Nectaring

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I did my favourite kind of gardening this morning: standing around with a mug of tea in one hand and a camera in the other, issuing instructions while R did all the actual work. Once he’d removed all the bramble from the fruit bed though, I did think that I should perhaps be more actively involved, so I hung the camera on the washing spinner and let it play on its own for a bit, while I tied in all the new tayberry canes. We had a poor harvest last year, but the canes are looking very healthy now, and budding well – the thought of freshly-picked tayberries and cream is already making my mouth water, and prior to that I’ll have the pleasure of photographing all the pollinators that browse the blossom.

I’ve put a couple of photos of the tayberry buds and some crab apple blossom buds over on my Facebook page, if you’re interested, but the thing that made me happiest today was realising that the early male plumpies are now making regular pit stops at the pulmonaria patch, to keep up their energy as they zoom about looking for emerging females. I wanted an image that shows the face furniture more fully than this – these bees have very long tongues, and often fly with them extended so that they can dip into flowers without landing – but I’ll need better light than I had this afternoon to get flight shots, and in the circumstances I’m fairly happy with this.

I happened across a charming little film on YouTube just now, illustrating the sex lives of hairy-footed flower bees. I’ve watched it several times already, and the way the male waves his hairy middle legs during copulation makes me laugh every time. Small things, as they say, please small minds.