Dear Readers, there are definitely worse fates than being stuck at home with a fridge full of food and a job that doesn’t involve any commuting. Today I am a bit brain-fogged and tired, but definitely improving. I decided to spend half an hour in the garden to see what was going on before I headed back for a sleep (luxury!) and of course the bumblebees visiting the teasel caught my eye. I love the way that they dig right into the flowers to get at the nectar – I’m guessing that only the longer-tongued species can get at it, and certainly the hoverflies who land sometimes look a bit confused before flying off to something friendlier.
I was delighted to hear the children on their way to school this morning remarking on the bumblebees on the lavender and buddleia in the front garden. I must be doing something right. I sometimes think of bumblebees as a kind of gateway to the insect world for children – they’re big, furry, unlikely to sting unless really harassed, and have a kind of ramshackle charm that belies their superb adaptation to their environment and intelligence.
Honestly, who wouldn’t love them and want to look after them? On a sadder note, I found two bumblebees trussed up in a spider’s web on the fence. I might pop out later to see who the culprit is, but the web is very impressive. I did check to see if the bees were already dead, and they were, otherwise I might have had a tricky moral dilemma for all of ten seconds before I rescued them. I will spare you the photos, but here’s the web, and rather beautiful it is too.
Close to it a much smaller, less bee-murdering spider has slung a web. This is your typical diadem orb-web spider (Araneus diadematus), a very variable and common species but welcome for all that. Spiders eat so many garden ‘pests’ that I suspect we’d be chin deep in mosquitoes and greenfly if they didn’t exist.
For those of you on the edge of your seats about my small white butterfly egg, it’s turned yellow, which I think is a good sign…
And in other very exciting news, I noticed this while trying to follow a mystery moth. I discovered both that I suddenly have enchanter’s nightshade in the garden and leafcutter bees! Until I moved to East Finchley I had no idea that there were leafcutter bees in the UK, but then I saw that my rose leaves had these perfect half-circles taken out of them, and tied this in to the little bees that I saw feeding on what I thought was elecampane. How exciting! I shall keep an eye on it and see if I can catch them in the act, though I sense that it’s a little bit late in the year.
And now I’m off for a lie down. See you tomorrow, readers!