Posts Tagged ‘nature photography’

Foxy Garden

I wasn’t surprised by the deer.  We had been bribing the deer with little gifts of spent pea vines and leafed out fruit tree suckers.  It was the ‘blur in the background’ that caught my attention.  It wasn’t the first time we had seen the fox.

4906BB Mr. Fox came calling, 4-7-17 copy

The first time we spotted Mr. Fox was back in April, when he was visiting the bird feeding area. The crows had been spilling the food onto the ground where they could get it easier. Mr. Fox could get it too…how often I wonder?

The fox was probably cleaning up the dropped plums.  My wife wonders if foxes can eat cats.  It looks big enough.

Speaking of deer…

19 Baby deer, spots, 8-8-17

August 8…A baby deer appeared for the first time this evening. My very observant wife says the mama deer trusted us enough to bring out her fawn. My wife had been observing the doe for a few days. When the doe came out yesterday, she kept looking back at something, staring at what, another deer? Possibly her fawn, making sure it stayed put.

11 The proud Mom, 8-8-17

The proud mama… I’m quite sure the deer can see us looking at them through the window. How do I know? There are times in the spring when there’s nothing out on the board. The deer will just STAND AND STARE.

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2830B Mason bee on Meadowfoam, 4-20-16 copy

Late April, for the first time ever, I start seeing Mason bees in the Meadowfoam.

3260 Mason bees + Guidance Mandala, 5-29-16

My sister is a watercolor artist. She gave me her Guidance Mandala because she knows I like bees. I realize Mason bees don’t fly too far from home, but bees need all the help they can get, so I hung it here near the Mason bee nesting blocks.

3257 Guidance Mandala, 5-29-16

A closer look at the Guidance Mandala. When Vikki paints a mandala she never knows where it will take her. During one of our weekly phone conversations she was inspired to add a circle of bees.

2503 Mason bees set up, 3-6-16, detailed

I set up the nesting blocks on March 6. Then I waited a good three weeks to see any activity. The cocoons had been in the refrigerator since October. You don’t want them emerging too soon because there won’t be enough to eat (or so I have read), but I always hold my breath hoping after five months of ‘chilling,’ they will emerge.

2587 Mason bee, long antenna-male 3-29-16 copy

Finally on March 28, I see a bee. This must be a male. Males have long antenna. They usually emerge first because they are laid last in the tubes (being expendable.) Predators will be able to reach them easily. 😦

2582 Mason bees emerging, 3-28-16 copy

I see them slowly ‘waking up.’ This could be a female. The antennae look shorter.

26 Mason bee tubes filled so far copy

May 19…I start to fill pretty smug. 26 tubes filled already…until I come across this post of Rusty Burlew (of Honeybeesuite) in Washington state.

mason-bee-housing

Rusty says one of these cans will fill up in about three days. I count the number of straws to realize there are close to 100 straws in each can. Either there are more Mason bees in her area or they like the straws in cans better. I’m gonna try this method next year. Photo reprinted with permission from Rusty Burlew.

3147A German wasp on nesting block copy

When I first saw this wasp go into a Mason bee nesting tube I was afraid it would start digging into the tubes. I asked Steve, of “In a beekeeper’s Garden” about this. His reply, “Your wasp is or has all the markings of a vespula germanica (german wasp) which lives in all the northern hemisphere, they are a social wasp so live in nests. they are great pest controllers eating caterpillars , insects and the odd bee (usually weak ones ) they won’t break into your bee tubes :)” In the video, I watch the German Wasp patrolling my garden. I watch until the wasp decides I haven’t gotten video permission from her and chases me away. 🙂

3274A Mason wasp? copy

I think this is a resting Potter Wasp. I’m not sure what it’s up to. While I was grabbing my camera it poked into the tube and then emerged for it’s camera debut.

3290 Plum tree loaded, 6-4-16JPG

Want some plums? It looks like the Mason bees have been busy. My Methley trees are loaded with plums. Here are some recipes from Glory Garden.

