Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My Inaugural Citizen Scientist Survey

First you have to choose a site. It needs to be close to your home and have a diversity of flowering plants. It needs to be one block long. I was having an attack of indecisiveness, but in the end I decided to start with the Mount Pleasant Park and see how it worked out. I was torn between that area and my and my neighbour's gardens. Maybe I'll do them too.

You need to choose a good bee-watching day, preferable between 10 am and 3:30 pm. It had been unsettled all morning, but when the sun finally emerged, I headed down the hill with my zucchini plant and two "Hotlips" salvias. After planting these in the plot, I searched for plants that were busy with bees. Believe it or not, the best plant was the lovage in my garden, with these little adrena mining bees.

Then you have to choose three of the plants and count the bees on each for about 3 1/3 minutes each. This wasp appeared later, when I was documenting the plant visitors with my camera.

You can see the holes chewed in these bleeding heart blossoms by nectar robbers.

 There was no action on these broad bean plants.

We have to evaluate cloud cover, wind, rain and temperature.

One of my other choices was a clump of cranesbill geranium. You can see the bumble bee sticking her tongue right into that nectary.

This is the cranesbill geranium planting I watched.

This is my first nasturtium blossom for the year.

 My final plant was borage, or as I call it, bee porridge.

Can you believe this is common garden sage? It's blossoms and calyxes are so beautiful!

This was my first wooly carder bee sighting of the season. It exhibited bullying behaviour, knocking honeybees away from the blossoms.

The cloud cover returned and I headed home for supper. I've pasted the data below for those who are interested.

Pollinator Citizen Science Data Sheet Environmental Youth Alliance 2013

Name: Lori Weidenhammer Date: Wed., June 12 Time of Day: 4:40 pm

Location: Mount Pleasant Park and Community Garden Temp: 20 C Weather: W1 CC 4 Rain 0

Plant 1: Borago officinalis

Bumblebees: 4
Hairy Belly Bees: 0
Sweat/Mining Bees: 0
Honeybees: 5
Flies: 1 (syrphid)

Pollen: white full loads

Plant 2: Lovage: Levisticum officinale
Bumblebees: 0
Hairy Belly Bees:0
Sweat/mining bees: 4
Honeybees: 2
Flies: 0
Other: 1 Ladybug

Pollen: native bees had mustard yellow pollen loads

Plant 3: Cranesbill Geranium 'Rozanne'? (City Planting)
Bumblebees: 6
Hairy Belly Bees: 0
Sweat/Mining Bees
Honeybees: 7

Pollen: scant load


The journey to the site:
The sun had just come out after an overcast and unsettled morning with only about 1 mm rain. I noted a bumble bee in a bleeding heart (cultivar) as I walked to the site. There were also bumble and honey bees in a ceanothus. There are about 3 California lilacs on my eight block walk down the hill. There are also many rugosa in bloom by the sidewalks and in curb and traffic circle plantings. The Bridal Bush (Spiraea) was almost spent, whereas a week ago it was in its prime. There are several mock jasmine in bloom, one with an aphid infestation and many ladybug larvae. The lavender is almost in bloom. Nepeta in bloom. One white syringa in bloom with syrphid flies visiting.

The Mount Pleasant Community Garden Raised Beds:
2 syrphid flies on non-climbing clematis
nasturtiums--no visitors
kale flowers: lots of bumble bees and honey bees
white clover: no action
thyme: nothing
pea blossoms (many): no action
salvia officinalis: honey bees and my first wooly carder bee sighting for the year--aggressive behaviour noted, defending this plant
corn poppies: no action
corn flowers: de nada
cerinthe (blue shrimp plant): bumble bee, lots of pollen
chives: no action
calendula: bumble bee
lots of tagetes: no action
crimson clover: no action
arugula: nothing
alyssum: nothing
Italian parsley: syrphid flies
lima beans: nothing
bleeding hearts: holes observed from nectar robbing

City Plantings:
yellow yarrow: no bees
Salvia (something like Purple Rain?) busy with bumble bees. There are several groupings of this plant in the park, along with the cranesbill geranium and yarrow.
white syringa: honey bees and bumble bees. These three trees are quite new.
curry plant: no action
cream-colored iris in the wet garden: nothing

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