I’m a notorious non-participator in group activities, but one I did participate in last month was the Autumn Wild Pollinator Survey. The results of the survey came today in an email with a link to some of the photos submitted, including some of my own.
Looking at those photos reminded me I had yet to review my portfolio for what had been a pleasant morning’s outing near the BP site at Waverton. I had taken a camera with a telephoto lens, as I didn’t want to get too close to any of the flowers lest I discouraged the pollinators.
Not long after setting out, I became aware of a beady set of eyes regarding me with deep suspicion.
I pulled my hat a little lower over the back of my neck and continued on. A little further along, I was reminded that there were others who prefer consuming pollinators to counting them:
Next, I saw this honey bee near the bowling club. Her load was such that I began to wonder if the pollen was also consuming the bees instead of the other way round.
The overloaded bee was forced to land on a nearby leaf for a quick careening exercise:
The careening seemed to work as she headed off afterwards with a much lighter burden. As neither the flower nor the bee was a native species, I wasn’t sure if they were “wild pollinators”, and I didn’t include them in my count.
A minute later, just past the bowling club, I was further discouraged to see another consumer of pollinators. It set me wondering if the swallow was stopping for a rest after stuffing itself with insects, leaving me no pollinators to count:
My confidence received yet another knock when I saw a pair of hoverflies. Clearly they had completely misunderstood the type of pollination I had come to count:
However my spirits were restored when I reached the Westringia (coastal rosemary) bush I was heading for, and saw that normal pollination activities were still being carried on by several of the usual suspects. Here are four of them:
The four were respectively a lipotriches bee, a grass dart butterfly, a honey bee, and a greenbottle fly (Callophoridae). (Some insect identifications are tentative at best.)
Then it was on to a Hibbertia shrub. Pollinators here included a lasioglossum bee and (just visible) a tiny fly.
This bee also stopped for a quick grooming session on a nearby leaf.
Then there was this little Lasioglossum bee on a dandelion.
Returning home, I passed a bottlebrush tree and decide to add its denizens to the count. They included 3 not very cooperative bees – a reed bee, a honey bee, and a stingless bee – and I hesitated to include their not-so-good photos:
Back home, I sent my results off to the survey, made some tea and settled down to read a book. One title that seemed appropriate was The Pollinators of Eden, by John Boyd - a science fiction paperback I’ve had since 1970.
Then I saw the blurb on the back, which quoted a Daily Telegraph review “… a nice air of menace and the distinction of one of SF’s rare sex scenes – Lesbian and between a woman and an orchid.” But I’ll leave orchids for another blog entry!
Here is the official Wild Pollinator Count link: