After the Storm

Azure damselfly

What a strange summer it’s been so far! Yesterday, without any warning, a thunderstorm bubbled up, just as my husband was heading out for a haircut. It poured down for best part of an hour – the kitchen had rainwater coming in under the door, but further up the road basements were flooded, roads were impassable and torrents of water ran down the streets. And then, today, it’s hot, and in the garden there are dozens of damselflies, red and blue. Some are fighting, some are mating, some are just hanging out. A spider has built its web right across the pond and is dashing out every five minutes to truss up an aphid or some other tiny insect.

The meadowsweet and the hemp agrimony and the teasels had all been knocked horizontal when the angelica fell over a few days ago, and they were just starting to right themselves when yesterday’s storm hit. Ah well, they are still flowering even if some of the angles are a little strange. The teasel flower is a peculiar thing anyway – it flowers in the middle, and then the two bands of flowers move away from one another to opposite ends. It is beloved by all manner of little pollinating creature.

Teasel with tiny bees

I have never seen a bee so drenched in pollen. Unlike those sophisticates the bumblebees with their pollen baskets, a lot of little bees just basically roll about in it so that it adheres to their legs and tummies. This one has been identified as a base-banded furrow bee (Lasioglossum sp.). There are over 1700 species, with the ones in the UK being tricky to tell apart, though most of them are solitary bees building their nest tunnels in light soils. In the tropics some Lasioglossum species are sweat bees, which can be a bit irritating if you aren’t used to them, though as the poor things only want to feed it seems a bit harsh to hate them.

Apologies to anyone who gets seasick watching this, it’s the teasel moving, not me 🙂

And here is a bumblebee, doing that pollen-collection thang properly. This one is buzz-pollinating the bittersweet, vibrating at a high frequency so that the plant will release its pollen. Not that you can hear the sound above the wind…

And watching benignly from the pond is this frog. All the fuss and bother of the year is already over, and s/he can just sit and watch the world go by (though if s/he could see their way clear to munching on some of the slugs and snails that have appeared after the rain that would be very helpful). As I haven’t even seen them paying much attention to the water snails, though, I suspect this might not be on the cards.


2 thoughts on “After the Storm

  1. Claire

    The photos and videos are splendid! We had no storm yesterday ( fireworks maintained for the 14th of July) but heavy ones on Monday and Tuesday, with roads and basements flooded, at least one tree down on my way to work. Saw three beautiful snails racing towards a lovely flower bed by the roadside, a lot of frogs last Saturday at my daughter’s ( there’s a chain of artificial lakes there)… Some creatures at least are enjoying this weather. Today, I will walk in the park, while it’s dry…

  2. Anne

    I am at that stage of having to ask “what is a thunderstorm?” as it is such a long time since we have experienced any rain. Your descriptions are wonderful to read.


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