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Early spring at Scatter Creek Wildlife Area

Yesterday morning I visited the Scatter Creek Wildlife Area here in Thurston County. I met my friend Glen out there for a little stroll through the large area that was wiped out by a wildfire last year. The place looks barren, but life is springing back in spite of the devastation. We didn’t see many bees, but enough to make it interesting.

I encourage all you beekeepers and bee lovers to get outside with your cameras or cell phones as soon as possible. One of the best parts of beekeeping is it gets you out into the natural world and makes you much more aware of it. So go and shoot anything that moves. I guarantee you will learn a lot and have fun at the same time. You never know what you might see.

This bumble looked so pretty on the red dead nettle, a perfect bee on a perfect flower at Scatter Creek.
This bumble bee looked so pretty on the purple deadnettle, a perfect bee on a perfect flower. This is most likely a Bombus sitkensis or a B. flavifrons. © Rusty Burlew.
I found this bee, a male Andrena, swimming in a puddle. It was thrashing around and obviously distressed. After snapping the photo, I lifted it out and it immediately flew away.
I found this bee, a male Andrena, swimming in a puddle. He was thrashing around and obviously distressed. After snapping the photo, I lifted him out and he immediately flew away. © Rusty Burlew.
I love the mauve leaves with dew drops reflecting the sun. © Rusty Burlew.
I love the mauve lupine leaves with dew drops reflecting the sunlight. © Rusty Burlew.
Although I know nothing about this fly, I had to admire the yellow. So bright!
Although I know nothing about this fly, I had to admire the yellow. So bright! © Rusty Burlew.  Update: According to BugGuide, this is a golden dung fly, Scathophaga stercoraria male.

Comments

Glen Buschmann
Reply

Thanks Rusty for the afternoon and the photos and notes. It will take longer for me to write my column, for a different look. It is great to share wonderful locations with a friend, and when I compare your photos with mine I think of when I sit with others at a “pot-luck” meal, amazed by how folk can go through the same buffet line and come up with such different servings.

BTW, Nancy’s best guess is the bumble is a queen Bombus sitkensis; it could alternately be B. flavifrons (unless we are both wrong).

Again many thanks. GB

Rusty
Reply

Glen,

Thanks for showing me a great spot. It’s funny, with your directions I got home quickly. With Google directions and getting lost, my mileage out was three times my mileage back.

My goal this year is to make a list of pollinator spots around this area and then to hit them all on a continuous rotation. I like to have a backlog of photos I can use the rest of the year.

Thanks to you and Nancy for the bumble i.d. As you know, bumble bees absolutely perplex me. It is easy to label them “bumble bee” but hard to go further.

Ray
Reply

Lovely pictures Rusty, thank you. Makes me even more sorry I didn’t have my camera yesterday when I observed around 20 Bumble Bees on an Alyssum plant in our garden in the afternoon sun. Made me really happy as I have spent much time in the past year or so making extra habitat for over wintering Bumbles and other solitary bees. Today we have rain forecast 🙁

On a separate note, I do love the way your site leads me onto previous posts, the three little pictures at the bottom of each of your new posts are great. I have just been on a little adventure reading about your pink hive tools, queens in your underwear drawer and a hilarious tale on the subject of “I love bees but hate beekeeping”!! I spend many a happy hour wading through the back catalogue. Excellent, may it ever continue.

Rusty
Reply

Ray,

Thank you for the nice compliment! And yes, get a photo of all the hard-won bumble bees.

Lise Bois
Reply

Beautiful pictures! Love the yellow fly.

Here in Ontario, it’s still too cold to see bees, but soon…

Thanks for sharing!

Anna S
Reply

Beautiful photos, Rusty! Beautiful insects, fly included 🙂 And I am glad you helped Mr. Andrena out of the water!

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