Nature's Place

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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Seasons End …

No fancy camera work, just what I could get without disturbing them. Don’t want to be the death of any this close to ‘winter’.

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These few are regulars outside the back door now, best shelter from the elements, rain, wind, cold night sky.

Proud little thing, comfortable being a bee, alert for non bee things in the cold dark night.

It’s usually the youngsters have the lighter colouring, smaller too straight from the nest, still coming …

I might set up some background during the day, before they come home to sleep. It might disturb them though.

It’s getting colder now and fewer plants are flowering hereabouts. Time’s up for many a small creature.

The Blue Banded Bee can be found sheltering from the cold dark sky under cover of the star jasmine, holding on to dried out stems.

They won’t give up, that’s not their nature. Come sunrise they will be away once more, seen doing what they do best, buzzing about the gardens nectar pots.

No worries about getting through the winter, no fear of death. None of that nonsense for the intrepid BBB.

Bee knows no psychological past so has no future, no imagination to stir emotion to be lost in.

Bee is what bee does, plus the power, of silence, of stillness behind.

Little beauty beeing.

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

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Squatters

The BBB likes to make a nest by tunnelling into dry clay, where it’s sheltered from the elements. Females sleep in the tunnels, males roosting nearby, as a general rule.

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From a hole in the side of the mud brick this fly emerged, staggered, looking fresh as … Could be a youngster, I think.

Whatever their normal behaviours are they are unique and amazing little things, no less than the big ones …

This one, a brother perhaps, stumbled out of the same hole and was promptly entangled in a spiders web just below.

Not the first little creature to find itself trapped by nature of another kind, there’s an ant in there too, and that ball …

A mosquito, looks like, ant below it, one leg stretched to the ground, the ball touching it. Ways to die on earth …

This new born bee got its timing wrong, or I need to reorient the brick. It emerged at sundown instead of sunup, and lost its way. I lent a hand …

I made a mud brick with earth from under the roots of a fallen tree and drilled holes for the blue banded bees to nest in.

It took a while for any to take to it this year but a few did and would roost nearby, not a good year for the bees anyway.

In passing I noticed some unexpected activity and bent to investigate. Flies … spiders and others, no surprise really.

Where there’s space for it, life takes form, form dies, and life goes on.

© 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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Friday …

Just the one sleeping on a tendril hanging from the fern above the Orange Tail Resin Bee hotel.

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S/he started to buzz and appeared irritated with flash so I pulled back for it to withdraw to darkness once more.

Ok, just one more … from front and below, bee hotel in background. Everybody asleep … for now.

The Blue Banded Bee is much about the garden through the day. Less visible at night though.

The flash can waken them and they fly to the nearest light, not good for BBB. So only a few shots for now.

Maybe when it gets colder and they are more sluggish, and I can find them, I’ll get some more.

© 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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Mother … Again

… and again.

Up close, without the personal … this spider doesn’t rationalise or emotionalise her situation. She is … the act of sitting. Knowing …

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Sitting in expectation, without a thought, as instinct informs her being something will come to this also active living flower.

Infinite variations in posture, in readiness for that something when it comes. An almost meditative occupation, why not … instinctively.

‘What’s that I see above me, come into my arms, let me show you the way of spider dear. A one way exercise, have no fear.’

Oops! No crack in this hard shelled ladybug, to slip in a pointed lesson in survival, not yours. And ladybug went on her way.

No mercy for the unwary though. She came for food for the hive and became food for the spider. Such is life to one, death to another.

And flies do join the banquet, never far from a feast. No more than providing for young yet … to be … you might think her a beast.

Being dead, no good for a bee. Or is death something else than a little body bent to spider queen. Coup de grâce complete.

and again.

She stayed the life of the flower, then moved on to the next one. Pretty soon she was in food again, the more abundant honey bee attending.

I helper her along, so she didn’t have to move far, or rely on wind for direction – casting a thread to the currents is how she travels.

She will probably stay on this one for a while, it having multiple heads still to open. Then the butterfly bush should be in bloom.

We’ll see, nothing is sure but the rising and setting of the sun, as long as there is witness to it.

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

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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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