Lately I’ve wondered whether the phrase “pollinator count” sends pollinators scurrying for a leaf to hide under. Last week, on several formal ‘pollinator counts’, I saw very few bees. For example, one count yielded only a blue-banded bee, a teddy bear bee, and a few honey bees. Another, no bees at all.
It was a different story on informal walks this week (though pollinator numbers were still smaller than they had been in summer). For example, a few days ago I saw a stand of Salvia flowers (Salvia leucantha?) in Waverton Bowling Club being visited by a variety of bees. First, this Teddy Bear Bee came in to land on a flower:
She immediately began probing for the nectar at the bottom of the flower tube.
There were also plenty of Honey Bees, like this one:
Some of them were drinking the nectar remaining in the fallen flowers. (As a child, I remember pulling out the flower- tubes of Salvia to suck the nectar droplets inside.)
Another bee visiting the Salvia was this smaller black one, possibly Lipotriches, a bee I’m more used to seeing on Guinea flowers.
This Blue-banded Bee was also topping up with nectar. Unlike the Teddy Bear Bee, she cheated by biting a hole in the side of the flower.
There were also several other pollinators of varying size. One was a Neon Cuckoo Bee, a species which parasitises Blue-banded Bees. Alas, I didn’t get a chance to photograph it, but there are some photos of another one here.
Much smaller than the Cuckoo bee, there were several Stingless Bees (Tetragonula carbonaria), like this one:
And at the big end of the scale, this Rainbow Lorikeet was happy to pose:
However a Noisy Miner declined to be photographed:
Leaving the Salvia, I passed a Hibiscus hosting a number of Honey Bees. The bees were almost overwhelmed by the quantities of sticky pollen.
Turning into Larkin Street, I saw a Coastal Rosemary plant that had barely survived the drought. There was a Leafcutter Bee (possibly Megachile maculariformis) on one of its flowers.
As this bee visited other flowers on the bush, it was possible to see its black forelegs confirming that it was a female. (There’s an entry featuring a male bee here.)
She ended up with a lot of pollen on her head:
Other visitors to this rosemary bush included several little orange Dart butterflies:
A little further on, small blue-grey butterflies were visiting blue fanflowers (Scaevola).
Next, I came to a low cluster of Guinea flowers (Hibbertia scandens). This small Lipotriches bee (similar to the one I saw earlier on the Salvia), was heavily dusted with pollen.
And here’s a handsome little Hoverfly:
I ‘d now reached the end of the street, overlooking Berry’s Bay, and after admiring the beautiful clear-skied view, I turned round and headed home.