The Way I See Things



I'm not sure whether he was waving his claws over his head in triumph to annoy the other old guys, or singing If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands, but either way he was clearly pretty pleased with himself.

I was touring the garden with the camera at lunch time and not finding all that much, when I spotted the female hairy-footed flower bee asleep on one of the honeysuckles. I knew she was asleep because she was anchored by her mandibles, and only a faint rhythmic expansion of her abdomen betrayed any life at all. Ah, I thought. How sweet!

I'd already grabbed a record shot and was homing in for a better photo, when the male, who'd been hovering nearby, swept past me and pounced. She stirred not a single muscle, even when he threw himself backwards in the extravagant dismount shown in my second photo, and levered her abdomen right up off the leaf. He flew above her for a few seconds and then jumped her again - once more waving his forelegs in the air, and then dismounting with a flourish. Still she didn't stir. Surely not, I thought, as he circled round once more... but yes: in he came for a third time. On this occasion he waved just one leg in the air, as if he was competing in a rodeo on the world's least bothered bronco.

Even Mr Plumpie appeared to feel that four engagements might be a little egregious, because after dismounting once again he hovered over his paramour for just a few seconds, and then zoomed off to feed on the nearby crab apple. Mrs Plumpie stayed soundly asleep for the next two minutes, then woke, stretched, yawned, and said, "That was a freakily weird dream. I really must eat less cheese."

(It's possible that the last bit only happened in my head.)

When I finally dragged my attention away from the plumpies, I discovered that more hanky panky was going on just a few inches away: despite the recent autumnal weather, maybe it actually is spring, after all. I've posted the evidence here, if you'd care to see it.

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