3260A Mason bees, late May

It’s late May…I haven’t seen any activity for awhile which probably means the Mason bees are finished pollinating for this year. The cocoons are in a very delicate stage right now. I’ll be storing them in a cool inside room to protect them from yellow jackets. In September or October, I’ll remove the tubes from the blocks to store in the frig until next March. (Maybe I’ll have some new housing by then.)

More about Mason bees

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Standing tall, Bee Beard Log hive is doing well since it was revived in August 2014. It swarmed at least once on May 11, but that swarmed moved on without us capturing it.

Standing tall, Bee Beard Log hive is doing well since it was revived in August 2014. It swarmed at least once on May 11 of this year, but that swarm moved on without us getting it.

Sept. 23...Lots of good orange pollen being carried into this hive. This hive will go into winter without me intervening in any way.

Sept. 23…Lots of good orange pollen being carried into this hive. This hive will go into winter without me intervening in any way.

Sept. 17...These birdhouse bees are doing so well, I'm starting to think that small bee hives are the way to go. This hive has no other openings other than the entrance. I don't understand how they can survive without much ventilation, but they are doing well, which is a good way to head into the winter shadow.

Sept. 17…These birdhouse bees are doing so well, I’m starting to think that small bee hives are the way to go. This hive has no other openings other than the entrance. I don’t understand how they can survive without much ventilation, but they are doing well, which is a good way to head into their second winter shadow.

Here's a closer look at the entrance showing how crowded they are.

Here’s a closer look at the entrance showing how crowded they are.

The video shows the amount of pollen flying in. This is at 125x (digital zoom) and not as sharp.

The video shows the amount of pollen flying in.

May 14...The day after the big swarm moved into the Grandkids Log hive, Bee-atrice went into swarm mode.

May 14…The day after the big swarm moved into the Grandkids Log hive, Bee-atrice log hive went into swarm mode.

May 14...Ron got this one. He lives just up the road. I'm happy to report that Ron says they are doing well. They are active and bringing lots of pollen. They can be seen flying well here... https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Byp0gCTqCQ6rZjBJVmZOa0FJZzQ/view?usp=sharing

May 14…Ron got this one. He lives just up the road. I’m happy to report that Ron says they are doing well. They are active and bringing in lots of pollen.
They can be seen flying well here…

Sept. 23...I'm down to only one Warre hive now. It's doing well with lots of pollen coming in. You can see Bee-atrice Log hive 'shuttered' in the background. When the wasps were running rampant inside, I had to wrap it up. I'll clean it out (scorch it) come spring and try to attract another swarm.

Sept. 23…I’m down to only one Warre hive now. It’s doing well with lots of pollen coming in. You can see Bee-atrice Log hive ‘shuttered’ in the background. When the wasps were running rampant inside, I had to wrap it up. I’ll clean it out (scorch it) come spring and try to attract another swarm.

Bees head into the Warre loads of pollen. This hive is heavy. I haven't taken any honey from it. I think they will make it through the winter without me feeding.

Bees head into the Warre loaded with pollen. This hive is heavy. I haven’t taken any honey from it. I think they will make it through the winter without me feeding.

Sept. 23, 2015...Sad to say, this hive is not going to make it. The temperature started falling in mid July, and now I see wasps nosing around and drones flying out.

Sept. 23, 2015…Sad to say, the Grand Kids Log hive is not going to make it. The temperature started falling in mid July, and now I see wasps nosing around and drones flying out.  The Grand Kids are back.

Sept. 3...Temperature is down to 87F (30C)

Sept. 3…Temperature is down to 87F (30C)

Sept. 21...Looking up into the empty combs, this hive is clearly NOT going to make it. When the wasps start attacking, I'll plug up the entrances and wait until spring. Maybe I'll get lucky with another swarm...

Sept. 21…Looking up into the empty combs, I see a lack of bees.  Clearly the queen isn’t laying and I’ve seen a few drones exiting.   Footnote:  This hive must have superceded a queen, because there are not only new bees, but also new comb.  This is the only hive I can see from the house…from where I eat actually, and I gotta say, I’m so happy to see the bees flying to and from this hive when I sit down to eat!!!

Steve says his swarm 'is hanging in there,' but he's starting to feed again because they haven't built up enough comb to get them through the winter.

