Having more or less decided to dig a pond in the garden, and moments from pressing the button on Amazon to buy a liner and a pump, I made one final survey of the intended site in our extensive grounds (as I hyperbolically refer to the front garden). Imagine my surprise on discovering that excavations have already started!
Small, volcana-like mounds have appeared, and it turns out the far-flung corner of my estate selected for the aquatic feature plastic waterfall has been occupied by a colony of tawny mining bees.
No, I’d never heard of these either. It turns out these bees are absolutely fascinating. They’re solitary, but not so solitary that they haven’t got together to thwart construction efforts on my pond. These little stripey buzzers dig their holes vertically into the ground, seemingly about 8 or 10 inches, and raise little families (after making sure they’ve got rid of the offending male who caused the problem, of course). I have seen them going in and out, but not having my camera with me at the time I’ve borrowed a picture of one, thankyou to wakefieldnaturalists.org
A mining bee!
So that’s my shovelling project delayed for a month or so – let’s hope the sun keeps shining.