Marja-Leena Rathje
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bee sighting



I'm so excited. As I was coming home from the studio, I was admiring my bed of blue muscari (grape hyacinths) and yellow mini-daffodils glowing in the warm afternoon sun by the front steps. I went inside for my SLR camera and came out again. As I began to focus, lo, there was this busy bee. I managed two decent photos before it flew away. The slight breeze even paused at the right moments. Just look at the pollen on its body! How lucky can one get? I wonder what kind of bee it is, I don't think it's a mason....

PS: I'd like to wish all my readers a happy, sunny and warm spring or fall equinox tomorrow! I think we'll be out working in the garden, taking advantage of the glorious sunny weather before the next wave of rains moves in Sunday. And I'm late getting my seeds started so no time for blogging!

Marja-Leena | 19/03/2010 | 12 comments
themes: Nature, Photoworks


Oi! Marja-Leena! I'll just have to use that expression the young'ns use ... Awesome! I have a love in my heart for bees and bumblebees, and these two shots are wonderful. How ever did you manage to keep your hands from shaking with excitement?

These are great photos, and I love the way the bee is staring back at us, as if saying, "hey, don't bug me, am busy, can't you see?"

You're ahead of us with bees and Spring flowers other than snow drops. And so much further North. Lucky bee, lucky you!

R, thanks! Between the wind shaking the flowers and the shaking of my hands, I'm lucky I managed to get any shots!

Maria, indeed, I was wondering if it might sting me with annoyance!

Joe, we're not that much farther north than London at about 49th but this corner of Canada is the warmest in the country and spring is early this year. I saw a bumblebee fly around this afternoon!

EDIT: Actually Vancouver's latltude of 49 is south of London's 51 - oops, my bad!

Is that a honeybee?
Those shots are amazing!

These are incredibly beautiful photographs. I love that you first caught her with her proboscis sunk down inside that tiny flower and then then other covered in pollen makes a perfect set. I think my hands would have been shaking too much as well.

Hi Marja-Leena. Nice photos. I'm going to have to disappoint you, though. What you photographed is a bee-fly... a fly that mimics a bee to take advantage of a bee's dangerous reputation. You can tell by the bunched up antennae (bees have a long, L-shaped antenna) and by it only having two wings (bees and wasps have four). It's easiest to tell them by the huge size of their eyes, which take up the entire head. They fly with much more control than bees do, with precise hovering, and have much better eyesight. Like bees they eat the nectar in flowers. You saw it so early in the season because bee-flies are very tolerant of cold. Often you'll see them flying around in winter or very high in the mountains. There are many kinds of bee-flies, some looking like honey bees, as this one, some like bumble bees, some like yellow jackets, some like wasps. Even some kinds of robber flies, which are ferocious insects for their size, look like bald faced hornets and will attack the hornets for a meal.

Hattie, thanks. And butuki has the answer to our question...

Susan, I'm still astounded to have captured these shots.

Butuki, I'm not disappointed, just happy that you've identified this for me. I'd never heard of bee-flies... amazing!! Do any of these bee-flies have stingers? I'm not very knowledgeable about much of the insect world as you obviously are. Thanks so much!

Bees! Okay, apparently their Doppelganger bee-flies. The bees will surely be not far behind. Happy Spring!

Leslee - Doppelganger bee-flies? Love it!

I can't wait to show Caroline, she's wondered how the pollen sticks to bees (or bee flies) and now she can see what it looks like. What a cool set of pictures. And who knew that there were bee flies!

Julia, hope Caroline enjoys these as much as I enjoyed the surprise.