Sunday 31 August 2014

The Pound Sterling and Plan B

OK, you can relax, this has absolutely nothing to do with the upcoming Scottish Referendum, or the debate surrounding a possible currency union or otherwise.

As the weather was so peachy this morning, bright sunshine and hardly a breath of wind, we spent a bit of time in the garden. Our Lass weeding the one border that has been half-tamed and me shifting some rocks from an adjoining paddock, that the local farmer was happy for me to take.

The pile of rocks were left over from the renovation of a dry stone wall, so Mother Nature had started to reclaim them beneath a covering of grass, buttercup and dock. I gradually unearthed the lumps of stone and transported them across to OTT, building another cairn for later use around the property. Towards the bottom of the pile, I discovered a bundle of dried grass that looked for all the world like the nest of a rodent, perhaps a mouse or vole. On closer inspection, however, it became apparent that the occupants were, in fact, bees.

I quickly took a few photos with my phone and replaced a slab over the nest, so as not to disturb the bees too much. Posting the pics on the local Facebook insect group page brought confirmation that bees do occasionally re-use rodent nests, though whether with permission or not was harder to gauge!

I think that in the last pic, towards the bottom of the shot, it's just possible to make out the comb. Sadly, none of the photos were useful in IDing the species of bee.


biobabbler said...

Direct quotes:
"Jimminy Christmas, would you look at that?"
"God, are they CUTE."

Very handsome little bees, and I had NO idea they did such things. V. interesting. A mouse spp. in Calif. is called (by some) the parasitic mouse, 'cause it has a habit of moving into woodrat chateaus.

If it's the mouse species I'm thinking of, I expect its main defense against getting booted out by woodrats is obscene levels of cuteness. Knee-bucklingly cute, they are, with huge ears, big, brown eyes, and long, fluffy tails. And they are naturally chubby and round. D'aw...

Imperfect and Tense said...

It's possible that the nest was made by an Orkney Vole. I've not been able to photograph this species close up... yet. So far, I've been limited to a long range shot (whilst on holiday last year) during the brief seconds when I've spotted one. They are abundant (Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl food!) but difficult to see.