The contrast between Easter Monday in Cambridge and yesterday afternoon here was astonishing. I came home from work and changed into old jeans and spent the rest of the day grubbing about in pots and soil, sun shining, birds singing, bees doing the buzzing.
My bee tally rose by two yesterday-species that is, not individuals. The first was an Early Bumblebee, Bombus pratorum, smaller than a Buff tailed bee and sporting has a strikingly orange-red rear. The sun was shining through that amber coloured tail in this photo, but the colour allowed it to be easily distinguished from the larger Buff-tails that were also on the wing.
Bombus pratorum is quite a small bee, and emerges early in the Spring, although in my garden it is the 3rd of the true bumblebees I have seen this year. It is thought that this species frequently completes two colony cycles in a single year.
The second bee was the delightfully named Hairy Footed flower bee, Anthrophora plumipes. This is a male , busily patrolling a territory. He rested on the gravel for a few seconds before bustling off and returning to the same spot a few minutes later. If you enlarge the picture you can just about make out his hairy feet! They will be flying until the end of May.The females, which are quite different being black with ginger legs, build nests in the soil. These little bees love to feed on pulmonaria, cowslips, broom, primroses, muscari, rosemary, lithodora and tree germander. Without knowing this, I have the first 6 plants in flower in the garden so have inadvertently created a little hairy Footed haven. I am pleased.