I have not, I swear to you, Photoshopped this bee into this image – it is genuinely a female Anthophora plumipes, coming in to land on the lovely blossom of our cherry tree. It’s not technically my best shot of the day, but I can’t resist posting it for two reasons: firstly because it shows so clearly why a fellow-poster in the BWARS group on Facebook always refers to these rotund little bees as plumpies; and secondly because the fact that they fly with their toes turned out makes me laugh every time I see it.
In case this entomological comedy gold doesn’t float your boat, I’ve given you a sensible extra: the first female Orange Tip butterfly I’ve seen this year, feeding on candytuft in my next-door neighbour’s garden. M had seen me stalking bees in my own front garden, and diffidently suggested that I might like to take a look at the grass bank which runs up to this border, and which is being extensively burrowed by mining bees. I was crouching down, very happily photographing some Andrena cineraria, and a stalking Bee-fly with its bottom covered with the dirt it uses to coat its eggs before flicking them into an Andrena nest (yes, really), when the Orange Tip flew right past my head. I didn’t initially take much notice because the males I’ve seen in the past few days are very skittish, and I didn’t expect her to settle – but as soon as I realised she was feeding I literally jumped across the Andrena nests, to get to the border before she could take off again.
What fun I have at this time of year!
I very much hope the fun will continue, despite the fact that a few minutes ago I swivelled round in my desk chair, and my foot caught the strap of the 7D and pulled the camera straight off the desk, macro lens and all. I think the saving grace might be that it bounced off my foot before hitting the floor, breaking its fall a little; it appears to be working, but I’m going out for the day tomorrow so I won’t be able to test it properly until Thursday. Until then I know I’m going to be quite anxious.