Saturday, March 30, 2024

Chasing Bees Until I Lose the Light



After a frustrating afternoon dealing with intransigent and insensitive humans, I need to go to the bog to find the bees. It’s been a bitter-sweet day. I need to heal my heart and mind. It’s getting to be late, but the sun will have warmed patches of the blueberry flowers, making the nectar flow, so I hope I will see some bumble bees. A group of us met here a few days ago, but it was raining and bees were scarce, so we talked carnivorous plants, bees and bog bodies. I was thrilled to share my love of Camosun bog with others who will never be the same, now that they have visited it. This is a special place, and the people who meet at the bog have a bee-blessed bond . . . also frog-blessed. This is especially true at this time of the year, when the Pacific tree frogs, aka Pacific chorus frogs, are singing their hearts out to attract mates. Immersing oneself in this sound should be a rite of spring. I vote for attending frog and bumble bee musicals as essential life experiences: bog concerts for a better life.


 Today the bog is busy with humans, birds and bees. I hear the “hank, hank” sound of a nuthatch and squint against the sun to see if that hummer on the power line is an Anna’s or a migrating rufous. An older couple guide a toddler along the boardwalk, his curiosity and wonder clearly mirrored on their faces. And there are bees . . Bombus melanopygus, B flavifrons, B sitkensis and B mixtus. I’m surprised I’m seeing smaller bumble bees already. I chase a little sitkensis around and think she’s too small to be a queen. Could it be the first workers are out already? Sure enough, a few moments later, I see another small sitka bumble bee with smudges of pollen packed onto her corbicula and she is moving fast! I try to track her, focus and snap photos, but I’m rusty after a long winter, and I take lots of shots I know will be blurry. For the sake of identification, even some of these less than optimal photos can be useful when I’m posting them on iNaturalist. I’m so pleased a sitkensis queen has established a nest. I wish her a flourishing and abundant life. I’m so happy to be here chasing the bees until I lose the light. I take some photos in the shadows and then I get ready to head back to the house.



 Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and fret over the decisions I have made in my life. Have I been a good mother? A caring friend? Am I a worthy and responsible human? But spending time chasing bees with my camera until the little lanterns of blueberry blossoms grow dim makes me feel a life-affirming harmony. My worries fade into the background like the ghost of a vernal frog’s chorus in the distance. I have done what I could today. It’s time to sink into a calm state of gratitude and go home to feed my belly and take a close look at my photos. Que sera, sera. Whatever will bee, will bee.



Tuesday, March 5, 2024

You're Invited!


Please join us for the launch of our BC Native Bee ID trading cards with images created by Cloudscape Comics artists!


Saturday, March 23, 2-5 pm


Outside in front of the South Memorial Park’s field house at 5955 Ross Street, Vancouver (Ross + 41st, located inside the park).


Featuring cards designed by Madeline Berger, Haley Boros, Jordanna George, Olive Pinard, Jess Pollard, and Matthew Nielsen.


Drop by and pick up a set of cards, some free native flower seeds and a seasonal guide to plants for bees in the Lower Mainland. Take a close up and personal look at some local bee specimens and learn about the amazing biodiversity of BC Native Bees. We will provide materials for you to join in and draw your own funky bee designs. Some of the artists will be in attendance along with Lori Weidenhammer, aka Madame Beespeaker.


Free! All ages are welcome!

This event is brought to you by the Native Bee Society of British Columbia supported by the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation Neighbourhood Matching Fund.