Nature's Place

Neon Returns

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

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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

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Neon Bandit

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

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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

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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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Natural Neon …

Cuckoo Bee.

The location and situation generally allowed only a limited approach and time for a few shots in the dead of night.

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Maybe, if she comes back, I can try something different, for better lighting of the very dark black, and more colour in the background.

Every now and then she would shift her position, a little. No fear of her waking in fright, making for the light as BBB’s have done.

Working in a space the size of a Hobbit’s very small cupboard meant some risk of disturbing her. See, she raised her antennae a little.

But all was well, and she took to the skies this morning in fine fettle. She, or a sibling, will be back. It’s what they do in the Earth engine.

Last year I prepped a mud brick as a nest for the Blue Banded Bees that visit the garden. This year they moved in wholesale. And with the BBB comes the Cuckoo, amongst other opportunists.

And what a beautiful opportunist she is. I saw her stalking the mud brick and enter one of the nest holes the BBB makes, so thought I’d provide some roosting spots, to get a few shots.

It seems to be working out, and two more nests are being prepped for next year, different shapes and sizes. These bees have their preferences, maybe I’ll learn something of them.

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

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The Washing …

Not the prettiest face you ever saw, but she is a beauty. Tireless in her service to our amazing nature.

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I could see no reason for her to be on the ground, no damage or sign of exhaustion. Some things just are.

It took a while for her to steady herself but once up she was inquisitive of her situation, being handled with care.

Raising her up before she fell, time for a shot or two on the way. Quiet little beauty bee, stingless today.

Up on the washing line I had a few clothes. I put her to sit a while and she took to it easy, no worries on her little mind.

Manipulating the cloth for some background and the shot with some detail, she began her cleaning routine.

Wiping down her tongue here, the eyes and antennae get regular attention. Clean and proud is her way.

Careful not to disturb her, my finger the other side of the cloth, shooting from a few inches.

And in the end we take what nature offers. She’s still in charge, despite our best efforts. Trusting intelligence wins out.

Hanging out the washing I noticed movement at my feet. A closer look revealed a honey bee come to rest on the grass. An unusual place for honey bees.

Maybe she was tired from her early morning foraging, just taking a break. More likely she was knocked from the air, as healthy as she looks to be.

After a while I helper her to the jacket I had just hung up, got a few shots and left her to rest, preen and warm up in the sun.

She seemed content to be alive, doing no more than survive as she served her nature, to gather for the hive.

When I came back she was gone. Life moves on, things change, with a little help.

And there’s always some washing to be done.

All’s well in paradise, well enough.

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

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Butcher Bird …

A windy morning she came to look, and fetch what the possum left behind on the ground. A little feeding in winter goes a long way, to spring.

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Sitting on the rain cap tied on one of the bee hotels. I have seen them take a bee from mid-air as they dove past.

But no bees now, none before late spring rain and heat, November or December, maybe. It all depends …

Hello little one … wary of dropping to the ground for that morsel. But she does, and poses a while.

Hey hey … G’day mate … Thanks for the food, the help, the nourishment …

so called, for their practise of skewering prey and hanging it up for later.

A youngster, interested in what I’m up to in the undergrowth.

After a bit of food dropped by last night’s possum perhaps.

A little pleasure, to have animated nature visit so.

And then she’s gone, that’s wild life, in sense.

No judgement, allows the next event to be.

Without prejudice …

© 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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The Last BBB …

This is the actual last one, an image of. Hanging on under a cold full moon recent nights. With a little luck nature will have populated my mud brick hotels for next season, little B’s asleep. I might move them to a warmer location, soon to catch springs morning sun.

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From the recent Bee Purple, you take what shots are available, priority being to leave no footprint in the sand of their sensible lives. Except perhaps the sight and smell and taste of blooming aromatic nectar filled flowers. They do enjoy that.

There appears to be two different kinds of BBB, or is it ages. The dark coloured, full orange fur coated ones being a bit bigger and just looking more mature. I haven’t watched them so close to know, and does it really matter …

Intelligence self evident, only the self absorbed cannot see, lost in the labyrinthine tunnels of a wholly imagined world. Lost to the world of sense, where these creatures reign. Every one a king or queen behind, each in mortal form below, where all does come and go.

of this seasons Blue Banded Bees, around my house anyway. But not the last of the pictures.

It’s been cold and wet and the garden in shade of the mornings makes for a difficult terrain to survive in, for the BBB.

One by one they disappeared over the last couple weeks, not missed as they go, but acknowledged then gone.

The seasons turn with the place of the sun and in our orbital world what turns re-turns.

So in the depths of winter, spring is burgeoning behind the barren view.

Well, it’s all relative, isn’t it.

Until it’s not …

© 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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