This week Pete Akers and I undertook the second of three timed walks on the RSPB reserve, counting every female bumblebee we saw over 4 hours on 4 areas of the reserve. This practice has been going on for 8 years and is designed to pick up trends in bumblebee abundance.
Last year red clover Trifolium pratense was super-abundant on the reserve. This year it was noticeable by its absence, as a flowering plant at least. There are lots of plants, but they all look young and are not yet flowering - evidently a lot of the plants died off last year. There were plenty of excellent alternative food sources for these insects though, with tufted vetch Viccia cracca being most popular. My eye was drawn to the unusual white variant of this plant in the picture below.