Bumblebee Bevy

I muttered recently about my efforts to capture bumblebees — too much bee and not enough bumble I wrote.

But that was BC (Before Chives): I’ve discovered that my chive plant is a bumblebee magnet.

I watched one bee for several minutes. She wasted no energy. Finished with one flower, she hopped to the next, circled it clockwise, checked the nectar traps, then buzzed off to another.

Me and the bumblebees. Happy in our work.

Bumblebee   Bombus spp.

Fungus Among Us

I was about to despair for the mushrooms. Little snow last winter. A dry spring. Fitful spurts of rain.

But it was enough.

About to step over a rotting log I spied this dainty array of parasols below my boot. Neat and tidy, with clever stitching around the edge.

Fit for fairy or frog on a rainy day.



If At First …

Most days my camera and I get along fine.

Some days — and today was one — we don’t. This usually happens when I’m in macro mode.

After the storm ended I went out to shoot raindrops. It did not go well.

No matter what I did, the camera refused to focus. Sigh. Thoughts of trading up to a DSLR flash through my mind.

Okay, I said, we’ll do it your way. I let the camera decide. If it wouldn’t focus I’d take the shot anyway. (Two can play this game.)

The outcome? None of the photos were in focus.

But to my utter surprise, I love them. Instead of predicable sun-shining-on-raindrops, the photos spoke another language of shape and subtle colour. Other worldly. Always there, seldom seen.

Sometimes the best way out of a predicament is to re-focus your expectations.



Blimey, Look at All the Barnacles

They live in the intertidal zone, that narrow strand between high and low tides.

If you’ve ever rubbed up against them you won’t have forgotten. They’ll peel the skin right off you. A swimmer’s nightmare. A painful jolt to a hiker who stumbles into them.

Cousins to crabs and lobsters barnacles are curious creatures.

Free-living in the ocean at birth, little barnies attach themselves to rocks and logs and crab shells. Cement themselves to the surface and never move again.

They thrive underwater. Their legs, morphed into frilly appendages, sweep the water for food, drawing particles down into the opening of their self-made home.

Plates — kind of like folding doors — surround the opening. When the tide goes out they clamp shut to keep out predators and protect the barnacle from drying out.

Acorn barnacles are common on the shore I visited. Not sure why the word acorn was chosen. Someone must know.

Thatched barnacles — a type of acorn barnacle — have vertical ribs like skinny fingers on the walls of their homes. Sort of like thatching on a cottage.

Check out the photos. You’ll see the difference.



Jesus Bugs

Water striders. Pond skaters. Water skippers.

Their names suggest what they can, in fact, do:  walk on water.

Spindly, outstretched legs spread the weight, each foot forming a dimple in the liquid skin.

Surface tension in action.

It’s why feathers float.

And rocks don’t.