B photography.

Spring has sprung, an Olive-backed Oriole and a Pallid Cuckoo are calling, and the little native bees are working on the Hardenbergia violacea and Dillwynia cinerascens flowers along the rail trail. And, today some welcome rain is bucketing down. Yesterday was ideal for bee photography, cloudy bright and almost dead calm, you need all the help you can get with these tiny bees as they work busily through the flowers. In something of a contrast to last season, the hardenbergia seems to be the flavour of the month, twelve months ago they seemed to be only on the dillwynia, but perhaps I just missed them. One thing that stands out when looking at the photos is that the hardenbergia pollen is whitish, while the dillwynia is yellow. With the bees visiting both species in close proximity, eg. image five, it makes one wonder if there would be any hybridisation. The bee species is Lasioglossum lanaria, they are very small, probably only about 6mm long, the genus is the largest of all bee genera with over 1700 species world wide, most nest in the ground. Here is a selection of pictures, if you look carefully at three and four, you will see another creature lurking, probably an ant.

native bee


native bee


native bee


native bee


native bee


native bee


native bee


native bee

Click to enlarge

Up into the hills.

It was many years since I’d been up the track, back then I’d found a rocky shelf with a nice growth of Helichrysum leucopsideum and although early, I thought it was time to see if they were still there. In the interim though the country has been burnt, and much of it is virtually impassable due to the dense growth of Golden Wattle saplings, often with stems barely six inches apart. This has the effect of suppressing most other plant growth, I’ve seen two orchid hotspots, outstanding diuris and thelymitra areas suffer this fate with not an orchid to be seen, when pre fire they were in outstanding numbers. And this was the case with the helichrysum spot, although I’ll check again in a month or two. Continuing on and gaining altitude, there were no flowering plants to be seen apart from the wattle, until a patch of Dampiera stricta caught my eye. Blue is a somewhat unusual colour in the wildflower spectrum and the Dampiera is always nice to see.

dampiera stricta

A pair of grass blue butterflies were engaged in a mating dance while I was taking shots, and occasionally they would perch and bask with wings spread in the warm sunshine.

grass blue

The Hibbertias are always a bright splash of colour in the bush, they are just starting to come into flower at this altitude.

hibbertia

A couple of pomaderris species were in bud, but Dusty Miller, Spyridium parvifolium was out.

dusty miller

A couple of different wattles showed up as I drove higher, Acacia genistifolia,

acacia genistifolia

and Acacia paradoxa. I’ve found the form growing at higher altitudes to be more slender and attractive than the lowland form. Still has plenty of spines though….

acacia paradoxa

Pink Bells, tetratheca species are delightful wildflowers, I’ve yet to satisfactorily identify this species, it has a mix of characteristics that don’t quite fit the published descriptions that I have.

tetratheca

In the same colour range, the Hardenbergia violacea was just starting to flower.

hardenbergia

Stypandra glauca was flowering of course, plus an occasional brachyscome, and the White Marianth.

nodding blue lily


brachyscome


white marianth

On the way back I stopped again at the dampiera, and struck the jackpot with my first native bee for the season. My bee man Mitch has given me the name Lasioglossum calophyllae for it.

native bee.


native bee

Early in the season, but plenty of interest with more to come as the season progresses.

Click to enlarge.

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