29 Apr 2019

Birds , bees and cuckoos

Although I've got an interest in all forms of natural history I'm ashamed to say my insect identification isn't that good. I'm very much still learning but really enjoy finding species I've never come across before (or not paid any attention to). I've seen Tawny Mining bees at a number of location so was really pleased to find what I thought was the nest burrow of one in our garden. It took a 3 hour stakeout to finally nail it! Here she is emerging from her nest chamber.

I'd also noted a number of wasp mimics in the front garden seemingly hovering aimlessly  around some rocks beneath a shrub in an old rockery in the front garden. I managed a phone shot and sent it to a very knowledgeable friend (cheers Gavin) for a possible identification.

As hoped he came back with an answer - one I wasn't expecting! They were actually cuckoo bees of the genus nomad. Cuckoo Bee's, as their avian namesake suggests, lay their eggs in the nests of other solitary bees. That suggested there must be other bees somewhere and sure enough a close examination lying on my belly revealed what looks like the nest chambers of Red Mason Bee's beneath the rocks with the entrances 'cemented' up. You can just see the entrances below the rock in the photo below:

Using the macro lens I managed some pretty decent photos and using the recently acquired excellent 'Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain & Ireland' (and with a hint from Rob Sandham) I think they may be Goodens Nomad Bee (Nomada goodeniana).

However, I think the one below maybe a Little Nomad Bee (Nomada flavoguttata)

I'm finding the whole subject of solitary bees fascinating!

No comments :