When I nipped out to pick the beans for tea I found this magnificent creature resting on the strawberry cage. Google tells me it’s a Hornet Mimic Hoverfly (Volucella zonaria).
Kittens from next door survey my garden with curiosity and caution. Pol tolerates them up to a point, but every so often there’s an outbreak of hissing, arched backs and bottlebrush tails before the kitties beat a retreat. I hope they manage to sort out the neighbourhood feline hierarchy without inflicting any wounds that require expensive trips to the vet.
I went out to try to photograph the gorgeous gingery stamens on some newly-flowering poppies on Saturday and was entranced by the tiny bees foraging on them. I thought they were hoverflies at first, but their behaviour was far more bee-like.
Tying to measure a very small moving creature isn’t easy, but they are about 7-8mm long. The poppy seed head was about 9mm across the top. To compare the scale have a look at my picture of a fairly small bumble bee completely obscuring the seed head of one of the black-stamened poppies.
If anyone can identify the little creatures for me (and confirm my assumption that they are indeed bees), I’d be pleased to learn more about them.
Spotting this gorgeous eyed hawk moth hidden among the runner beans leaves in my garden this afternoon made my day. It was a bit tricky shooting with one hand while holding the leaf upside down with the other, but I had to give it a try. The image records the moment rather than the beauty of the creature. To imprint it in my memory I keep popping out to have another long look at it.
Each morning the newly opened poppy flowers buzz with an ecstasy of happy bees and, weather permitting, I attempt to photograph them. Although the bees seem to be entirely focused on their frenzied gathering, some kind of bee radar tells them if I move the camera a millimeter too close and they whir away.
This is my best shot so far, but it feels a bit flat and doesn’t really convey the busy “must get the harvest in as quickly as possible” feeling I sense as I watch the foragers at work. Still, while the poppies keep flowering and the bees keep visiting, I expect I’ll keep trying to get a better image.
It’s lucky for this female stag beetle that I’m an untidy gardener. It’s a mystery how she got in there, but the rustling of the old dry leaves as she tried to escape from a long unused terracotta pot caught my attention last night. I was thrilled to see her as I’ve only seen one (male) stag beetle before.
After taking some pictures I liberated the beetle onto the lawn near some shrubs. I tucked some old bits of untreated wood under the bushes for her future offspring to feed on. Well, you can but hope.