Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The bees begin

kw: observations, photographs

The apple blossoms opened Saturday (April 10) and I began watching to see what bees would come. In mid-afternoon, in about a half hour of watching, I saw one bumblebee and quite a number of two sizes of small dark native bees. I had to look from place to place to see them at all. Looking at one set of flowers, I never saw any. I had to quickly look around, then follow a bee once I spotted it.

Bumblebees are very slow and deliberate, going from flower to flower in a cluster before flying to the next. The small bees, by contrast, are very quick, and spend less than a second on any flower. They don't go to the next flower, but each visit is to one at least a handspan or two away. To get a photo of one of them, I'll have to be lucky.

Sunday was too windy for the bees, while Monday I got home late and they were gone already. Today was rainy. The crab apple has also begun to bloom, so if tomorrow is more congenial, I'll have two places to watch.

We have a stand of Sundrops that will flower in another month or so. I've observed that bees of all sizes spend more time on them, probably because each bloom has much more pollen than an apple flower. I'll probably be more able to photograph bees on them. Also, once my sunflowers come up, they tend to cater to bees that wander about on the flower head.

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