Nature's Place

Beehaviour

Down on the pebbled concrete at the foot of the stairs, where the recent Curlew stood.

*Click on the pictures for a proper look … and click again

A male, from the five stripes across its body. He made every effort to take to the air.

After watching him fall again and again I lent a hand. The one he’s standing on above.

A leaf afforded more opportunity for a few shots, within reach and firm enough for his weight.

From the other side and above it is clear the pollen sacks stuck to his back have been torn.

And all the while his tongue is hanging down and unsheathed, not its usual position or condition.

The one mandible visible here and above is clearly ok and in place. But in other images its opposite is clearly out of place, maybe tucked behind the tongue sheath causing it to hang – can’t really tell.

A few items on the table were good for colour, while he stood still. The blue suits him, nice contrast, all the better to appreciate his form. Weird and wonderful little fellow.

Moving and stopping, to and fro, made for an exercise in capturing available backgrounds from varying angles.

And variations thereof … uncluttered imagery. No emotion or thinking to distract from the simple being, or form.

G’day mate …

How’s it going …

A Blue Banded Bee. I found him on the ground below the flowers. He was far from home but behaved as if new from the nest, struggling to take flight as if just born with some unseen impediment. But perhaps it was acquired in flight on a windy day.

He seemed energetic enough, and whole except for the hanging tongue and the apparently missing mandible, had come from some ways to the flowers. But here couldn’t get into the air for more than a few seconds before falling back to earth.

The yellow on his back reminded me of how orchids will leave a sack of pollen on the backs of visiting insects, bees and wasp and such small flying creatures. What this was I think.

However, I gave him a hand, literally and by an available leaf to climb on. Often a bee having trouble at ground level will be successful from a higher vantage.

But no, was not to be, he just kept falling. So I brought him to the veranda table upstairs and set him up for a few shots before feeding him some sugar water.

He took lengthening breaks but he never gave up, always at the ready. And while I was momentarily distracted he disappeared. Into the wild …

He had done his job for the orchid, though he wasn’t done yet.

Just beyond the shade of knowing.

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

*

*

Neon Beeauty

*Click on the pictures for a proper look … and click again

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

*

*

Neon Once More

At first she looked fine, out of the nest and paused, taking stock of her sensible world.

*Click on the pictures for a proper look … and click again

As all sensible creatures do. Though her sense of things would be limited by her damaged antennae.

Later in the day it was apparent all was not well, still on the mud brick and now covered in dust.

Maybe from her diggings, laying her eggs, or something to do with her damaged appearance.

She was lively enough, for a while, though behaving as if disoriented, wings spread without flight.

And later still she was flagging, unstable flight attempts and always returning to the mud bring nest.

At one point she re-entered a nest hole and ducked from my attentive lens. Then came out again.

One time she failed to take off and hit the floor. Climbing up a skink jumped her and she lay still.

I picked her up and gave her a little water and she was away again. What happened then who knows, turn your back and the world changes. Life moves on …

Nothing has it good all the time. This Neon Cuckoo Bee was having trouble getting its bearings.

Lost one antennae and, it appears, one mandible. Maybe it was in a fight with a BBB.

Maybe it was born that way. Who knows … there are no guarantees in this life.

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

*

*

Blue Banded Bee …

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

*Click on the pictures for a proper look … and click again

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

*

*

Neon Signs …

She waits by the entrance to one Blue Banded Bee nest site …

*Click on the pictures for a proper look … and click again

… where she will be buzzed until she takes some action.

Sometimes she flys off and around the place …

… only to return to another place she can fulfil her nature.

You can’t blame a bee for being a bee …

… whatever kind of bee she is, opportunistic in this case.

… stealing the efforts of the Blue Banded Bees nature.

But a bee doesn’t steal, knowingly taking from another.

She just sees an opportunity and takes it, by her nature.

No point complaining about what can’t be changed.

Best to let it be, be a bee – ho ho …

Then we might be able to let everything else be.

What a world that would bee.

Signs of life … the Neon Cuckoo Bee has taken to the Blue Banded Bee hotel with a gusto.

At first, early summer, one showed up and the BBB’s were agitated by her presence.

Now there are three or four around the house, two I know of to the BBB hotel.

And the BBB’s do chase them but as a reflex, not unduly concerned.

The ever shifting cohort of flies also seem to have their place.

And though there appears to be the usual struggles of living …

amongst the small creatures, they don’t get unhappy.

Cause there’s no problem in beeing.

As long as I don’t think.

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

*

*

Neon Baby

She appeared one day, out of the garden and into the shade where the BBB house is located. Cruising …

*Click on the pictures for a proper look … and click again

Manoeuvred for some contrast in the background colour. Anything is better revealed by a little contrast.

I saw this BBB emerge from the nest, drop rather. She fell to the ground and tried to fly, eventually away.

After a while I caught the Neon lady in waiting, for a BBB to show her the way, it seemed, to an in-use nest.

