Monday, 13 April 2015

Today's Buzzy Buzzers

Had really good views of two bee species today, at various times and with a 9 mile run in between!

I could see the first through the library windows, visiting what I suppose was late flowering white squill around a beech tree in the grounds. When I got out there - after a couple of hours enjoying reading all of your blogs! - I thought there were two distinct species, a common carder swiftly visiting the flowers, and an all black species flying about rapidly at spiky angles.

I managed to get photos of the "common carder", but the black bee never settled for a minute.

But when I posted them on twitter to the excellent @bumblebeewatching I was given a link, and told to look at the face. This is not a carder bumblebee at all, it is a hairy footed flower bee! The white face is a giveaway. The black bee on view was actually a female of this species. I've seen the females before, but mistaken them for field cuckoo bumblebees.

So I didn't spot them first on the Hawton lungwort!

The other bee, most definitely a bumble this one, was having a leisurely feed off grape hyacinth in Friary Road park.

Now this bee looks like a common white tailed bumble perhaps. But I'm not sure. The absence of pollen sacs, and the orange yellow darts on the white tail, makes me wonder if this is a vestal cuckoo bumblebee, a large species I saw in my garden last year.

But as ever, I'm happy to be corrected. I have to be!



  1. I thought I would get my head round I.D Bees last year, but they have turned out to be.. as all the other wonderful things in nature...not as simple as you think !
    Amanda xx

  2. I was going to suggest buff tailed, but could be wrong- I feel the same about bee ids as Amanda :o)

  3. Love the hairy-footed flower bee :) Would agree with Amanda and CT about bee id - nowhere near as easy as you think! Am surrounded by id posters, books and charts but still struggle at times!

  4. These pictures very pooor quality I'm afraid, my cameraphone is just not up to it. But I keep trying, and as ever, thanks for the comments