Steve says his swarm ‘is hanging in there,’ but he’s starting to feed again because they haven’t built up enough comb to get them through the winter.

We are headed into autumn with four hives, which is all I ever really wanted, but I had really hoped that Grand Kids Log hive would be among the survivors.  It begs the question…are smaller hives better?  I’m beginning to think so.  I’ve thought about partitioning off the big log hive, but then there might be air flow issues.  The birdhouse bees seem to deal with lack of air flow, so maybe it won’t be an issue.  Right now I’ll let nature take it’s course and hope I can attract another swarm in spring.

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The new Echium Bee Bed is filling in well.  From the lobelia in the front to the tallest Tower of Jewels echium plant, they all attract bees.

The new Echium Bee Bed is filling in well. From the colorful lobelia in front to the tallest Tower of Jewels echium plant, they all attract bees.

July 3...Hugelkulture bed is looking so much better since we weeded, planted, and mulched with compost and wood chips.

July 3…The Hugelkulture bed is looking so much better since we weeded, planted, and mulched with compost and wood chips.

A view from our garden bench in July reveals the garden in full glory.

A view from our garden bench in July reveals the garden in full glory.

July 3...The dwarf sunflowers are open and attracting bees already.  It's older siblings can only watch with envy.

July 3…The dwarf sunflowers are open and attracting bees already. It’s older siblings can only watch with envy.

This deer seems to be asking me the question...

This deer seems to be asking me the question…”What are you doing out here at this time in the evening, this is MY time?”  In the video you’ll see why she looked up…she picked up the sound of the camera’s zoom lens.  Their hearing is phenomenal, but luckily their eyesight isn’t that good.  I’m standing in the sunlight just a short distance away, but she can’t see me very well.

Arrrgh!  Deer damage!

Arrrgh! Deer damage!

I'm not sure if there's any reason to net what's left of these potatoes.  They have been stripped of their leaves by the 'cute' deer. :(

I’m not sure if there’s any reason to net what’s left of these potatoes. They have been stripped of their leaves by the ‘cute’ deer. 😦

I mulched this corn in the morning...by the afternoon, the deer had already sampled it.  A temporary fence is now in place to protect it...I hope it recovers.

I mulched this corn in the morning…by the afternoon, the deer had already sampled it. A temporary fence is now in place to protect it…I hope it recovers.

This tomato's only crime was to be planted at the end of the bed where the deer could reach it easily.

This tomato’s only crime was to be planted at the end of the bed where the deer could reach it easily.

Planted from seed last year, these Hollyhocks have survived the deer twice.   We're so happy to finally see the blooms, but we've yet to see the bees on them.

Planted from seed last year, these Hollyhocks have survived the deer twice. We’re so happy to finally see the blooms, but we’ve yet to see any bees on them.

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…that’s when she called me.

May 1, 2014 Mid afternoon...Photo by Mary Schamehorn.  I'm glad Mary got a shot of this.  When I got there, they were relatively peaceful.

May 1, 2014 mid afternoon…Photo by Mary Schamehorn. I’m glad Mary got a shot of this. When I got there, they were relatively peaceful.

4:38 pm...By the time I got there, the bees had settled in.

4:38 pm…By the time I got there, the bees had settled within the birdhouse.  I looked at it, determined I could remove it from the post, and got my tools together.  Ha ha, the screws were rusty I couldn’t get them to budge before stripping them out.  I had to remove the post too.

I placed the birdhouse next to the newly assembled and baited  Warre hive.   I was hoping the bees would recognize a 4 star lodge with ample room to grow.

I placed it  next to the newly assembled and baited Warre hive in my bee garden.  I was hoping the bees would recognize a 4 star lodging with ample room to grow…they didn’t.  I gave them plenty of time to reconsider, but they weren’t having it.  I couldn’t leave them there, like that.  I didn’t want to grind the brackets off or pry the birdhouse floor off because it would have been too stressful.  “Dramatic and traumatic” are words I like to avoid in beekeeping.

