Sunday, March 31, 2019

HumBug: Partial Sun, Chance of Butterflies and Bees

Posted By on Sun, Mar 31, 2019 at 11:09 AM

click to enlarge California tortoiseshell populations fluctuate erratically. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • California tortoiseshell populations fluctuate erratically.

Well, at least we had one sunny day. Along with the rest of us, the insects crawled from their hidey holes in bark crevasses, burrows in the ground and old wood.

A couple of days ago I got a brief glimpse of what I suspected was a California tortoiseshell butterfly (Nymphalis californica). Sometimes, for reasons that aren't clear, their population can explode. Some years ago I counted nearly 100 of them apparently migrating upstream along the Van Duzen River. On Thursday a dozen or so flitted about the plum trees in my yard. They were accompanied by nearly as many painted lady butterflies (Vanessa cardui), purported to be the most widespread butterfly in the world seen on all continents except Antarctica.


click to enlarge Painted lady is probably the most cosmopolitan of butterflies. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Painted lady is probably the most cosmopolitan of butterflies.

A single green comma (aka green angelwing, aka Polygonia faunus) butterfly.
Several margined whites (Pieris marginalis) sailed by on their way somewhere else.
click to enlarge Angelwing. We can expect a second generation later this year. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Angelwing. We can expect a second generation later this year.

One or two large carpenter bees (Xylocopa spp.) zipped among the branches of rosemary, and several of what I suspect are Pacific digger bees harvested pollen and nectar. 
click to enlarge These shiny all black bees have a lower wing beat frequency than the lighter honeybees. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • These shiny all black bees have a lower wing beat frequency than the lighter honeybees.

Both these native bees are about the size of an average bumblebee but considerably thicker in the body. The all-black carpenters are much quicker than their tame cousins but the ground nesting solitary digger makes them all look like they're in slow motion. Its frenetic pace through the twisted branches and needle like leaves of the rosemary makes getting a photo challenging. Often too quick to follow by eye, the distinctive pitch of their wingbeats sometimes makes tracking them by ear possible.
 
click to enlarge Pacific digger bee almost too quick to follow is an agile and active pollinator. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Pacific digger bee almost too quick to follow is an agile and active pollinator.
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , ,

Speaking of...

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

more from the author

Latest in HumBug Online

© 2019 North Coast Journal

Website powered by Foundation