Sighting: Ashy Mining Bee

We might still be limited to just a few walks outside a day but nature continues to provide plenty of distraction and beautiful things to to observe. There is even the odd surprise such as this lovely and unusual looking bee encountered recently.

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Do not adjust your screen, there’s no clever photoshop trickery here, this bee really is just black and white! This little monochrome beauty is no genetic quirk or a evolutionary anomaly, she is an ashy mining bee (Andrena cineraria), a member of the solitary bee family.

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This particular bees seemed particularly drawn to the dandelion flowers growing along the grass verge overlooking the harbour ‘gap’, the same location where I photographed small tortoiseshell butterflies a few weeks ago.

Clambering among the delicate petals, this bee’s relatively short tongue often results in a face full of bright yellow pollen as she feeds on the nectar deep within the flower.

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This transfer of pollen to the bee is no accidental act. Flowers use bees as unwitting ‘couriers’ for their pollen, transporting it to another flower for fertilisation in a process known as cross pollination.

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The below diagram explains how the process works:

(This shows the honeybee which collects pollen in specialised hairs on it’s legs, rather than just scattered over the body, but the method is the same)

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Share the ways you are staying in touch with nature during lockdown using hashtags:
#naturetherapy #mentalhealth #neednaturenow

All photographs copyright of Claire Stott/Grey Feather Photography © 2020
www.greyfeatherphotography.com

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