One Blue Banded Bee left on my side of the fence after a long dry summer and recent wild weather.
© Mark Berkery ……. Click on those pictures for a closer look
Winter has advanced across our sub tropical night with the dark clear sky and the native bees are feeling its cold grip. There weren’t that many to start with but now down to two, and they don’t give up, though there is no choice in the matter, in the season – as health fails.
As soon as the sun is high enough off they are into the garden to find sustenance, and maybe a mate – there seems to be a couple females foraging through the day – to complete their instinctive little lives.
It is always a pleasure to see them patrolling the flowers, always careful of potential predators, where I discourage the spider’s webs and the neighbour’s grandchildren from retiring them early.
The least I can do for our garden’s indispensable residents.
© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look *
A wholly unpredictable nature. Rain or shine, at least the season is reliably that. Mid winter now, just past the shortest day in Oz, and the rain has blessed the earth. Washing all the dryness down and into work with the living of the soil as the basis for the forms of spring to come. And the freshness can be invisibly sensed, just behind the appearance, inside. A clarity above, a functional chattering of other forms below.
The sun lights the morning yellow and clear calling ‘Good Morning’ as it rises above the rooftops. The green alights to the calling light ‘I’m here’, me too … ‘present’ good lord. It is the lord of the morning, when the storm is not, here whatever … A functional lord, of the solar system, solar lord. Having dominion, care for, the children in its influence – us, me and you at the beginning and end …
All we have to do is ‘the work’. To find and establish the only resting place, inside, to observe the wonder of the passing dancers – the other forms of me and you, the colours, the shapes and other senses of things that die, and don’t. It’s what passing is, a movement from visible to invisible and round again. The passed being something else, at the base of it all, you or I.
That’s the way of things here, a cycle of events in form that represent the inner life. A process of detachment through pain, or something more extraordinary – to me, that ends in … peace.
It’s the perception that matters, is realised and actualised, here … it’s a long night in the undergrowth, everybody sees.
Good morning sun … good morning bee.
© Mark Berkery … CLICK any picture to enlarge in a new tab …
The weather is still changeable and a few bees still about. This one came out a bit different with Blue Salvia and reflective in the BG.
These bees just keep going no matter what, as long as the conditions are conducive … and it all changes in the blink of a storm.
Because of advancing age and early injury that result in the slow breakdown of the body, I make compensations or compromises to go on doing what I most enjoy as far as practical application of my skills, character and predisposition are concerned.
So, in the cool of the night, rather than the heat of the day, I have been making the best of what I know of the wildlife hear-abouts – capturing them while they sleep or are otherwise less cognisant of me and my approach for a shot.
Since finding them and learning of their roosting and sleeping habits a few years ago bee’s have been my favourite creature to image, especially at the dawn or dusk when the temperature is best for taking some time for getting the composition right – for my taste – especially the now little seen Leaf-Cutter bee.
I am long past chasing them around during the day, though I do love to get shots of them foraging it is rare enough that you don’t see many, but time tells all – all that can be told in that time is enough. I don’t fret it is the point – not that I am Mr Peaceful either at times, human is more appropriate, with a spiritual (a word that conjures images of charlatans selling the all-cure snake oil on the street corner – for me) bent – and I know better, though the real thing appears rarely – whatever ‘real’ is.
I won’t go on too much now, or last too long maybe, so I will do what I can to bring you the beauty of the form, colour and function of our little cousins – before they too disappear from common, or any, awareness. Because the way things are going, business as usual or worse from our esteemed social leaders, it won’t be long before we, the people, wonder what happened to make the earth such a hostile and difficult place, when in fact and truth it is the world that is hostile – two completely separate realities extant in parallel.
Is it really a choice? Or an inevitability, as Man never really learns except by pain. Unfortunate, or just the fact of human nature? You have to start with the fact …
The earth will be ok in the end, as it was in the beginning. It doesn’t suffer, it only undergoes, and still is, regardless, irrepressible.
Anyone who has been following my posts on this site will know I have worked at making the garden a place for the little ones to visit, maybe even stay and nest. You will know the endeavour has been somewhat successful, weather permitting.
The other day I went about clearing away a years fallen palm leaves and on the way got to see places I don’t usually go. At one of those places, coming to dusk, I came upon a band of bees hovering, landing, taking of and doing it over and over – as BBB’s (and others) do.
So I sat and watched a while and – it came to pass – the place is a nest of males, where they rest out the night. I had seen females looking for suitable nest sites during the day. I have only so far seen this roosting behaviour in the fields by the rain-forest remnant – and was pleased to see it around the house, indeed.
After enough of the dark hours had passed and the bees were well enough asleep I went to see what could be done to get a few pix – which can be a disturbing affair, to the bees, and myself – because it often involves some disturbance of the environment they roost and in the prevailing climate they are warm enough to fly even though they can’t see to well in the dark.
And this is what happened. I was in position with various bits and pieces (necessary for night shooting) and had slipped some BG material in place to better show the bees off and one was spooked and flew off, then another. I kept track as much as possible and found one that has settled on some nearby dead banana tree stem – which I leave in place to break-down to form habitat and eventually humus – got a shot or two and left it in place.
I lost track of the other that was disturbed and just trusted it didn’t lose itself in the undergrowth and would be ok come morning and go about its little life – I’ll never really know. But when I finished and went back towards the house I heard this buzzing noise I usually only hear when I am close to a bee. And there was the second one, buzzing up to the exposed light-bulb – it had hitched a ride on my clothes.
