Have you noticed the huge number of butterflies around this year? If you haven’t seen them yet, take a trip to Cliffe or Northward Hill right now as they have thousands!
Sue Healey took these excellent photos at Northward Hill last Wednesday whilst on a walk with Malcolm and a few others.
The first is one of the thousands of Painted Ladies to be seen there at the moment.
The next shows the two bees mating on a teasel head. They had an all black body, very dark wings and a deeper orange tail which came to a point, rather than rounded. Malcolm believes the larger of the two to be a virgin queen newly emerged.
The last picture shows the larger of the two bees on a fleabane flower which gives some idea of scale, and a better idea of its colouring and shape.
If you have any thoughts regarding identification, please add a comment to this post if you think you know.
Addendum: Malcolm has now done some research and he believes it is the cuckoo bee Bombus Rupestris. The rusty orange bands on the abdomen and the dark smokey wings are the features he used. Not previously recorded on our patch. See the BWARS website for more pictures and distribution map.