"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Staring at Weeds

I took some time this week to go and and watch the few bees that are still flying. It’s completely fascinating, I have never before really observed bees with anything but a passing curiosity. I circle the lake on the bike and screech to a halt at any patch of flowers that might yield up a few bees. The joggers and dog walkers give me a wide berth and look away, not wanting to make eye contact with a mad woman who is standing transfixed, staring at weeds. I have my obvious camera with me which helps but you have to be patient, stand still, watch and wait.
But I have been rewarded with sightings of a million more green and stripy Agapostemons and another beautiful blue/green metallic bee which I think is an Augochlora from the same Halictid family. I have seen tiny Mining bees with yellow pollen laden legs on matching Indian Blanket flowers and the huge Carpenter bees who ponderously drift from flower to flower, making them easier to photograph than many.


At Leu Gardens, it is more acceptable to stop and stare. I have seen a honey bee taking time out to clean itself from an overload of sticky pollen. I have watched bees of different species disputing the nectar of the big hisbiscus flowers. Here two fighting Agapostemon bees tumble out in a tangle of legs the metallic Augochlora in the background.

I spent a good hour in front of the Michaelmas daisies, watching bees and flies and beautiful thread waisted wasps.

miner bee sm

I sat in the butterfly garden mesmerised as I saw this lizard leap from its lookout post onto a nearby flower and devour one of my little stripy friends..but that's life..

You can just see the body of the bee in the lizard's mouth.

….and I did get some initial sketches done of my elegant little model from earlier in the week .. I hope he has not suffered the same fate.

Halictid bee: Agapostemon splendens

sketch sm

Waking up after chilling in the cooler..

col sketch small


patientgardener said...

By the time you have finished your drawings you will be an expert on bees. I have only realised in recent years that there is such a diversity.

sharp green pencil said...

Yes me too PG. I am amazed at the variety. I really did think there were really only honey bees and bumble bees and a few others.. this is all a revelation to me.I spend far too long reseraching and not getting on with the paintings..