Okay, I’ve got to move the birdhouse out of the bee garden because, well, we’ve got to be able to weed and water without the bees buzzing us.  After two days, I pre-dug a post hole, waited til night and ‘posted’ the birdhouse among the ferns about 20 feet away.  (Something most beekeepers would tell you NOT to do because the bees might not be able to find their way back to the hive.)  I stuffed tissue paper into the entrance hole so the bees would notice something was different.  They would have to make orientation flights all over again.  I’m thinking that maybe the Warre was too close to the birdhouse…if I move it away, maybe they will want it more.  My wife said I was crazy to think that.  I says, ‘maybe,’ but we’ve got to get it out of the way.

 

Next day, the birdhouse/hive is in it's new location.  The bees are aware something is different because of the tissue paper stuffed in the entrance hole.

Next day, the birdhouse/hive is in it’s new location. The bees are aware something is different because of the tissue paper stuffed in the entrance hole.

 

As I wife bicycled to town, I noticed a bunch of activity between the birdhouse and the Warre hive.  I got my camera to document my findings...I was going to have it on camera so I could show my wife I knew what I was doing.

As my wife bicycled to town, I noticed a bunch of activity between the birdhouse and the Warre hive. I got my camera to document my findings…I was going to have it on camera so I could show her I knew what I was doing.  They are fanning from the nasonov gland to indicate the queen is within.  Wow, that didn’t take long.  My wife is going to have to admit I was right, but I’ll be humble and admit it’s just a stroke of luck.  But it was too good to be true.  By the time she returned the crowd at the entrance was thinning and the bees rejected this hive once again.

 

Here is where they will stay.  It's the house they chose and while the location has changed a few times, the house is the same.

Here is where they will stay. It’s the house they chose and while the location has changed a few times, the house is the same.  I just wish I could have fastened it to a taller post.

Mary's bees have settled in now.  They have discovered the Poached egg meadowfoam.

Mary’s bees have settled in now. They have discovered the Poached egg meadowfoam.

Mary's bee cleaning off her antennae.  How do I know they are Mary's bees?  The abdomen colors are different.  I'm happy to get new genetics in my bee yard.

Mary’s bee cleaning off her antennae. How do I know they are Mary’s bees? The abdomen colors are different. I’m happy to get new genetics in my bee yard.

Mayor Mary’s side of the story…   (Scroll towards the bottom til you see the birdhouse swarm)

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June 23, 2013...The walk into the woods starts here.  The creek usually flows under a wooden plank.  For several months, the water has not been flowing, probably due to the lowest rainfall this year on record.

June 23, 2013…The walk into the woods starts here. The creek usually flows under a wooden plank. For several months, the water has not been flowing, probably due to 2013 being the lowest rainfall on record.  To be precise, the water HAS been flowing, but not where you can see it.  Close to the point where the path crosses the creek, the creek dives underground.

A small pool of water can be seen about two feet upstream before the water flows into the underground.

Looking through the skunk cabbage, a small pool of water can be seen a short distance upstream before the water disappears underground.

June 23, 2013...The water flows to here, then goes underground.  It's weird, you can hear the water flowing, but then in disappears.

June 23, 2013…The water flows to here.  It’s weird, you can hear the water flowing, but you can’t see where it goes.

February 17, 2014...After a couple of weeks of on again, off again heavy periods of rain, the ground is saturated and the water is flowing.

February 17, 2014…After a couple of weeks of on again, off again heavy periods of rain, the ground is saturated and the water is flowing.  It’s been over a year.   Skunk cabbage is just poking up.

February 17, 2014...skunk cabbage just starting.

Old snag forms a backdrop to the skunk cabbage

Survey stakes, uh-oh

Survey stakes, uh-oh

They want to put a road here.

“East edge of road…?”  Oh no…they want to put a road here.

An article about creeks and rivers going underground.

March 17, 2014...Creek still flowing.  Skunk cabbage growing well.

March 17, 2014…Creek still flowing. Skunk cabbage growing well.

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February 13, 2014...This bumble bee (bombus Melanopygus, I believe) was sipping honey when we noticed all the mites on her back.

February 13, 2014…This bumble bee (bombus Melanopygus, I believe) was sipping honey when we noticed all the mites on her back.  We would like to try to remove them…Does anyone have any ideas of how to accomplish that?

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