Archive for July 14th, 2009

14th July 2009, Tuesday

Spiral Gall

spiral-gall

Looking closely at Black Poplar trees at Castle Water today, there was a gall on a leaf stalk that I had not seen before. Research at home revealed how this was formed.

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14th July 2009, Tuesday

On Guard

While clearing Ragwort on the Beach reserve today, I came across a nest of the Red-tailed Bumblebee on the shingle to the seaward side of the beach road. My attention was drawn by the steady stream of departing workers, but held by the guard bee which acts as a sentry at the nest entrance. For the whole of the 15 minutes I was watching her, she was moving her wings rapidly, creating a draught which was visibly moving nearby vegetation. Bumblebees certainly ‘fan’ when their nests get very hot (high temperatures can impair brood development), so perhaps this was what was happening here.

Red-tailed Bumblebee nest entrance and guard
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14th July 2009, Tuesday

Dungeness bumblebee fields

Some of the bumblebee fields on the Dungeness RSPB reserve are awash with flowers this year, providing an excellent source of pollen and nectar.  This field, which was really poor until a couple of years ago is full of red clover, tufted vetch, meadow vetchling and flea bane, and is part of a general trend of fields becoming richer in wild flowers as a result of being allowed to grow a hay crop and set seed over the past few years.  The problem is going to be spotting the bees on our timed walks next week with so much potential forage around for them!