Darling Buds of May

Hawthorn

I have had a couple of swarm calls and a few bumble/solitary bee queries, but nature seems to be rather on hold at the moment. We’ve had strong winds and more wet, cold weather but the bees are foraging well when they do get the chance: lots of pale yellow pollen and at least the flowers have an abundance of nectar with all the rain.

I noticed some interesting current galls on an oak tree:

I’ve seen a few bees on the comfrey outside my door, and there is cow parsley all along the lanes but the insect life is very muted at the moment – even the St Mark’s flies seem diminished as normally I’m walking through clouds of them at this time of year. I hope this sustained poor weather doesn’t put even more stress on our wildlife. I have noticed a little robin fledgeling in the garden and there are blackbirds nesting somewhere as I have seen the female wrestling with an uncooperative stand of hay in her beak and flying off. I have a number of blue tits on the sunflower seeds but I’ve not seen any young.

In the absence of bee duties I have finally managed to get on with another project I have been stewing over for a number of years. I am a keen naturalist (as hopefully these blogs will have shown) and I paint British birds. I am compiling them in to a series of logbooks so that those of us who like to engage with nature can pop a copy in their pocket and see what we can spot when out and about. You can find them here.

I did get to the apiary to film a brief video showing what the bees are up to so that’s now on my Patreon. I am visiting a couple near me on Monday for my first in-person Introduction to Sustainable Beekeeping course – the beauty of the post-Covid world is that there is much more flexibility with meeting people! One-to-one courses are so much more effective and whether I am visiting or being visited upon, there is always cake and chat and discussions on how best to keep bees while respecting the surrounding environment.

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