Saturday, 9 May 2009

A Miner, a Bather and a Hedgehog

I was pottering round the garden this morning checking to see how much the ground was cracking with so little rain when I just happened to spot a hole surrounded by loose earth.

Miner Bee Nest Hole

I though to myself - I wonder if I have found the nest site of a miner bee. As it was sunny though cool in the strong breeze I wrapped up well, took a folding chair and the camera and sat and watched. After half an hour I gave up and went for a much needed cuppa. Later I took a tripod and set the camera up and sat in wait. After about five minutes I noticed a slight movement in the hole. Where I had been expecting to see a bee arriving I got just the opposite. Very cautiously the bee crept out of its hole and then flew off at full speed.

Miner Bee

The wait had been worthwhile. Later in the day I spent ages trying to get more photos, preferably of it arriving, but nearly three quarters of an hours watching produced zilch. I had had enough for now. I don't think I would have the patience to become a professional nature photographer.

There is some interesting information about mining bees on the Kendall Bioresearch page dealing with solitary bees. Interesting to find that mining bees do not live very long and that the nest hole is open for only a few short weeks so I was lucky to be able to photograph one in use.

Another reason for taking the chair out was the bee hole was just where I needed to be to watch any birds which used the pond waterfall for bathing. I think my presence put many off the idea but did see a Sparrow come for a drink and a male Blackbird have a bath and then sit for ages in the Sun drying out.

I can just reach ....
I Can Just Reach

I'm going to hide behind this fern ....
Blackbird Bathing

Ah. That feels better ....
Drying Out

Last night there was the usual Hedgehog visit - jut one this time. They seem to be alternating. Every night the large one comes but every other night so far it has been joined by the smaller one.
I took some photos of the monitor in the living room so the pictures are not fantastic.

Hedgehog Visitor

As usual I thought hoggy had gone but when Bobby went out at bedtime he made a beeline down the garden - and yes, there was the Hedgehog. Going through to the front garden I saw the Moon was occasionally being hidden by a line of dark clouds so I though I would try a few shots. I think this is the best of the bunch.

Moon and Clouds


  1. Love that shot of the Blackbird after his bath. We're going to have to get a propper stone bird bath, had a plastic one last year but it split when I tried to clean it.

  2. Well done John, on catching the emerging bee. Patience paid off in the end.
    The drying Blackbird is a cracking shot.
    And a very atmospheric moon shot. I like that.

  3. What wonderful photos John! I can see through your photos that you really enjoy the British wildlife! I will visit again!

  4. Great pics of the mining bee- well worth waiting for - and hedgehog-cam is producing wonderful results!

  5. Thanks Paul: I think the birds find difficulties with some plastic bird baths. Some seem to be designed more with how they look to humans rather than being practical for birds to use.

    Thanks Keith: It was nice to be able to sit out in the Sun for a change and just watch the wildlife in the garden. Even better to grab the occasional photo.

    Matron: Thanks for visiting and the nice comment. You are most welcome any time.

    Greenfingers: Thanks. I am an eternal fidget. I can't just sit still and do nothing so waiting for that bee forced me to stay in one place - it was quite relaxing in its own way.

  6. Fascinated by the mining bees, wouldn't catch me anywhere near though, not keen on any that buzzes!


  7. Debbie: Thanks. The mining bees are pretty well harmless, now if it had been wasps you wouldn't have seen me for dust!

  8. Well spotted with the Miner Bee John, your patience was rewarded!
    I thought your Blackbird having a shower behind his green 'shower curtain' was funny, he then looked a bit grumpy at being photographed in his 'dishabille'!
    Lovely moon shot.

  9. Hi Jan: You should have seen the look I was getting on the Blackbird photos I didn't use. :)
    I'm finding the Moon difficult these days. It nearly always turns out pure white no matter what I try.

  10. Great post John! How wonderful to have a Miner Bee; I must be more observant. It does pay to be patient but, like you, I can't sit still for long but if you can get really absorbed then it makes time fly!

    The moon shot is excellent and what a picture to close the post on!

  11. Thank you Tricia. Most of us probably have mining bees. I had often seen bees disappearing into the lawn but just though there was a communal nest there. It was only reading other blogs that I found out about solitary bees and the tell tale signs.

    Having a wireless remote for the camera helped a lot. I could sit back with the camera on a tripod and hold the remote and wait in relative comfort.

    The Moon shot doesn't quite show the full orangey red glow which was what caught my attention as that seemed unusual, or at least a rarer sight. It's the only time I use 3200 ISO so I can get a hand held shot.


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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