Saturday, May 2, 2009

Perplexing bees and pretty trees.

Today at Paulik Park, on a nature walk, we saw bumble bee queens, one of which was identifiable (the Yellow-faced Bumble Bee, Bombus vosnesenskii), and one of which was not. The following is the mystery bumbler:


The bee was conspicuously large, and was moving quickly among tufts of grass, not cooperating for a photo. Nevertheless, from the somewhat blurry photo I was able to take, it seemed to key out unambiguously (here) to Bombus perplexus, the Confusing Bumble Bee. However, confusingly, it didn't look a lot like any of the online images. None showed that big black abdomen. Confusing indeed. Bombus perplexus ranges from Alaska to Maine, and south to Georgia, but the map at the bumble bee site showed no instances from southwestern BC and region. Absence of data, or incorrect diagnosis?

And on another note:


The fragrant and pastel-hued Flowering and Blossoming Trees Edition of Festival of the Trees is now up at Orchards Forever. Click on over, and join in the springtime (northern hemisphere version) celebration of trees in flower.

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