On grey and gloomy autumn days, it’s always cheering to see the bumblebees still out and about, even if sometimes they’re actually snoozing on their chosen flowers.
Carline thistles may look dry and unappetising but, as you can see from the enthusiastic feeding of this Buff-tailed bumblebee, they are in fact nectar rich, and favourites not only of bees but also of many species of butterflies.
At this time of year the ornamental cherry tree outside my flat is awash with blossom, of a warm white shade flushed with the merest tinge of pink.
It looks glorious, especially on sunny days, and, at a time when there are few flowers in bloom, it’s a magnet for newly emerging, hungry insects of the flying kind.
Yesterday, as well as a few Honey bees, I spotted half a dozen, all Buff-tailed, bumblebees doddering from one flower to the next, before lurching haphazardly to the next branch, dislodging the delicate petals as they passed.
I was amazed today at Cosmeston to hear a buzzing sound and then watch this bumblebee fly slowly past, to settle on the trunk of a nearby tree. It’s a Tree bumblebee, I think, Bombus hypnorum, a species that usually emerges from its winter sleep in March.
Yesterday I saw a Red admiral butterfly, and now today this bumblebee. It just shows how mild our winter weather has been so far.
Isn’t she beautiful? While out walking in a local park I spotted this queen Red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius) enjoying the pollen of a newly opened willow flower … and I smiled all the way home.