James Lowen 

I have also enjoyed watching Red Mason Bees explore our bug house.


22 April 2020 Busy bee

I had never heard of the word 'furlough' before this year. Part of me now wishes that I had a job so that I could be furloughed. Instead, I am busier than ever (albeit not earning money): helping home-school my daughter; doing the bulk of the household stuff given that my wife is a schoolteacher online-schooling her students; writing a moth book (in the home straight now...); and e-joining Phil Saunders  to participate in the weekly birders pub quiz on Twitter (indeed, winning it three times out of three so far). But I'm not even remotely as busy as the bees of garden and neighbourhood that I am trying, and usually failing, to identify. They command as much respect as NHS workers and anyone else doing serious stuff to curb COVID. One bee that Phil and Mike Hoit helped me identify is Short-fringed Mining-bee, which seems common in a small area of an open space that my daughter and I cycle round for our daily exercise. 

Blogging is a strange past-time. Although I can see visitor figures, I have no idea whether people actually value what I pout out there, or whether I am essentially talking to myself. I had long thought it the latter, but the following shout-out, by the lovely, talented author Jon Dunn in the Rare Bird Alert weekly update, suggests that I might have at least one reader. To whom I am very grateful... 

Sadly, the Red-girdled Mining-bee escaped before photography. I found a colony of these on a sandy road verge. Shall have to go back. Moths have been quiet in the cold easterly-based winds. Some goodies though, particularly any early Chamomile Conch Cochylidia implicitana and Mullein (punk doing press-ups).