Sunday 17 May 2015

Enter the Tree Bumblebees

I was walking today, the toll of cricket injuries now reading at a double groin strain, double thigh strain, slight back strain and a colosally bruised ankle. And we got hammered again, for my pains. 

So, a few days of recuperation required before doing it all again next weekend.

Walking may feel a bit slow to a runner such as myself, but you do actually get to see a little more, and it hurts a lot less. This morning - just - I headed off to Sconce Park, via the house martin nests near my home to see if anyone was at home. Only a solitary white rumped little bird was flying about, but I've seen more at other times.

As I walked through the hospital grounds, I noticed that there were ceonothus bushes in flower. Now, my folks have one of these, and it is late every year without fail, but these ones by the hospital were covered in their very sickly sweet smelling, cloudlike clusters of blue flowers. On closer inspection, what I was hoping to find where indeed there.

Tree bumblebees.

Tree bumblebees to me seem to arrive a little later than our native species, perhaps being a recent arrival from the continent they need warmer temperatures and longer days to be active. They have a very russet coloured back, much stronger than the common carder bees which can look similar at a brief glance. I always associate them with ceonothus, the family one will be literally buzzing with them when it flowers.

These weren't the only interesting bees I saw today however. Down in Devon Pasture, I was inspecting the new ponds they are digging but have yet to fill. I noticed movement in the not quite mud at the bottom, to find that there were colonies of mining bees flying in and out of little burrows. Some were the suddenly familiar golden-red coloured tawny mining bees, but others were much yellower and nearer to honey bees in hue. They were a swine to photograph, and my efforts cost me a nice collection of nettle stings on my backside. But I got a couple of useful shots, as you will see.

As yet, the swallows are not making their low level strafing runs across the park. I excitedly await this wonderful sight.


Pretty little weed on a wall

House martin nests

Heavily laden tree bumblebee

Ceonothus clearly pollen rich

Still busy

White tailed worker

Park side entrance


Not sure what this is, it is new out, and I'm not sure I've ever noticed it in the park before


The old wood

Native bluebells

Mining bee

Mining bee burrowing


Marsh marigold?

These signs had me curious

Apparently it was "Doggie Fun Day" in the park


  1. I love ceonothus, have tried to grow it many times and failed miserably.
    I love the blue flowers.
    Tree bumblebees are on the increase apparently......had them in the garden last year but have not seen their return.
    I love the path through the old wood.....very inviting.

  2. As I sad, I think the tree bumbles are a bit slower to wake up than some of the other species..I'm hopeful they will nest in my wall again, I saw one having a nose around the old nest the other day.

  3. Tree Bees were out almost before anything else here (Hants) this Spring. Interesting that they are later with you.

  4. The earliest here were the white tails and buffies, followed by red tails and carders I'd say.

  5. Have seen a few Tree Bumble Bees round here (last year they nested under a loose tile in our roof ) but all the bees and other insects seem to have disappeared its been that cold recently.

  6. Lovely photos, specially all the bees and the handsome hoverfly

  7. I can see butterflies drifting past the canteen windows, it's warmer again, let's see what we might see in the next few days. Looking forward to it, will keep my eyes open during cricket on satuday too!