It was warmer yesterday, just a bit. Over the cold spell I have become more and more fascinated with the little paper wasps. I go and check regularly on their progress and, hoping that the same works for wasps as for bees, I tell them what’s going on and ask how they are.
I have to tell you that they are not easy to see because their nest is tucked right underneath the handrail of the concrete balcony, you have to bend double and look up, then you are more or less face to mandible.
Yesterday I spent some time with them. The conversation went something like this:
“Hi. How are you doing today? It was very cold last night wasn't it?'’
“Yes it was .. we were outside and you were inside…maybe you hadn’t noticed, we are, fine thanks for asking”.
“I see you are still huddled up together on the top of the nest”
“Yes that’s because it’s cold, stupid”
“It’s going to be warmer today”
“Really. Well that’s good news because maybe you will stop blowing on us to see if we are alive… really, we are fine”
“Well I am glad to see your are doing OK .. I’m just going to take a couple of photos.”
“ Ok we are not going anywhere much just yet, and it amuses us to see you struggling with those enlarging rings. Have your knees given way yet?
“I am just trying to get one good photo to put on my blog”
“It’s something I do online. People all over the world will be able to see you. If I make you look attractive it will do wonders for your image.”
“We could certainly use some help there”
“Ok, hold it now.. bear with me. If you could just take your head out of that cell it would help. ..niiiiice ..”
……some time passes during which I look at my pathetic blurry pictures, and then try again.
“Hi, me again, I see you haven't moved very much in the last hour”
“Well there is not a lot of incentive for travelling when it’s cold enough to freeze the wings right off your body and we only have a small nest here to walk around.. So what exactly do you want now. We have been very patient with you. We CAN sting you know.”
“Yes I know, but I have read that you are quite laid back, as paper wasps go.”
“We are, that’s true but every wasp has its limits.. when I shake my wings take it as a sign to go …look I am lifting them now, so hurry up and get that camera out of my face.. and give us another laugh will you? Have another go at pronouncing our name..”
“ Mischocyttarus mexicanus cubicola…..”
Wasp rolls around laughing….
There were maybe 3 reasonable photos and those, along with some bad ones gave me enough to identify these strange creatures and make some sketches. Hopefully more tomorrow.