Sunday, 13 March 2016

Spring is sprung

At last, after weeks of cold wet and windy weather, the sun came out, the temperature crept into double figures (°C) and the bees came out to celebrate.  I think of it as the first day of spring when they come out to forage on the snowdrops and there were hundreds taking advantage of the sunshine.  They were collecting nectar as well as pollen and the scent amongst the flowers was heavenly.

A bee can spend a long time on each flower, sometimes more than a minute.

A lot of time is spent grooming to collect the pollen in the corbiculae (pollen baskets) on her hind legs.  This photo shows well the pollen brushes on the inside of the back legs which the bee scrapes against each other to move the pollen ready to squeeze into the pollen baskets.

These photos show a bee rubbing the brushes against each other.

The grooming carries on in the short flights between flowers.

This bee is cleaning her proboscis with her front legs while flying.

Here's another bee hovering just beside a snowdrop.

The honey bees were also foraging elsewhere.  I could see them high in the cherry plum (Prunus cerasifera) flowers in the hedge and this one was on winter clematis.

Then back on the snowdrops I saw my first bumblebee of the season.  I had only a fleeting view but think it is a buff-tailed queen (Bombus terrestris) although it has a curious gap in its yellow belt.

Moments later I saw a tree bumblebee queen (Bombus hypnorum). 

So now it really must be spring.  Here's hoping for more warm sunny days to get the season off to a good start.


  1. Brilliant photos. I saw my first bumble bee of the year yesterday - also a buff-tailed bumble bee queen. She was investigating some tufty grass, probably looking for a nesting site.

  2. Super Chris. I saw a bee while I was up on the Tweed, I think a honey bee, with obvious pollen baskets - I can't quite remember the colour, drat, but think it was white.