Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Wednesday Vignette: Stalking a bumblebee

Although I'm lucky to have a healthy population of honey and mason bees, I rarely see bumblebees anymore, which is why I got excited when I saw that fat yellow and black creature buzzing about my massive Lupinus propinquus.  I ran in and grabbed my camera and was happy to find her still flitting from flower to flower when I returned.  My first couple of photos weren't great but I captured one pretty good shot before she grew too irritated with me and buzzed off.

Not the best shot but unmistakably a bumblebee

A good shot of the pollen sac she was carrying with her

This was my best shot I think, as well as my last - it's my Wednesday Vignette


The lupine appears to be a hit with both the bees and the birds.  The birds like to land on the plant's stiff stems and survey the surrounding area before taking a dip in the fountain.

House finch resting on the lupine's stem.  That house in the background is actually on the other side of the canyon that separates my neighborhood from the one to the east but the distance was foreshortened by the camera.

A male house finch entertaining 2 females in the fountain alongside the lupine


I found a few aphids attempting to set up shop on the lupine but I sent them packing (I hope).  Otherwise, the plant seems to be settling in nicely.

Although I continue to deadhead spent flowers, the lupine's branches continue to stretch further and further


For more Wednesday Vignettes, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.


All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

28 comments:

  1. That's a really different growth habit than what we see with our available lupine species--I like it.

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    1. It's new to me too, Emily. Sold as Lupinus propinquus, I understand that it's really a blue form of Lupinus arboreus; however, in contrast to the yellow form, this one's MUCH more robust.

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    1. The bumblebee was surprisingly quiet relative to the honey bees but maybe that's just because there are more of the other buzzing about.

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  3. So you are a stalker then ;)) I sometimes feel like that bee: when something smells nice when I pass it by, I always stuck my nose there and sniff, 👉🏻🌼

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    1. I DO stalk my garden quite a bit, Aga!

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  4. Kudos to you for snapping the bumble bee. I stalked one the other day but he was camera shy.Is that lupine a perennial. It certainly has a different form from any I have seen. I love the draping arms. I have always loved your birdbath and I see the birds do too.

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    1. The lupine is a perennial form. Although sold as Lupinus propinquus, I've read that it's actually a blue form of Lupinus arboreus. I'm SO happy that the prior owner left the birdbath behind - it really is a daily delight!

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  5. Yay for the bumbles! They are always a treat to spot in the garden.

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    1. There were 2 of the bumbles buzzing about the lupine early this morning - maybe word is getting out that this is a great place to forage!

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  6. Lovely bumble, Kris, and the birds are adorable in their bath. I really want to get better at capturing all the wildlife - it is so HARD - at least for me! You make it seem easy! It seems they always move around when I come, so my shots are always fuzzy and out of focus. I'll take any tips you care to share...

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    1. My brother, who is a much better photographer than I am (and also has better equipment), says the key when it comes to wildlife is patience. I try to keep that in mind but my mind tends to flit to the 100 other things I should be doing. In my case, snapping off several shots in quick succession often yields at least one usable pic.

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  7. HI Kris, I'm late coming to you. Your vase is as tropical and beautiful as ever and I've fallen in love with this shrubby lupin which looks so pretty. Very nice shots of your wildlife too. Your housefinches look a bit like our sparrows. What a luxury bird bath! Annette PS: Any chance you can do something to make commenting easier?

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    1. Wordpress and Blogger always seem to throw up challenges to communication, Annette, and I don't know what to do about that. I note that you have a Blogger profile - that's one solution I've heard for easing access. My blog allows OpenID (as well as Wordpress under the "Replay As" drop-down menu), which is supposed to resolve the problem but clearly that hasn't helped in your case. The only other option I believe I have is to open to anonymous posters but, when I did that before, I nearly drowned in the spam.

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  8. Your bumble bee is a cutie! During the drought, the birds must be especially glad for your birdbath!

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    1. Even the bees drink at the fountain, Peter! And with the birds swooping between the feeders and the fountain, I almost need a bird-traffic controller at this time of year.

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  9. My garden is overwhelmed by bees right now (they love the sage), but you're right - no bumblebees!

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    1. I read that the bumblebees form smaller colonies but it seems that, like honey bees, there's also been a significant drop in the population of many of the wild bumblebee species.

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  10. I'm not surprised you have bumblebees (hard to photograph as they are), but I'm surprised at the size of your lupine! It's one my Holy Grail plants--any species, any color. I just cannot seem to grow them even though I see them by the side of the road.

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    1. Wild lupine line the roads here too, Gerhard, but I've yet to get them to establish in my garden. This Lupinus propinquus was purchased from Annie's and, thus far, it seems the most vigorous of the varieties I've tried. I planted L. chamissionis last year (or maybe the year before) and, although it grew and flowered well for a time, it was consumed almost overnight by a hoard of shiny black beetles.

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  11. That's a great birdbath. Amazing all the activity it generates in your garden. The Lupine is cool. I got a couple of the annual kind this year appearing from last years's seeds, the bees do love them.

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    1. I'm so pleased to have the fountain/birdbath. I can't imagine my backyard garden without it (even if I could do without the raccoons' fixation on it).

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  12. Well done with the shots of the bumble bee, never easy! Maybe the birds will eat the aphids on the lupine.

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    1. I think I'd have to cut off their seed to get those birds to work for a living, Christina! I do have some hard-working ladybugs (you may call them ladybirds), though.

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  13. What a pretty lupin! ( You say lupine, we say lupin.) Lupin aphid is a nuisance, well spotted it can ruin a plant very quickly. We have loads of bumbles here, they nest in the eaves of the house.

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    1. We've had far fewer aphids this year. Part of this may be the result of vigilance on my part but I think the fact that we didn't get much rain this year, resulting in less juicy new plant growth, was also a factor. I choose to believe that anyway - it lessens the sting of the drought.

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  14. Do you think the lady finches were impressed by the male strutting his stuff in the bathing pool? I guess male behavior (i.e. strutting) is not species specific! ;-D

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    1. I can't even definitively say those were lady finches as my recognition is based mainly on the coloring of the males. It's a good guess but, for all I know, the male house finch could have been entertaining an entirely different species.

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