Day 9 – Bee ID, Lilypads & Bonus Bat

On my lunchtime walk today I stopped to watch a bumblebee searching for his lunch on a plant. 


It made me really happy to see it. Then, to my delight, a honey bee came and joined him on the same plant. It must have been tasty.


Look closely at the bees legs; you can see the pollen it has collected. 
Honey bees look a bit like wasps, except they have a furry body and their yellow colour is more of a golden/orange colour. Wasps have smoother bodies and are bright yellow, almost like a warning.

I also stopped to admire the beautiful flowers that have appeared on the lilypads in the pond.

In the evening I went to my parents’ house. At dusk I managed to grab a glimpse of a bat flying around their garden. But that is all it was – a glimpse and then it was gone!

I saved a bee!

This weekend was Brownie pack holiday. Today, the Brownies were having their 11 o’clock fruit snack, when another leader (Pluto, because it is Disney-themed!) saw a bumble bee sitting on the ground outside our hut. The bee wasn’t moving much, so I made up some sugar water and brought it on a spoon. The bee didn’t seem interested, so I poured it on the floor in front of the bee, thinking it would just walk away from it, but to my delight, it started drinking it! You can even see the nozzle drinking up the water.


The Brownies were all asking what I was doing, so I told them. A few of them wrote it into their pack holiday diaries. 

After a few minutes, the bee was walking around with more energy, so the main leader (Mickey Mouse) coaxed the bee onto some paper and put it in the flowers – and it had a new lease of life! Awesome!

30 Days Wild – Day 25 – Minibeast Hunting

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_25

A visit to my parents’ house meant I could watch the birds feasting in the garden as there are a few different bird feeders there. There are so many varieties of bird that visit, it’s great to see. However, today wasn’t about birds. Today was about insects. I went in search of insects in amongst the greenery. I came across:

  • A bee looking for nectar in the Foxgloves
  • A spider in an impressive web
  • A snail sleeping under a leaf
  • A ladybird larvae
  • A small bug – not sure what it is
  • An ant going for a walk

30 Days Wild – Day 8 – Garden Birds & Wildlife

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_08

Today I visited my parents’ house, so it was a great opportunity to take some photos of the wildlife that visits their garden. The baby blue tits that I recorded cheeping previously have fledged now, but unfortunately I didn’t see any. However, I did see a whole host of other visitors. It’s amazing the number of different types of bird that visit their garden, especially considering it is an urban area. It just goes to show that if you provide food for the wildlife, they will come!

Here’s a list of what I saw, and this was just in 20 minute period:

  • Snail
  • Bee
  • Robin
  • Squirrels x2
  • Wood Pigeon x3
  • Blackbird pair
  • Bullfinch pair
  • Blue Tits x3
  • Great Tits x2
  • Collared Dove x2
  • Gold Finch x3
  • Green Finch x2
  • Nuthatch
  • Coal Tit

And here’s some photos of some of these critters:

DSC07036 Bee copyblackbirds2016-06-08Snail copyDSC07052-birds-webDSC07075nuthatchDSC07079bullfinchesgardenbirdsDSC07072squirrel

30 Days Wild – Day 27 – Making a Bee Waterer (or two)

I had seen someone else make a bee waterer for their 30 Days Wild blog, and this inspired me to make my own. Being a bee is thirsty work – they don’t say “you’ve been a busy bee” for nothing. I also saw a video on Facebook educating people that if you see a bee on the floor (or anywhere) that looks very slow and worn out, to leave a spoon-full of sugary water in front of it. The video showed a tired bee clearly drinking up the sugary water to regain its energy. Most people would probably just walk past the bee thinking it is about to die, but you can help save a bees life!

To make my bee waterers, I used two old dishes I found in the garden and filled them with small stones. I rinsed the dishes and the stones first, then filled the dishes with water about two-thirds full. The reason for the stones is to give the bees something to land on, and only filling it two-thirds with water so the bees can safely walk across the stones without drowning.  
Here they are:


I placed the dishes near to flowers that I know bees like:

   
  

I also came across some cuckoo spit in the garden:

  

And some wild strawberries!:

  

30 Days Wild – Day 4 – Bees

I have been wanting to do this for days now, but today I finally did it – I watched the bees in the garden drinking nectar from the flowers. 
There is a section of the flower bed that the bees absolutely love, made up of Allium (the big purple ‘ball’ of flowers) and Aquilegia (the other purple flowers). This isn’t the best photo, but here is one of the bees having its dinner:

  
And another:

 
There were only a handful of bees (less than 10), but of course, none of the specific flowers were revisited by any of the bees. Bees can sense the electrical fields of the flowers to tell whether the flower has recently been visited by another bee, and therefore avoids these flowers. If it has been recently visited, I guess the nectar will already have been consumed.
I have just read an article by the National Geographic which explains how bees end up being positively charged, while flowers are negatively charged. Now if you remember basic science from school you will know that opposite charges attract. This means that sometimes the pollen will ‘jump’ towards the bee and ‘stick’ to the bee. That is incredible! All of this is happening right in front of us and we would never know. Amazing.