Last weekend’s training (20 - 21 April) took place in London at the Walthamstow Angling Academy, kindly offered by Thames Water. We were slightly apprehensive as to the suitability of the venue as we had never been before but our fears were soon allayed. In fact the site forms part of the largest urban wetland in Europe! Although the indoor venue took the form of a portacabin, it contained all mod cons including giant plasma screen! And despite the late season there were some cherry trees in bloom to attract the all important bumblebees.
On the Saturday Dawn led a Volunteer Training Workshop attended by a very enthusiastic crowd. We have never had so many questions asked during our Plight of the Bumblebee talk. After a session covering the myriad ways you can volunteer for the trust, we adjourned to the Ferry Boat Inn across the road for a very filling buffet lunch.
In the afternoon the group was split into two. One had a brainstorming session about volunteering with Dawn and the other group attended a bumblebee safari. Despite the lack of forage we saw several Buff-tailed queens out nest searching as well as feeding on the cherry. We were lucky to also net a large Common carder queen as well as get a fleeting glimpse of an Early bumblebee. The second group after the swap over found some very cute solitary bees, the Hairy-footed flower bee and the Tawny mining bee. It was such a tranquil oasis for a walk. We saw many birds as well as butterflies such as Comma, Peacock and Cabbage white.
We were delighted to have a full house for BeeWalk training the following day. Thankfully the marathon didn’t cause any travel disruptions. It was lovely to finally meet some of our long standing BeeWalkers as well as newer recruits. The day started with an introduction to the bumblebees, followed by an identification session. By this point Sam our Conservation Officer for East England joined us. After another tasty lunch Dawn led an interactive quiz and then we all went bumblebee spotting in the glorious sunshine. As well as the three species also seen the day before we saw Garden bumblebee feeding on White dead nettle. A solitary Andrena species made an appearance as well as several fluffy Bee flies. Follow this blog if you would like to learn more about this fascinating species http://urbanpollinators.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/bee-impostors-on-loose.html I was very excited to see my first Brimstone butterfly!
There are still places available on the next weekend of workshops taking place in Leeds on the 4th and 5th of May.
Hope to see you there.
Small cabbage white