Wednesday, May 20, 2015

First Leafcutter Bee of the Season in Vancouver: California Lilacs Bloom

A California lilac shrub stopped me in my tracks at the busy intersection of W4th and MacDonald.The flowers were covered with bees of all stripes scrambling to collect pollen. I watched as their pollen baskets filled and their jodhpurs grew fat with lemony pollen.

There were bumblebees, andrena mining bees, and lots of these solitary bees with striped butts.

Back home in our garden I also spotted the first leafcutter of the season, looking fluffy and freshly hatched. I am amazed at how having three lupins in my back yard has attracted a variety of native bees.

The wool carder bees have also set up shop at the lupins where the males patrol the flowers and mate with the females. I witnessed a male wool carder bee knock a bumblebee queen right out of the flower with a full body check. She didn't even see it coming. Cheeky!

 I also observed a honeybee try her darndest to access lupin pollen or nectar, but she gave up after two valiant attempts. These small bees are sneaking in and gathering pollen, flying under the radar of the possessive wool carder males.

As the blue orchard bees are wrapping it up, the smaller summer mason bees are getting busy. Even this little one can trip the keels of the lupins to daintily  sip the nectar.

I'm also pleased to announce my first sighting of a cuckoo be in the forget-me-nots our back yard. My friend Jasna tells me the rim around the nectar turns from yellow to white once the flower has been pollinated. Cool!

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