Bumbling along

Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Thursday 1st July 1999

bee grooming A BUMBLE BEE lands on the edge of a flower tub by a Fuschia, circles around on the spot and starts grooming herself. She (I take it this is a female) combs her fur, first with her back and then with her front pair of legs, moving left and right legs in opposite directions simultaneously.

bumble bees She grooms her antennae, like someone combing a fringe, cleans her long tongue and even scratches her waist like a dog.

buzzing off mason bee I rescued an orange-tailed Mason Bee (pictured on the right) from a bucket on the patio the other day. For the last two months they haven't been as active around their nest holes in the brickwork.

dog daisieshoverfly

Hoverflies, including a tiny one, are attracted to the open flowers of the Dog Daisies. Only the bumble bee, with its tongue as long, in proportion to its head, as an elephant's trunk, can cope with the fuschias.

sycamore foliage I do a little pen and ink study of the foliage of a Sycamore in the wood across the meadow. It's always a balancing act, drawing foliage; how to suggest the form of the tree without going over the top and it turning out looking like knitting.

pen and wash drawing As an antidote to that, I do a fountain pen outline of the trees then, with a paintbrush, paint on a few drops of clean water, so the ink runs to make a loose wash.

swift flying overhead

Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

E-mail; 'richard@daelnet.co.uk'

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