Knighton Wood, West Stafford
Tuesday May 28th 2019
To the south and east of West Stafford is a huge area of gravel pits. These are currently in the process of being developed into an area of recreational lakes and holiday homes known as Silverlake. In the middle is an ancient wood, once at the edge of Warmwell Airfield and with plenty of WW2 artefacts still visible. Whilst I was exploring the area today I came across a nest of our commonest bumblee, the Buff-tailed Bumblebee. I placed my camera on the ground next to the entrance hole and just left it recording. I like this video as much for the soundtrack as anything else. You can mostly hear a Blackbird singing, occasionally joined by a Wren and some chattering Jackdaws.
Yesterday I was at Cerne Abbas where I found a nest of what used to be a much rarer species, the Tree Bumblebee. Twenty years ago these were unheard of in the UK but have now spread extensively northwards from their original range in Southern Europe.
Another bee that has increased dramatically in recent years is the Ivy Bee. This is not a bumblebee but a much smaller mining bee. They nest in individual
burrows in large colonies, usually in bare soil in hedge banks or even garden lawns. This video, made near Lulworth last October, shows a mass of male Ivy Bees trying to mate with young females as they leave the colony for the first time.