Nature's Place

Neon Signs …

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

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… 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

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Giant – ish

The mother of them all, undisturbed in her feeding.

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A bugs eye view, sees the sky through the tree branches above.

There’s an elegance to the form, weighty creatures though.

A youngster, from the wing buds, you wouldn’t know it otherwise.

Manoeuvred for the shot and the background.

Full wings, sun dried grass below. A hot summers day.

Can’t blame them for loving the bush juice in the recent heat.

She breathes through holes in her side, I’m sure she can close.

Angles, gotta take what can be since they can only be examined on the big screen.

Perfection is not an option for pursuit, but may be encountered …

… in its natural being, a bug in an apparently messy nature.

These huge bugs are thirsty for the butterfly bush sap, in competition with the need of the blue banded bees for nectar.

They can have a few heads but when they start on the big stems they are evicted to another part of the garden.

Soon after they are back, such is life. Part of the gardens management, like watering. Doing it as I go.

It pays to be careful of judging what’s good and bad in the garden, the big picture rules.

Practises are subject to change, like the garden itself, and some stay the same.

For the love of it … what else.

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

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Night Hawk

In the shadows beneath the house, nose on top of a bees nest entrance, a Hawk Moth waiting for night.

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It looked like it might be feeding, it has a long proboscis for the purpose, strong enough to pierce.

Unmoved by my presence, I was within a couple of inches, to see the detail of her eye. A gentle little thing.

A feathery coat keeps her cool and dry, probably helps with flight too. Nature is no slouch when it comes to design.

The garden has been drying out with the recent summer heat, in spite of the daily watering.

I was not surprised to see this creature in the afternoon, clinging to the side of the bee hotel.

At first I thought it might be using its proboscis to extract nourishment from a nest it was on.

But no, it was just waiting out the bright of the day in the cool shadows, being nocturnal.

I suspect the garden is a beacon to the small life in range of sensing it.

When so few water theirs it must be positively inviting.

A little green oasis is a blessing.

Of nature, and the life behind.

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

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Neon Baby

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

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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 …

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Giants

Sucking the sap that feeds the bud … To the right of the stem the leaf droops and dies and the bud below never flowers.

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A little closer … they can sit there for days, and I let them. But there’s limits, when they take multiple flower buds.

This one was a giant, nearly two inches long. Surveying its domain from on high. Possibly mother to the others.

They are impressive creatures, taking a break from drinking flower juice. Fearless, just doing what they do.

Others were clearly youngsters learning the ropes, buds instead of wings, destructive giants all the same.

Some had to be shown … moved to a native crocus, others to a vine rose. Nice colours, don’t know about the taste.

Gotta do the best with … creatures, life. And reprogram the machine when necessary. Rather, de-program the operator.

visiting the garden, as big as my thumb. And they appear to be a family, of sorts.

They have a big appetite and if left to it they would consume the butterfly bushes.

But no, I move them on when it looks like they have done enough for the day.

They have a lance, or proboscis, they use to suck the juice from the new stems.

And once they settle in the new bud dies, never flowers, and that won’t do.

The bees depend on the flowers producing nectar to fuel their work.

So it goes, give a little and take a little. They can always fly on.

I usually put them on a tree that has a Hawaiian rose vine on it.

They couldn’t kill it if they tried, and they might enjoy it.

Everything has its season and these will leave soon.

Gardens change and need a little management.

Not unlike us, who may refuse an old habit.

So that the flowers grow.

The way we are …

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

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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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