Recently we have been having some fabulous late summer weather, sunny and calm and last week I went out with the camera to see who was still about. Close to us is an ancient wood whose records date back to the Doomsday Book, but on that hot, hot day I could almost have been back in Leu Gardens in Orlando walking amongst the mighty Live Oak trees. These English Oaks are just as impressive.
There are not many flowers left for bees except along the edges of the rides where there are surprising and beautiful patches of pale blue Devils Bit Scabious Succisa pratensis. They are pretty and delicate, their nodding heads on long slender stalks bent almost double under the weight of some enormous queen Buff tailed Bumble Bees, B terrestris. There were also honey bees, a white tailed bee, carder bees, some tiny solitary bees and all sorts of hoverflies flies and a few late butterflies. A week before I had seen a lovely B pratorum queen and a late B hypnorum, all of them feeding on the scabious. This has to be a definite for the garden.
Along the shore line at the reservoir in the scrubby wasteground areas there are big patches of the wonderfully named Bristly Ox Tongue Picris echioides which are keeping the waterside bees going. I saw more buff tailed B terrestris queens, the seemingly tireless carder bees B pascuorum, 2 big redtailed B lapidarius queens and some honey bees and one red admiral butterfly too. It’s a curious and ubiquitous plant, its bumpy leaves are rather strange and form flat rosettes on the ground. This is possibly not one I would encourage in the garden.
…and last night, with Buzz at the London Honey show, was really fun. Thanks Nikki and Jo and all at the Lancaster Hotel. Wonderful honey and very welcoming honey bee people .. even for my interloping wild bees. :)