It’s Really Summer – Longhorns and Sunflowers…

This might be the first sunflower shot of the year. I love these that are red-tinged. Here’s a longhorn in a neat position. She was grooming herself. The longhorns seem especially fond of the sunflowers. And they’re fairly aggressive and territorial. As I was shooting this one yesterday, another longhorn crashed into her – trying to knock her off/away – three different times. She maintained, though.

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So it is a Longhorn…

Still trying to figure out the species. But a great grab yesterday of it in flight. Flies lots more like a bumble than a honeybee. So pleased with this shot, too. So much detail of the little one. Plus it’s always so nice to see a sharp one in flight. I try lots but it’s really tough. Have so many “almosts”.

Raining here today so not much going on with the bees. Got another yesterday of maybe the biggest pollen baskets I’ve ever seen on a honeybee. Look forward to that tomorrow. And we’ll get out of the catmint for at least a day.

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And Another on the Sunflower…but a Longhorn This Time

Sunflower throwing pollen again. And it got all over this longhorn. Of course those are not horns, but antennae. But the name is apt, nonetheless. They really seem to like the sunflowers. And to sleep in the sunflowers, too. And they’re a pretty calm bee and don’t mind sharing. I’ve seen as many as six all tucked in together in a sunflower. Thought it looked like kids in a hostel. Just tired. Tomorrow is another big day.

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Give Thanks!

Great native on a sunflower today. Longhorn bee. That eye just gets me. And that left antenna (vs the right) really shows how razor-fine the plane of focus is on these shots (as if you need to be reminded).

Diversion here – skip this noise if you’d like:

I’m not a fan of holidays, really. This is because I think that setting aside a single day for gratitude or generosity or celebrating a person or remembering those who have passed (those just as examples – there are many more) really isn’t enough. All of those things are good things. And there’s probably nothing wrong with an annual fixed focus on those things.

I think what I’m trying to say is not so much a dig on the single-day, hard focus, but rather that I’d hope that these things would be habits in us – have become (or are becoming) innate. That we’d not need a day to honor our mothers, for example, but that would be part of who we are and how we behave – every day.

Be grateful every day and give thanks. Call your mom on a random Thursday if she’s still around. Give a gift randomly just because you’re generous – and you know it’s something the recipient will never acquire for himself. Send a “just because” card in addition to the annual birthday card.

That was kind of a loose rant. Maybe I’m saying that the reasons for the holidays we celebrate are generally good reasons. And I’d hope that these reasons are something that we can all internalize and integrate and reflect every day. And I’m looking at myself first.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

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Three-fer on a Sunflower

You’ve got the bumble in the middle, of course – the longhorn in the foreground – and who knows what that little thing is in the background behind the bumble. Not a rare thing at all. Well, maybe a little in that the longhorn seems to be okay with sharing…for now.

Now I’ll digress a little. Skip this if my otherwise commentary annoys you.

On a forum that I frequent, a person mentioned the other day that they were going to strap on their mask and go into the war zone (grocery store). I’ve reflected on that and have come to the conclusion that this virus and its lockdown have kind of separated us – even atomized us. Individual blobs at least six feet apart from one another – jealously guarding our own space. Looking askance and with suspicion at our neighbors and co-workers and co-humans. Even the masks (however necessary) are dehumanizing in their own way – I cannot see your smile.

And…just about every bit of correspondence that I receive ends with “stay safe”. I do understand. But I’d like to append stay safe with: Stay human.

We’re not at war with each other – nor are we enemies. At this time of atomization (my word), I think it’s especially important to retain our own humanity – recognize the humanity of others – and actively find appropriate ways to be the social creatures that we innately are.

I just re-read. And realized I wasn’t done. If there were ever a time to cut slack, be kind, and be slow to take offense, it’s now. People are scared. Scared people do stupid things sometimes. None of us can do much to change things on a global scale – but there’s lots we can do from the inside (within us) out (those in our orbits). You’re all sentient bee-lovers so you have a leg up (or six). Please amplify that from the inside out. That’s something we can do.

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Longhorn on a Sunflower

Longhorn Bee on a Sunflower of Dubious Genealogy

Here’s a nice profile of a longhorn bee. Their eyes…the color and the pattern. They intrigue me. Beautiful and perfect with the aesthetic. This one is fairly clean as longhorns go. They’re often covered. They don’t groom as often or well as honeybees do. At least that I’ve noticed.

And none of them seemed to quite get it in whatever bee kindergarten they didn’t attend. They rarely share and rarely play nicely with others. If they have a flower, they’ll defend it. If someone else is on a flower, they’ve got no compunction about knocking that someone off and taking it. The only exception I’ve noticed is on the larger sunflowers. Occasionally they won’t bother another bee and will work the other side.

They’re one of my favorites to shoot. They are interesting and complex from all angles. Just a beautiful creature.

And, again, the sunflower. Weeds according to some. But gems according to the pollinators. Plant some. Let them seed themselves and wander through your yard from season to season. They’ll take over for a season…then seed and begin again – there and elsewhere. One of my favorites.

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