Field Day Reminder – TOMORROW, Rain or Shine! Also, A Bee Photo

A reminder – we will have our Platte River Prairies Field Day tomorrow, August 27, from 9am to 3:30.  Details can be found here.

Rain is in the forecast for tomorrow, but it looks like the best chances for precipitation are before and after the Field Day.  Either way, we’ll be there and will have plenty of things to see, do, and discuss, so please plan to attend.  (However, in addition to your lunch, you might throw in a rain jacket and/or umbrella just in case.)

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s something completely unrelated:

As I was walking across my yard on the way home from work last night, I saw the following happening RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF MY SIDEWALK.

Two bumblebees (Bombus impatiens) trying to ensure the next generation of bumblebees.

Two bumblebees (Bombus impatiens) trying to ensure the next generation of bumblebees.

Three things.  First, this is a good way to see the sexual dimorphism of bumblebees.  (Don’t get excited – it just means that males and females are different sizes.)  Second, the stinger on the female looks like it’s in an awkward place.  Finally, the process of making new bumblebees apparently takes a while and the full attention of both parties.  I had time to go back to the truck, grab my camera gear, set up a couple flashes, and take quite a few photos.  After I got my photos, I put my gear away and walked by again and they were still going.

During the whole photography process, the bees completely ignored me, my gear, and the repeated firing of two flash units.  It seems like the bees would be pretty easy quarry for predators at times like this.  Maybe, instead of doing it in the middle of a sidewalk, it’d be a good idea to retreat to somewhere more sheltered?  (Get a room!)

Ok, everyone move along now.  Nothing more to see here.



Photo of the Week – August 3, 2012

Still on the Niobrara Valley Preserve theme today, but not really strongly fire-related this time.

Leaf cutter bee (Megachile sp.) on plains sunflower (Helianthus petiolarus). The Nature Conservancy’s Niobrara Valley Preserve, Nebraska.  Click on the photo for a sharper look at it.

No, this isn’t some voracious predator waiting to ambush some hapless pollinator insect…it IS a pollinator insect.  More specifically, it’s a female leaf cutter bee.  I found her hanging out on an annual sunflower blossum in the early morning.  I’m not sure if she was warming up or resting or both?

Thanks to Mike Arduser for identifying the bee.  He guessed that it’s probably Megachile fortis – a specialist pollinator on sunflowers.