Saturday, 25 March 2017

First mining bee

Yesterday was my first trip of the year to the Spetchells, a WW2 chalk waste dump on the bank of the River Tyne at Prudhoe in Northumberland.  This was earlier than I have been in previous years and when I arrived there were no bees to be seen.  However, as soon as it warmed up a few were out flying in the sunshine.  Almost all were buffish mining bees (Andrena nigroaenea), which is the commonest species there.  First I found a few males, mostly on patrol looking for females but occasionally stopping for a rest (and a photo).

This guy was being watched closely by a spider but didn't get caught.

I saw two mating pairs and managed a brief shot of one of them.

Then I found this female.  I think she was freshly emerged and she moved slowly around the gorse flowers, allowing me plenty of photos.

I saw one other male bee, darker, greyer and much smaller.  I guess it is another Andrena but I don't know which one.

I'll be back there soon as more and more bees will emerge in coming days.

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