I got a glass and a cap for it; improvised from available material I leave about, and set about capturing the little bee. It wasn’t too difficult, you just have to be careful not to injure it when slipping the cap on and containing it. When that was done I brought it back to the spot I had disturbed it from – a place that gets the early morning sun – and set it up so it would live out the night and even make its way back to it’s roosting mates.
And it all seemed to work out fine. The bee climbed out of the containing glass by the thin stick I left jutting out of it and leaning against a taller stem – its preferred roost – and it climbed and went back to sleep. I don’t tag them, obviously, but I trust he lived to work another day and maybe even learned something from the experience – don’t go flying at night, it’s only a photographer when the flash goes off. :)
And one I held a leaf behind for the BG.
Not for this little fellow. Probably because he was shot on Xmas day, and it was raining. It is still 2012,yes??? Had to check.
What’s this obsession with the marking of time, easter, birthdays, holidays, xmas and now new year? Or is it just a distraction from time, psychological time.
Is it just a political and economic opportunity? Or has that just usurped the natural people’s celebration of the passing of the seasons. Because make no mistake, the pollies and business-men only have their own best interests at heart – with the occasional exception, there’s always an exception to make the rule.
Anyway, given the obscenity and sentimentality of modern celebrations I give them a miss. I would rather be writing this, or shooting pix in the field or garden, but certainly not getting inebriated with so-called friends who are gone tomorrow when the headaches set in.
Inebriated on my own, now that may be, and everything else out of mind? Feet up and watching a no ads TV program or movie of a night. :)
And now and again going and having a look at what the new night may have brought, moths, spiders, and all …
Anyway, I trust you still enjoy the pix, and sometimes the words that go with them.
All the best …
It’s warm these days and not so easy to capture a shot of these very fast moving bees, especially out in the wild. So I wait for them at dusk and watch for where they land, and fly and land again. It’s never as simple as taking one spot and sticking to it. They need to settle in like any creature, in their way, moving to and fro until they are right. No more disturbance, inside, and ready for the night.
So, because the temperature often determines how active our bees are, there is a very short window of opportunity, two of them with natural light, and the best one is at dusk.
Waiting to the last minute is an option, or working what I can from a certain darkness, maneuvering the roost for the BG as I go, until I get something that is not the same as hundreds I can get without the work.
So, after a little work, here is the first Blue Banded Bee of the year. On the setting sun. A fitting BG for such a tireless little wonder.
Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge
As the still bright sun goes down behind the clouds over the woods on a cold and windy day, a Blue Banded Bee gets ready for the long dark night through which he cannot fly away. For a while he comes and he goes but eventually to keep, he locks his jaws on the stem and that way goes to sleep.
And on the way he dreams of the things, of bees. While stretching his wings and kicking his legs he turns this way and that to indicate, he sees. The blue of a flower in bloom, a little nectar or pollen, a mate of his kind. Zooming in and out among the grasses and between the trees. God knows he will find.
Dreaming in imagery a thinker could never know, the things a bee is and does. Making his home near enough to his kind, making it on the go.
And all the while, he keeps his big eyes open for danger and, marvelously, knows no foe.
She, in her clay nest looking over her brood, waiting to wake to the sun once more to do the dreams of bees, given the weather’s mood. To find a blue flower, some pollen and nectar, a mate perhaps, of her kind, a choiceless love that does not intrude.
She knows no time but what she does as the need presents in mind. Yes, bees have minds. Did you think you are the only ones, you and your kind?
And when they are done and dead, no one to mourn, the little ones fed, it happens o’er, never once knowing the ill of human dread.
Rise up little one, to the golden flight, though there be a little fright, Thou art a queen, of light.
Rise up, to know your right.
Each bee new to the fact of being a bee, each flower a rare discovery, sipping the nectar of the earth can only be heavenly, to a new bee. And all the other things that happen anew in a bee’s busy day, you see.
Chased by a Dragon or Wasp or even a bird or three. Evading death a hundred ways, the wind no less a threat, when hungry, being as small a bee.
They have been cold and wet of late. Holding on for days and nights before they ate. To live and die as is their fate. And all to know a mate, a mate.
That’s their fate, and their faith, it’s never too late.
And then I look up and what do I see, but the gods of the sub-continent aligned to a V. Sailing or running along on the wind, aflame, a-coloured, gloriously unhinged. What may be.
Was it me? With them or not, I can’t now see. A b… on the wing, I could equally be. ((:
What is this I have seen? The passage overhead, alongside, of fantastic creatures, warriors, a king and a queen. A wonderful procession of the characters of innocent mythical mind a keen.
Then to my rear I see the world, a-burning where there is no flame, consuming yellow arise from the earth, a perfect dissolution that knows no blame – it’s not you or me, no such fame.
This way or that, there was no escape, from these hard won laurels no man could possibly ape. T’was real enough, to me, all form agape.
The end I see, nothing to bemoan, but to set me free. The death of you and me, but no, not Thee.
Or was it just a dream after all, of bees, no more to be seen or fall? A dream, too few do recall.
No, t’was real enough to me, my friend. Know though, this is not the end.
For we meet in the wilderness, of mind, where thought would only offend.
Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge