggings still visible, at and above the high tide mark.

I stood and looked for a while to see what was happening, and if there was any opportunity for a few shots of these fast moving new-to-me non-stop bees.

Camera at the ready to move in for a shot, I positioned myself and waited to see if any would land on my left hand as I held it outstretched in the sun.

After a while standing still one bee then another landed and did what bees often do, sat and rested, preened and blew ‘bubbles’, but not on my hand.

Instead they started landing on the stick I had set standing in the mud, the one I usually have with me and use for so much besides just a stick.

After a while in the hot sun, bothered now by clouds of tiny midges – you have to endure a little hell for a little gold, one presented.

And another … so I went to work, the easiest part of this particular shoot-out, and took what angles and focus were afforded.

These are some of the best … of this metallic green and yellow masked bee … so far.

Now, if only … but if can never be.

Time’s up … for now.

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

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Young Bee On Yellow

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Late one hot sunny afternoon I was watering the garden and noticed it stopped on the flower for a while as the wind died down.

It seemed comfortable enough and didn’t object to a spray of misted water from the hose, which quickly dried off.

I left it there to forage into the twilight and by morning it was gone, likely into the space-ways at first light.

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

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Keeping It Simple …

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Still …

© Mark Berkery ……. Click on those pictures for a closer look
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Bee – Blue Banded Beauty

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Keeping it simple …

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The Last Bee

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Before : resting undisturbed.

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Bigger than she looks.

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Not a comfortable mouthful for a night-time predator.

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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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Ambush …

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Everything needs to eat, it’s fundamental to existence. Things die so other things can live, that’s the way it is in the closed system of energy the earth is. It’s basically an exchange of energy from one form to another. That’s just nature the way it is, no problem.

Spiders have various methods of capture, too many to go into here and I am disinclined to too many words these days anyway, words without purpose – why write again what someone has already done well enough.

Right now though there is this ambush spider active in the garden, a few in fact, and though they are known to take on the colourings of their particular hunting environment, for camouflage no doubt, this one stands in stark contrast.

It can get away with this because of the structure of the flowers, it can slip in between and beneath so as to almost disappear to the unwary eye. It must be effective since the spider, let’s call it he, he is still alive after a week or so and growing bigger all the time.

I have also recently seen a starkly white spider sitting on purple flowers catch a blue green fly as it came within reach, focus for a short time on immobilising the prey before pulling it into the comfortable shelter of the flowers. An amazing display of speed and dexterity in colour, clearly intelligent, to me.

At another time I saw it miss its prey and slip back into hiding, without a sign of emotion, disappointment, sullenness or regret. Most creatures have no discernible emotion, behaving primarily from instinct, but nevertheless are as clever as any person – it is our nature after all, clever, cunning, savage. Not what we like to believe, I know.

There is nothing we are that isn’t already in nature, as much as we like to think we are special. What makes us special is the potential to transcend all that in the clarity of being – our ‘other’ nature, a place of stillness inside uncluttered by thought or emotion, imagery and its genesis. But it’s not for everyone, apparently.

Relative to what I know people can be, in my own experience, nature, for all its manifest savagery, is at least honest. Not imagining it is something it is not, it can be itself without the problem of emotion imagining generates, you can’t have the up without the down – that’s not something I made up, and the delusional complications that arise from it. A problem to which the solution is so simple, to love – not as easy as it sounds.

But, just as the spider has little to no self awareness beyond it’s immediate needs, so is the person but with an expanded cognizance of what those needs are – is what makes us think we’re special. And that’s all right, for the person – every thing has its time, and the spider – who can be no other way.

He still hasn’t caught a bee as far as I know, loved it in her way. I don’t think he’s big or strong enough, perhaps not venomous enough. And he knows it, so he only goes for the certain kill.

Or the bees are just too fast for that form of love, of a spider. Remember how quick you got out of the way of that ‘danger’, bees are quicker, more intelligent, having no ‘minding’ in the way.

Can we get back to that state before mind as random thinking and emotion, with all its accumulated experience.

Can we love that clarity enough to do what is necessary and what is essential to make it incorruptible.

That’s the only question, what matters, for me. Everything else is noise.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look
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Our Leonine Nature

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Water, one of life’s simple pleasures. The sense, or essence, of it …

Bees, what would we do without them. I have heard people use feather dusters in some places where the bees have died out, to pollinate the crop.

These are a healthy lot too, looking strong and well groomed. Lion-like with their big manes – is what they remind me of.

That they are feral, gone wild in a local forest, might be significant to their health. Having nobody exploiting them.

No doubt they have their difficulties but they can always be seen to take clean water from near the flow.

Never doubting their common purpose or function, as bees.

Being free of our questionable chemistry.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look

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