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BeeWalk Training 2013

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Total Posts: 101

Joined 2012-05-31

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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.
http://bumblebeeconservation.org/get-involved/events-calendar/
Hope to see you there.

20th April

Bumblebees:
Bombus terrestris
B pascuorum
B pratorum

Solitary bees:
Anthophora plumipes
Andrena fulva

Butterflies:
Comma
Peacock
Small cabbage white

21st April

Bumblebees:
Bombus terrestris
B pascuorum
B pratorum
B hortorum

Solitary bees:
Andrena spp

Butterflies:
Comma
Brimstone

Flies:
Bombylius major

     
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Total Posts: 35

Joined 2012-08-13

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Hello Elaine

I had a fantastic day today, and look forward to getting started with my bee walk survey, although it might be a week or two, as we go on holiday next Friday. In the meantime I have been looking through some of last years images, and thought I would share this one with you as I found your help in IDing the males particularly helpful. Here is a male Early bumblebee, I know now, after my training day today smile What a fabulous face full of yellow hair he has!

Louise

     

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Total Posts: 101

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Thanks Louise for the kind words and for the gorgeous photos of a fluffy male Early bumble. He’s a cracker.

Here’s a wee report about our latest training weekend

Dawn and I held a second weekend of training workshops at the RSPB’s Fairburn Ings reserve near Leeds. Like the previous venue it is another wetland but with plenty habitat for bees thankfully. While Dawn was setting up, my day got off to an amazing start as I reccied a suitable route for a bumblebee safari, I heard my first Cuckoo! There were many queens about too even at 9 am.

We were staggered by the number of people willing to give up their bank holiday weekend to learn about bumblebees and to volunteer to promote their plight. After the morning session and a hearty sandwich lunch that we struggled to finish, I took the first group on a bumblebee safari. This is one of the events that we encourage volunteers to do in their local area. Some very eagle-eyed people spotted a bee going under some tree roots. I placed the net over the spot as quickly as I could but was made to wait. In fact we thought we lost her but eventually she emerged. I had a very pleasant surprise when I saw she was a Tree bumblebee. My first one ever! We also saw some beautiful velvety Red-tailed bumblebees, saw Common carders feeding on white dead-nettle and Buff-tailed bumblebees. The second group were not as fortunate due to the clouds thickening and a drop in temperature. But we still saw two species. During the concurrent session on volunteering, Rob from the RSPB told the group about a bioblitz he is holding on a new reserve nearby called St Aidan’s. He got a great response with lots of offers to help find bumblebees.

Several enthusiastic people attended both training days but we still couldn’t believe it when they did return for more. Sunday was still a little cloudy but warmer with sunny spells. During the morning coffee break we spotted Brimstone and Peacock in the garden. After an in-depth ID session and lunch we had an outdoor session earlier than planned to make the most of the good weather. Unfortunately it did cloud over. We quickly netted a Red-tailed bumble bee and a Common carder. After that point we mainly saw Common carders, they were out in force and great to see. While the bumblebees were eluding us we netted a Bee fly, a furry bumblebee mimic. Actually near the river we saw lots of stripey Buff-tails but they were too quick for my net. What we did catch were some hollowed out bee corpses that had probably been eaten by birds. We also came across lots of small holes in bare soil, an aggregation of mining bees. We finished the session by netting a mining bee called Andrena haemorrhoa in the garden and trying to convince members of the public that it was in fact a bee.

It was wonderful to meet some of our regular BeeWatchers and great that they and others are willing to give BeeWalk a go. We are very grateful to everyone who attended who made the weekend so enjoyable.

The RSPB visitor centre was an excellent venue and the staff were really helpful. But special thanks have to go to Peter Bower a BBCT volunteer based in Warrington who was a huge help. Not only did he help us tidy up and wash up, but he also taxi-ed us to our B&B and to the train station. Thank you so much Peter and have a great time at the Frodsham Bee Festival.

4th May

Bumblebees:
Bombus terrestris
B pascuorum
B lapidarius
B hypnorum

5th May

Bumblebees:
Bombus terrestris
B pascuorum
B lapidarius

Solitary bees:
Andrena haemorrhoa

Butterflies:
Peacock
Brimstone

Flies:
Bombylius major