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Posts Tagged ‘honeybees’

I always – ALWAYS – want to do the obligatory holiday post to show I have not forgotten what day it is. I no longer live in rural America and Memorial Day parades are a little hard to come by where I live. I have no relations buried nearby, and certainly no veterans buried nearby. Memorial Day is different than Veteran’s (Armistice) Day. I put out the flag and get to the business of barbecuing.

Do not misunderstand me: there are veterans in my life. This just isn’t the day to remember them (for me), and the one who is living prefers that we keep it low-key, anyway. Therefore, the two patriotic things I did today were: put out the flag and watch a fly-by. Six fixed-wing WW2 vintage aircraft flew overhead in perfect formation. It was a little different that the usual noisy F-18 fly-by, but a whole lot prettier, in my mind.

I spent the day rearranging art in the garden and pursuing photos of the insect pollinators in my yard. I even put my Xerces membership sign up in the front yard:

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I also put up my very first No Solicitors sign:

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I’m hoping that will work to keep me supplied in cheap gift wrap, magazine subscriptions, Boy Scout popcorn, and Girl Scout cookies. I want my Thin Mints.

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Wire sculpture is so difficult to photograph! I moved the salmon sculptures to the handicap ramp. I am happier with this positioning of the above sculpture than I have been with any of the previous locations.

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WHY did I never think of this before? Oh, I remember: I tried using the sculptures as a sort of support for the gladiolas. The art faded into the back ground. But here – on the ramp – the art is the feature. The photo doesn’t begin to do it justice: I have a current and river flow going (I know, my youngest came over for barbecue and that was the first thing she said about the new location: “It looks like a river.”

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Two salmon, making their way upriver to spawn.

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I like my fish.

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The bees were not cooperating. I stalked them in the foxglove, the honeysuckle, the poached-egg flowers, the lavender, and the columbine.

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I tried stalking them in the front yard, but I only managed to come eye-to-eye with this band-tailed pigeon that wanted to feed in the bird feeder. I was surprised it didn’t fly off as I delicately tip-toed past and then turned with the camera to snap it’s photo. It flew off.

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One photos of a bumblebee. There were plenty on the lavender, but this was the only one I could get to stay still long enough. I wish I had a bumble bee identifier. It’s a little one, with a rusty abdomen. Very common.

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You must click on the photo to see it. I was concentrating on the one tiny black bee that was on the yellow sedum. When I uploaded the photo, I discovered a second bee had joined the first – and a third (over in the left corner of the photo) was zeroing in on the sedums as well. Accidental score.

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ONE honeybee. I know we will have plenty more where the oregano blooms – the honeybees love the oregano – but it is disappointing that I do not have a lot of them in my yard just yet.

Then. again, we saw our first tree swallow today. It is nearly June, and the tree swallows have not yet returned. Something seems wrong.

My husband barbecued steak and brats, and we all lounged in chairs around the table, alternately sweating in the direct sun and freezing when a cloud passed over. It is Portland, and it wasn’t raining – a first for Memorial Day, I think.

Suddenly, in my peripheral vision, I saw a bee do several slow somersaults. It landed on the edge of the barbecue. My youngest said, “Hey! Did you see that?”

The men had not: one had his back turned and the other just missed it. But both Chrystal and I saw it. It was a slow-motion somersault out of the air. The bee landed on the barbecue and seemed dazed, slow, and subdued. It stayed there several minutes, cleaning itself from top to bottom.

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It was a little clumsy and very groggy-acting.

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I could have petted it, it was so mellow.

It stayed there for about fifteen minutes, disoriented and mellow. We wondered aloud if neonicotinoids were to blame. I know I have neighbors who spray without conscience. The local big box hardware stores continue to sell those particular products as well as the small hardware stores. People purchase them, thinking they are just going to prevent wasps or ants or worms in their apples – but they are killing the bees.

Eventually, the bee seemed to recover, and it flew off on it’s own. I hope it was OK.

 

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Honeybees & Asters

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The honey bees love my asters.  I got three very nice photos of honey bees on the asters and tried to combine them into one photo with varying degrees of success. I figure I’d post the three photos plus the best of the combined photos. This is Number 1 of the combined.

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Honey bee in flight.

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The photoshop program liked this honey bee the best.

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Another photoshop.

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Another honey bee.

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And the last of the photoshopped pictures.

Obviously, I am not a professional, but hey – sometimes it is just fun.

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Then there is plain old cut-and-paste in Paint. The only problem with this is that I lost all resolution.

Oh well. The asters are pretty.

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I never tire of the honey bees. And they never tire of the Russian sage.

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I wish I could capture the dozens hovering around the sage. Or the oregano, the lavender, the daisies – whatever prolific flower is in season. I wonder where they go when they leave my yard and what the honey they make might taste like?

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They crowd the sunflowers.

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This one is playing chameleon. I love his shadow on the petals of the sunflower.

The bees buzzed me several times while I was trying to get close enough to snap a good photo: stern little warnings that I was invading their space. But if I pressed the issue, it was the bees who moved away. They really aren’t up for a confrontation that might cost them their lives. They only get to sting once, then the stinger is lost and their life is forfeit. Unlike wasps, bees aren’t looking for a fight.

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The black bumblebees love our garden, too. When the rhododendrons are in bloom, we have two or three species of bumblebee hovering around, but as summer winds down and the pickings get slim, the social little black ones are all that remain. They love fireweed and this relative of borage. Like the honeybees, they will buzz at me in warning. Or maybe it isn’t a warning as much as they are just curious or I am disturbing them?

I took several photos of this one and was amazed to get such a great shot of its wings in motion as it flitted from flower to flower.

While I was bee hunting, I accidentally came across this guy resting on the veggie garden fence.

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I think it could be a spider wasp.  Family: Pompilidae. But it could be Family: Ichneumonidae (check out the ovipositor on the end of the abdomen).  Makes me wish I had captured it and could really look at it. But I turned my head and it flew off to points unknown.

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