Nature's Place

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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Variety

A fly rests through the night, unless disturbed.

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Interesting colours and design. Lost an antennae in the maelstrom …

Little jewel shining in the sun. A horseshoe beetle I think.

From the other end. Active little things, living to be done.

Where there’s water, and greenery … a snail will come.

Longhorn beetle … they come in a variety of forms.

Spider of course. Waiting as they do … for the inevitable.

Fly in the garden at night. They like flowers too.

Lynx spider, prowling the butterfly bush.

Drone fly, not many this year. Few presenting for the lens.

The huntsman of the lower skies. Consummate killer …

Click Beetle, carrying a load …

There seems no end to it … variety, activity.

And it all appears in the encompassing space.

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Which am I, what I see, or the space I see it in …

Or something else, nothing maybe … nothing to see.

Through the sense of it, sensation.

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

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Assassin Baby 2

Some flash colouring on this little killer. Stabber at the ready.

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Looks built able to take on bigger than itself. Way to survive.

Our military get their best armour designs from nature, our nature.

Sat in one place for over 24 hours, serious discipline – if it was self-conscious.

Another kind of assassin showed up in the garden. Faster than the usual lumbering kind. Built for action it seems.

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

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Wanderer

At first I found her in the SW corner of the garden, then the middle, and then she was to be found in the NE corner. She’s been making her way around.

Seeking, or rather feeling, her way around in the performance of her function. Filling a niche in the natural landscape, doing what spider does.

The last morning I saw her she was plainly visible, bright yellow on strong pink, and then a young butcherbird came and landed by my shoulder.

So I hid her in the flowers, and she went on apparently uncaring of the danger throughout the day. And disappeared that night.

There are a number of these crab spiders, of all sizes and shades yellow to white, some with distinctive black tattoos.

And there’s enough big blue flies to feed them all, coming from my neighbours dogs run.

Flies will be flies too … dogs will be dogs.

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

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Oddfellows + The Garden

Not much animation in the garden this week, that I saw anyway. So first today, a few creatures from recent times. Then the garden.

The flightless wasp, female, came in various forms. Probably falling from the trees nearby. This one remarkably vigorous and alert.

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Another kind of hopper. Never ceases to amaze, the variety of form and colour living creatures take. Always alert to movement this one, but not unapproachable.

These beetles have a season or two in the garden, depends on the flowering. They like the native ‘crocus’ and various flowering herbs. Here a straw-flower, with a resident spider.

Springtails. They always come out after the rains, especially on the water’s surface in the saucers for pot plants. You can see them jumping around, having a ball of life. Dancing and partying, why not … :-)

A sluggish fellow – ho, ho, ho – not fast around the garden, it doesn’t have wings on its back there. Maybe it doesn’t taste too good, for it to live and grow so big. A hazardous life in any case.

A garden orb weaver, keeping her line taut, the better to feel what’s going on where it can’t be seen. Weavers of death to many in the garden, and a face full of web is not pleasant.

Can’t remember their name, doing what all creatures do, engaging in the process of reproduction. Sex, in other words. The essence of nature … to live and die, and live again.

Every day for a week, same time, same place, just after sundown this spider took up her position to wait for the nights bounty. And it always came … until it was no more.

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With all the growth and decay the garden is promising … of possibility. Here’s a few quick shots from this morning.

Butterfly bush, the witchety grub likes the roots so, from experience, for healthy growth it’s best not to cut back too much at end of year. Everything has to be able to eat to live.

One corner of the growth in the garden, always putting seeds where they might take, and leaving plants to grow to see what eventuates. No rules but what works, for them, me and the bugs.

No names either, don’t recall … this yellow flower has been moving around the garden for years, with a lot of help as it needs to be rooted every once in a while. Dead-heading keeps it flowering.

What I call native crocus, the native stingless bees love them. I have these bulbs all around the garden, they are so sensitive to position and condition they will flower all year round with a little help.

One mightily heavy bug house, or bee hotel, by one pawpaw tree and other residents. I found the clay in the local bush and mixed and poured to polystyrene to dry, then drilled the holes. What happens here is up to nature, creatures come and go.

The blue banded bee loves this flower, on a red leaf succulent that requires much attention throughout to keep it watered and flowering. Worth the work to keep the BBB’s coming.

Another name that escapes me. I have them coming up in various positions in the garden. When the creatures come some will love this flower and it’s children. If they come …

An impression of a wilder part of the garden where you can see some of the already mentioned. Some say I have snakes here, and rats, but I say everything has its place, until it doesn’t any more.

That flower again, and some of its children. It’s all just for show today, and it’s all artful anyway. That’s nature … There are many lizards, some mice, birds, snails, crickets … and something to eat them all.

Parts already seen, from a different angle and framing. There is so much in here, and much that can’t be seen yet. That’s the front stairway up to the house at back, an old Queenslander – first farmhouse here.

The butterfly bush is still going strong in various colours, lost some due to aggressive pruning and grubs eating the roots, they didn’t recover. But I’m working on it, getting some colours back again. I work on the surface, others do the rest.

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

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