Another BBB that didn’t know how to fly straight out of the nest, doing some work on a wing here. He made it too, with a little help.

Waiting by a nest entrance, eventually a BBB came along and entered a different nest. She waited for the BBB to go and entered there.

A little struggler needed a hand to get up high. It’s where they like to start from when there’s difficulty getting airborne.

On the edge, by another nest entrance, she did a lot of waiting. The first Neon didn’t, that I saw anyway. Can’t see everything …

Holding on between efforts, he didn’t recover enough to fly and died in peace on the roof, and not down with the ants that range about.

The Blue Banded Bee house is a hive of activity at different times, cyclical comings and goings. And not just with BBBs.

There are the flies that seem to prey on the bees, chasing them when they approach, and the Neon Cuckoo bee that lays there too.

I wondered when or if a new Neon bee would appear and there she was. I didn’t see her emerge from the BBB house but she is clearly smaller and newer than the last.

And so I waited, for the opportunity to present. They don’t just come and sit for me, it has to be the ‘right’ time, and I have to be ready and present.

New life, it always comes in some form. And the time in between, no time, from whence it comes.

Baby she may be, formidable as her mother all the same.

And it all happens in the space it happens in.

With a clear view, space gives perspective.

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

*

*

Neon Returns

Blue Banded Bee asleep at night on a twig of suitable size for grasping between mandibles. No insomnia here.

*Click on the pictures for a proper look … and click again

Tough little creature, the Neon Cuckoo Bee. Resting on the roof of the BBB’s house beneath the stairway.

Here she is surveying the activity around the BBB’s house from the nearest high point, all the better to act from.

Caught in the act, of laying in the BBB’s nest so her own young get a good start. A relaxed exit, for a robber.

Even while the BBB’s were buzzing her she stopped to preen, combing her face. Grooming is high on bee agenda.

By comparison the BBB’s were clearly agitated, entering and exiting the nest with mandibles spread for combat.

Just looking on, from a nearby nest. I think it was doing some excavation work, as the entryway changed shape.

I pass the house of Blue Banded Bees many times some days and see what is going on, which is not much, more often than not.

This time was no different but I stopped a while anyway, to see what may be. There were two BBB’s buzzing a particular entrance.

I got my camera and waited as one agitated BBB went at the doorway, disappeared into the nest, and returned backwards, still agitated.

Then another BBB did the same, so I set up to shoot in case anything appeared from inside the nest, as I have seen other BBB’s come out.

And there she was, Neon Cuckoo, came to the entrance from within and proceeded to preen, giving her head a combing with her front legs.

She was well aware of the apparently furious BBB’s but she was un-phased, being inured to such attentions by best practise of bees.

Instinct doesn’t allow for fear or stress in this being of a Cuckoo Bee, and it doesn’t have a thinking mind to interfere.

Doesn’t worry ‘what if’, stirring useless emotion to cloud its perception.

Simple intelligence, working as a bee.

Whatever works, it is what it is …

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

*

*

Neon Bandit

The Neon Cuckoo bee resting from her efforts to populate the Blue Banded Bee’s nests in the big mud brick.

*Click on the pictures for a proper look … and click again

During the day she took to the fern stems I put out for the purpose, and no BBB bothered her while she was there.

This was late afternoon as the sun hit the ground in front of the BBB house, a short window for a lighter background.

Such was her calm I had time for more considered shots, to get some greenery in. Colourful contrast pleases the eye.

Then there’s the plastic roof on the BBB house, perishing now, trusting it will survive the summer. She gets around.

This went on for an hour or so, as she sought to leave her young for the BBB’s to tend, as Cuckoos of all kinds do.

She was unfazed by the BBB’s occasionally buzzing her at her varying resting places, clearly at ease in her being.

She came and went, and I followed along, with the BBB’s a close second. The BBB’s don’t rest on the nest this way.

And then there is the wood that keeps the plastic roof on the BBB’s house, a little weight in case of wind, and rain.

As close as I could get. Though she got to know and accept me as a feature without threat, I still exercised respect.

And then there were these flies, as small as they look, showed interest in some of the BBB’s nests. Feeding perhaps.

Breeding perhaps, I can’t say what they were up to exactly but the possibilities are limited to simple instinctive drive.

And they took to the fern stems instinctively, a place of safety with only one narrow approach to it. It’s all relative.

At a fraction the size of it the last three flies may be the children of this one, also found nearby. Maybe not …

She came back, our Neon Cuckoo Bee. And the BBB’s were busy chasing her away.

But she didn’t mind, and she didn’t give up, dodging the natives in order to lay her eggs.

The BBB house has been very busy this year, and there will be more Neon Cuckoo bees for it.

The way it is, one thing feeds off another, and they’re all very focussed about it, filling the need.

Nature needs to reproduce, plain and simple, and nothing will deter the instinctive will.

Except maybe the will before instinct. Nothing … to write home about though, for now.

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

*

*

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.

*Click on the pictures for a proper look … and click again

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

*

*