Nature's Place

Be – Jewelled

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Where the native bees have been more or less wiped out by local councils ‘native regeneration’ efforts a few plants have been flowering and attracting other native creatures.

They are shy bugs, don’t like being overshadowed by the flash diffuser, but still some are just too occupied to notice or care – with a few lucky shots taken of them on the run.

Wonderful colours, clearly no less precious to the earth that makes them than the earth’s rare stones and metals are to humans.

Every thing is precious in its place, seen for what it in fact is and not necessarily for what it may be to the sleepless calculator.

Takes a certain separation from mind to see the colour, the form, and not the stuff mind would attach to it.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look
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Bait ‘n Capture

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It’s one way I sometimes effect a photo capture of an otherwise elusive creature. A tiny drop of honey placed in a flower and wait for something to take the bait. Once it is feeding it is usually oblivious to other benign circumstances in its orbit.

There is clearly no expectation of danger apparent in its demeanour, unlike some bees that act so cagey when approaching a flower – there perhaps being a knowledge of waiting spiders in its instinct.

You will never see an instinctive creature walk knowingly into a trap, willing to die by its own actions, except maybe a mother or other guardian – though I doubt there is foresight of consequences.

To live and die without psychological fear is no small thing.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look
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Daylight Robbery

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The bee hotels I have under the veranda, where they are protected from the heat of the sun and the torrential summer rain, are often under attack by other creatures looking for advantage.

Here is one parasitic wasp laying into the nest of a Orange Tail Resin Bee, you can just see the ovipositor behind the middle legs in two pictures. Through it she deposits an egg which feeds on the bee larva and probably the store left for its initial growth.

It’s the way of nature that one thing depends on another for its sustenance. When one piece of the picture is missing there is a deficiency but things invariably balance out in the big picture – just as well for us most destructive humans.

And then there was light … as one more wasp is created, by design.

A wonderfully mysterious nature.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look
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Wild Being

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Bee on my stick …

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Click on pix to see bigger version in new tab.

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Climbing to the sun …

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Have only seen those ‘cutters’ behind the mandibles on a Carpenter Bee

  I hadn’t been to Venman for a while and didn’t take my camera on the walk, thinking to just enjoy the cooler wet woods without consideration for a picture, of anything – it had been raining much and I had no mind for hunting.

Along the way the path was flooded and I noticed a commotion on the water’s surface and could see plainly a large insect was in trouble, on its back, wide wings keeping it from sinking, so I offered my stick and it gripped it without hesitation.

It wasn’t the first time I had done such a thing and knew it was only a matter of time before she was recovered and away on the wing, it being a bee’s nature to busy itself. It climbed a few inches and stopped, resting, recovering from its watery struggle.

Walking on I gave it time to wake up and it didn’t move again so I kept it in my shadow, protected from the wind, as I slowly made my way back to the van, where the camera was, and set her up on a dry surface in the sun and took a few shots.

She soon got moving again and after a while tried to fly away but without success, launching into the air but unable to sustain flight for more than a couple feet. I picked her up again and she made use of different surfaces, bark, stone and tree.

I didn’t see at the time but in the pix it is apparent she was damaged on the upper right eye and head, it was a windy day, which would account for her crashing to the water.

Falling back to earth a few times I kept her from the ants and eventually set her climbing a tall tree into the sunshine, was where I left her.

Eventually we’ve got to leave the wild to be …

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look
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The Company Of Bees

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Between the recent heat of the day and the rain and wind at night there are few opportunities for shooting Blue Banded Bees. It’s only when they are either feeding or sleeping that they are at all approachable.

During the day they rarely stop for more than a second or two at a flower and I don’t have the equipment for that. So I walk the garden at dusk listening for the tell-tale sound as they approach and select a place to sleep for the coming night.

Sometime during the night I will set up a shot or two and the primary concern is to not disturb them. If they wake they will fly into the dark and may be lost to the night hunters, of which there are many.

It’s why the bees sleep where they do, gripping a stem off the ground and at the end of a branch where there is no through traffic or passers by, to increase their chances of waking in the morning – they are not stupid.

And if a predator does happen upon one during the night it will automatically splay its legs in all directions to make itself bigger and would be a bit thorny to eat, with its hooked feet the first contact.

Once the morning comes they are up and about before any other bee I know, hardy little creatures, bullets of blue and red and black darting about, with purpose.

Even when it’s raining heavily they are up and about, a pleasure to watch, the way they control their flight in tight spots in their search for food – known to favour blue flowers.

Bees being bees … not to be confused with butterflies …

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look
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Old Moulds …

break … eventually.

