The ashy mining bee (Andrena cineraria) is a very attractive bee and is easy to identify. The photos above and below are of females, which are slightly larger than a worker honey bee.
Like other mining bees, this is a solitary bee and the female digs a nest hole in the the ground. This one is returning with a full pollen load.
The males are smaller and slimmer and have longer antennae but are similar in colour.
This male is lurking outside a nest hole, hoping to find a female.
Andrena cineraria has a short flight period from April to early June so its season is already almost over. All the photos above were taken on The Spetchells at Prudhoe in Northumberland. For the past two days I have been on an amazing course on identification of solitary bees and bumblebees with Steven Falk in Teesdale. One of the bees we saw on our field trip yesterday was Andrena cineraria so here are a few more photos (all of females) from yesterday.