A word first about those two pictures below - took those about mid-day when as I was going round to visit some folk, a trio of bumblebees dropped out of one of the sycamores on the drive way and had this rumble ruckus slash mating thing right in front of me!
No damn decorum, these Apids!
One of the challengers decided to knock it on the head after a couple on unsuccessful attempts to get in on the action, and left the other two in what I would call a dogknotted mated state, and barely alive. If that is indeed the Queen bumblebee with a male, she's about three times his size I'd say. I think they call this species Buff Tailed? No idea!
Anyway, they were still lying there buzzing faintly when I returned two hours later, but had gone when I went for my run a short while later. Maybe a bird took them, maybe they disentangled themselves and flew off. I'm sure I read somewhere that "the act of love" always killed a male bee, but i'm not the insectoid Doctor Ruth, so I don't know.
As an aside, as I limbered up for my run, noticed the huge number of hoverflies that were about - some quite beigey and dull, some a vivid orange colour. And then out on the run, the whole length of Clay Lane to the Beacon Hill reserve, the butterflies were out in force.
My garden has small white visitors. Clay Lane has Speckled Woods, Large Whites, and Commas, looking almost a vivid carmine red in the sunlight. The nursery at Beacon Hill had Large Whites, Ringlets and Meadow Browns, butterfly park Peacocks and Red Admirals on the Buddleiahs, and even on a non descript path onto the industrial estate I saw Gatekeepers and a big Brimstone.
Birds, well the House Martins are out in numbers, and saw a lovely yellow hammer over my head on Clay Lane. The fields of wheat are ripe and gold. I just had an orange fairey cake. Life on whole is not so bad!