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It can be difficult to break from the diktat of previous form. So I thought, again, to show some of the variety of the garden, for your viewing pleasure – and mine. Outside my usual ‘sets’, here is a small sample of the wondrous creatures that come and go in the usually unseen world at our feet.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look
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Treasure Ant

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And a little treasure they are, caretakers of the dead, diggers of the soil. Indispensable pieces in the great Earth machine.

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It’s that time of season the only creatures around are ants, or so it seems. The passion fruit vine, with its highways and byways and the wonderful smell of exotic flowers is home to many kinds of ants, all patrolling for a bite to eat, a little nourishment. The only way to get a shot is to stop one and food does the trick.

I’ve watched an ant eat until it looked like bursting, its abdomen swelling to accommodate the liquid gold. A little honey stops an ant in its tracks, some feed until it can take no more, and off back to the nest it goes – I suspect – to share the treasure. Sometimes with an initial stagger from the unaccustomed weight and balance.

We do it too, with all the momentary treasures of a single lifetime, absorb and distil the essence to eventually radiate as our light or wisdom – after many years climbing around on the vine of experience, you may have noticed.

Whether the treasure is real or illusory, when it’s gone we move on, ever in search of the next de-light. Until the endlessness of the search is seen to be the grand delusion.

Then now is all there is, no loss or need to search, no ignorance nor despair. No need to experience any more, no need, no need.

Still, inside, there is the nourishment of the simple good, no thing, no form, no problem.

And the reality of the moment grows in focussed attention.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look

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Beyond The Rain

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In the last week the daily temperature has gone from mid 30’s to mid 20’s (C) with the end to end cloud cover and rainfall over this part of the earth. Very comfortable, very wet. The plants love it too, after the scorching heat of the fiery summer sun.

Driving in the rain is not unlike the practise of being, having to look through the movement of form to see where I want to be, and stay on the road that works to get me there, instead of focussing on the splashing on the glass or thundering sound on the roof.

The trouble comes with distraction, to the focus of attention or intelligence, to the point where I become identified with what distracts and no longer see where I want to be.

If I am distracted enough by the rain it becomes all there is and I could end up drowning in it.

Recovery is always possible though, by focus on where I want to be – in clarity.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture to enlarge in a new tab

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Bee-haviour

Sealing the entrance - When all else is done.

Sealing the entrance – When all else is done.

A little pollen might help - Sure won't harm.

A little pollen might help – Sure won’t harm.

Feasting Bee - Unseen injury.

Feasting Bee – Unseen injury.

Wasp - Robbing the life of a bee - What they do.

Wasp – Robbing the life of a bee – What they do.

Young one - The new born often turn to see whence they come - Reflection?

Young one – The new born often turn to see whence they come – Reflection?

A case of mistaken identity? She seemed to think so.

A case of mistaken identity? She seemed to think so.

Alone at last.

Alone at last.

When all else is done, sleep and die at home on a leaf.

When all else is done, sleep and die at home on a leaf.

Let go, let go ... I saw it first.

Let go, let go … I saw it first.

Under the veranda at front of the house is where I keep some tools and do much of my preparations for the garden. It’s also where I hang the few bee hotels, wooden posts about 8″ diameter x a few feet long drilled to accommodate any creature so inclined to nest – not just bees. So I am around the comings and goings of the dominant native bee, the Orange Tail Resin Bee, as she makes her nests, is born again, mates and dies.

I have noticed in the last bee-busy week a few weakened bees on the floor – or in a tray I have placed to catch any fallen ones. These bees are unable to fly it seems, so I gather them up and give them every chance to get things together. I present them with water, pollen (in a picked flower), put them in sun or shade and let them climb as high as they can to launch from. I usually end up putting them in one of the plant pots they can explore on the way to being a bee. They may never fly but they don’t die hungry in the dust on hard concrete.

Some are small enough to be new born and others are big enough to be mature. I suspect the young ones may be damaged by something while in the nest, maybe the parasitising Ichneumon Wasp, or other such wasps that can be seen visiting these hotels. The bigger ones are probably females worn out by the constant work of breeding and nest making and all the preparations that go into it. It’s a lot she has to do when the male only has to ambush her – not known as charming man, but driven.

I saw this slow flying mass wandering above the garden the other day and thought it one of those big cumbersome beetles. When it landed and I got close I could see it was two bees mating, or he was trying to mate and ‘she’ scratching at him – didn’t look too successful to me. Eventually he gave up and the other, she I presume, took a good grip of a leaf and rested a while – which was a boon to me.

While back at the nests she was busy filling and sealing the entrance, then off she went again.

Until the next cycle … of birth and death, and everything in between.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

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