It was only the 12 February 2019 and I saw my first solitary bee taking nectar from the Viburnum tinus in the garden.
Almost immediately I spotted another one, slightly larger, but not I thought the same species.
The first bee is very much like a male to me and I was keen to get a photograph of the wing venation to identify it to genera level.
I thought I had it and saw the second bee on the ground.
The second bee looked interested in prospecting the area. Looking out for females, I wondered? This is under our plum tree and there is already a colony of Andrena cineraria in residence that will put in an appearance later in the year but I could see no sign of any holes and I did not get a wing shot.
Back inside I found that the wing venation photograph was not as good as I had hoped but I thought I could perhaps push through the identification key in Steven Falk’s Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland. When I turned up with the proposed ID as a bumblebee I realised I had gone adrift somewhere.
Never mind, perhaps another day.
Then the idea came to me that I could perhaps identify the huge white tailed queen that is with me throughout the winter on sunny days.
But no – this too is past my ken.
On the 12th. I had also seen for the first time the orange tailed queen. I am fairly certain this is Bombus pratorum, the early bumble bee.
Today, 15th. February I saw my first carder queen. I am not even trying to go closer than that. I am just happy to see so many bees in the garden in the sunshine.