11 Sep 18

Mermaid Track, Rufus Castle, St Andrews Church and Pennsylvania Castle Wood

The moment I have been waiting for this Autumn and today was the day that the Ivy Bees appeared. This is truly an autumnal bee only appearing between September and into November.

Last year I saw my first (courtesy of Steve Covey) on the 19 Sep and I'm pretty sure I overlooked them earlier in the month. This year I've been paying particular attention to any Ivy in flower and though the Ivy on Penn's Weare was in bloom, the Ivy Bees were nowhere to be seen.

However today I came across several on the steps down to Church Ope Cove from Rufus Castle, on the corner here. This is a very small bee and only appeared on our shores here in Dorset in 2001. Since then it has moved further north and can be found along Southern England and Wales. More on Ivy Bees Here

Also about was just one Green-veined White, 3 Hornet Mimic Hoverflies, 20+ Common Wasps, several Common Drone Flies & Marmalade Hoverflies, and in Penn's Wood at least 5 Harlequin Ladybirds and 1 pupae.

Here are a few images from this afternoon:

My first Ivy Bee of the Autumn

Just love these bees, so wonderful to watch. In fact I was drawn to them by their "unusual" flight movement which is reminiscent of a hoverfly.

As I was watching them, there was definitely a behaviour pattern showing. When I arrived at the spot where they were gathered, there was quite a bit of activity. And then they all disappeared only to return a minute or so later. As I recall, this happened last year when I was watching them. It appears that they collect pollen, and then collectively fly back to their colony, before returning to the Ivy flowers together.

A busy bee the Ivy Bee.

Just as a comparison here is a Honeybee. Slightly larger and lacking that "black & yellow" wasp like abdomen.

Not a bee but a Common Drone Fly (Eristalis tenax).

And here a Hornet Mimic Hoverfly (Volucella zonaria)............

...........and its smaller cousin a Marmalade Hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus)

A Harlequin Ladybird

And another with a slightly different pattern and colouration.

This is the pupae of the Harlequin Ladybird. Its upright position is a defensive posture which helps to discourage parasitic wasps.

This is the Orange Muscid Fly (Phaonia pallida)

Very similar to Snapdragons, this lovely yellow flower is Common Toadflax" (Linaria vulgaris) and also goes by the names of "Yellow Toadflax" and "Butter-and-eggs".