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Spring is here and so are the Hairy Footed Flower Bees!

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Thursday 31 March 2011

Spring is here and so are the Hairy Footed Flower Bees!

At last there has been sun and warmth. It has felt a long time coming, but over these last few weeks I have been able to snatch a minute or two to appreciate the beauty of spring, the light green mist of new shoots on the bare branches and the sumptuous snowy flower laden branches of the blackthorn. I have been able to bring armfuls of white sheets in from the line, smelling of sun and light ( a rare thing to do in the USA) and at last, I have seen more bees.

Male hairy footed flower bees everywhere! Just everywhere. What a huge pleasure it is for me to be able to see them whizzing about. They have a very distinctive high pitched sound and adopt a very characteristic pose when resting on a leaf or stone, their gorgeously fringed legs outspread to the side.


Anthophora plumipes male on the elaeagnus.

I stood for an hour watching them. The only chance I had to photograph them was when they paused to rest on the elaeagnus. They seemed to love the big flat sunny leaves but only stopped for a very short time before rushing off again chasing each other round and round the bush. They are not easy to catch with my slow camera and slower operator! What I did notice was how they would check me out, hovering just inches above my head, looking directly at me. before whizzing off again. You can see their yellow faces. Really quite delightful!

And today in the village on some pink pulmonaria, I saw the females, smart little black bombs with ginger legs. Chris took a couple of long shots and managed to catch this little bee with her extraordinarily long tongue unfurled. Interestingly she seems to be holding her tongue with her front legs.. as if steadying her aim and approach.

HFFB tongue

And landed, head in a flower


Spring is truly here. The evenings are light and blackbirds fill the dawn with song.

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Blogger Threadspider said...

They are so lovely aren't they,Val? Great to see them arriving with the Spring. I enjoyed your description of them hovering above your head-they do seem to check people out. I can't seem to get a picture at all so it was good to see these, especially where their hairy feet feet are visible.

31 March 2011 at 20:23  
Blogger Diana Studer said...

That is an amazing capture - tongue in hand ;~)

31 March 2011 at 22:21  
Blogger Ellen Rathbone said...

Nice capture!

1 April 2011 at 01:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice pics, Val! I haven't seen them yet this year. Could you forward the record details to me please?

1 April 2011 at 08:32  
Blogger Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Spring here too - though I don't think I've ever seen a comfrey flower (anywhere!).

I've included Pencil and Leaf in a list of related blogs on Loose and Leafy

(click a tab under the header to see the list)and am wondering if you would like to have an emblem / logo / identifying picture / reduced size replication of your header put beside it.


3 April 2011 at 13:02  
Blogger Africa Gomez said...

Aren't they lovely. I think your flowers are Pulmonaria (Lungwort), the spotted leaf variety, which are in peak season now. Comfrey is still in the bud (at least here in Hull). Yesterday, there were three males sunbathing early on on a wall and another one on the wing. There are not many females around yet. I know what you mean with the "looking at you in the eye", my little daughter, who is not yet three, was really spooked when a female did this to her. She is terrified of bees, ants and flies and I will have to rectify this soon, such is the shock for her to come out in the garden and come across lots of bugs which were not there before.

4 April 2011 at 00:32  
Blogger sharp green pencil said...

Thanks all for your comments!
Lucy and Blackbird.. a special thanks for putting me right about the comfrey!Of course its pumonaria I have gown enough of it to know! I am a dunce! ....but stress level s a bit high at the moment! :) Have change post accordingly!

4 April 2011 at 14:58  
Blogger Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Thanks Val. Yes, send a bee and I'll put it by your link.

You are crediting me with more knowledge than I have re. comfrey . . . (wish I could say otherwise!)


4 April 2011 at 19:55  

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