Sunday, June 16, 2019

Postcards from Kalamalka Lake

This is a Northern Checkerspot butterfly I saw yesterday while out hiking near Kalamalka Lake with the North Vernon Naturalists Club. I'm so grateful for the chance to tag along with these kind folks who have an extensive knowledge and appreciation of the local flora and fauna.

A snakefly grazes in the surreal meadow of a spirea blossom.

I spotted a dead bee in a flower and picked it up to get a closer look. I was surprised to find the dead bee was connected to a crab spider. I had interrupted her brunch!

If you look closely, you can see that this is likely a little hairy belly bee that was collecting pollen from nearby plants just moments before she was snatch by this spider.

This looks like the same species of bee, which was feeding on vetch.

This is an agapostemon bee, gathering pollen on its hairy back legs or "pollen pants". It's name means "lover of stamens".

Here's another LGB (little green bee), a hairy belly mason bee foraging on snowberry.

These tiny shiny bees are difficult to photograph because they're so fast!!!

The funny little "eyebrows" on this bee tells us it's an Andrena mining bee that likely nests in the soil  right under these snowberry plants.

You can see she also has hairy back legs for collecting pollen. Snowberry is an essential beescaping plant because it blooms for months, filling in nectar and pollen gaps as other flowers bloom and fade. Many of the "hot spots" we saw on this hike were near snowberry patches. Especially those with wild roses and geraniums.

Look for holes like this which may house ground nesting bees. Seventy per cent of bee species nest in the ground!

Bees love cranesbill geraniums!!!

Wild asparagus is going to seed.

Baby birds in a nest hole begging for food. Decaying trees also provide important habitat for cavity nesting bees.

This fuzzy green-eyed teddy bear is a male leafcutter bee, a species that lives in holes in decaying wood.

I'm in love with this little beetle that mimics bees. See how its hairs are coated in fine pollen?

Look at how cute the elytra are! Looks like they shrunk in the wash.

Beetles gotta bonk.

If you count the antennae, you'll see this is a saucy threesome!

This was the very first bee spotted on the hike: Bombus bifarius. It has a marking like a bikini bottom on its thorax. You can see she's a fairly big bee, and likely a queen. Her workers are about half this size.

You can see this bumblebee has collected a wad of pollen from the wild roses. In fact, these blossoms only provide pollen, so she needs to visit other flowers for nectar to give her the energy to collect the pollen to feed to her brood.

This bee looks like it may be a Bombus rufocinctus. She's filling up on the nectar in this red clover.

So thrilled to see this snowberry clearwing moth, a fan of the copious amounts of nectar in this white clover. I did see one feeding on a snowberry blossom too.

I've never seen so many butterflies and moths until I came to Vernon. Amazing!!!


This is a native plant in the mint family, Prunella vulgaris. It's great for bees and thrives in moist areas.

We saw some lovely tiger lilies, just past their prime.

When these oceanspray shrubs bloom they will be covered with bees.

Trumpet honeysuckle is a stunning hummingbird plant.

Flowers in the sunflower or aster family are incredibly important for many species of bees. This is a female leafcutter bee collecting pollen on her hairy belly. Gaillardias are indispensable in a bee garden.

Many of those tiny shiny bees that look like flying ants love these smaller flowers in the aster family.

I believe this is a jumping spider that mimics a velvet ant which itself is a wasp that mimics an ant!!!!

This is a pair of mating Tachinid flies that mimic lady-bugs.

Thanks again to the kind folks who made it possible for me to join this hike!!! Happy trails!