Bees on the butterfly weed

Here is the Asclepias tuberosa I planted last July, hoping to support butterflies. I was so pleased to see that it survived to grow and bloom this year. At first I didn’t see any insects visiting it, but today noticed three different small bees on it, two of which are visible in this photo. The few butterflies we’ve had lately have focused on the butterfly bushes, and the little zinnias that have begun to bloom.


Bumblebee Home

This morning’s bumblebee sighting inspired me to get back to this blog. I knew that at least some bumblebees nest in the ground, but until today I had never seen any sign of it. This morning, on my way back from collecting the paper, I noticed a bumblebee approaching a gap between an old brick edger and the front walk. It disappeared into the space. Soon after I saw two other bees. Then  one emerged. With a little patience I was able to get this shot of a bee who seemed to be searching for the entrance. What a great excuse for not weeding that area! I want to know more about these bees.


Bees etc. again

Today worked up to being  hot compared to the week so far, and I was hoping to see more bees and other insects.  I was pleased to see a sweat bee on the azalea again. Below is a highly enlarged shot of a sweat bee on the anther of an azalea flower, as previously described. I was determined to get some sort of record. Nearby, on the top twig of the largest butterfly bush, I was surprised to see a dragonfly, also shown below. We get them occasionally, but we are perhaps a third of a mile from any stream.
Not photographed but also seen:

  • One of the small skipper butterflies perched on the lawn, a yellow-orange one with a lighter area towards the middle of the wing but no distinct makings visible. This is the first skipper I’ve seen this year.
  • Another visit from (probably) a clouded sulpher.
  • Two bee flies (I think), one grappling with a bee (honey bee sized, but I couldn’t be sure of the identification).
  • A low flying stocky yellow insect with black markings flying near the soil in a flower bed. Was it a wasp–perhaps a cicada killer–or something else?

It seems to me that there is not much out there that attracts bees right now. Maybe there is something I could plant that would be blooming right now.


Sweat bee on azalea




More sightings, and a theft

Slowed down by a cold, I’ve ventured out just to stand in the sun a bit. That’s when I noticed the broken robin’s egg on the walk near the back steps. And I’m left with a puzzle: how did it get there?  It was lying in an open area with no overhanging branches, a good 30 feet from the forsythia where I’ve seen robins nesting. Obviously it didn’t simply fall out of a nest. Who carried it there and dropped it? I’ve heard that crows sometimes eat the eggs of smaller birds, so that might be a possibility. But  how far could a crow carry an egg in its beak?  Or is there other nest-robbing wildlife perhaps at night? At different times over the years I’ve seen a rat, a possum, and once, in a nearby yard, a fox.

I was happy to be distracted by a butterfly–one of the sulphurs, the first I’ve seen this year. Possibly the Clouded Sulphur, but I’m not certain. Clover is one of its larval food plants, so it should be happy with our lawn!

Another interesting moment was provided by a tiny green bee on the deciduous azalea, which has just started to bloom. So many representations of bees in action show them deep in the throat of a flower. This one, however, was out on the end of the anther, and as far as I could tell was diligently gathering pollen.  I had never seen this before so will watch for it again.