Last year, I spent quite a lot of time ‘Out on Pelsall’ – meaning Pelsall North Common (and before all the Pellsalians and Brownhillsians get uppity with me – the age old debate over Pelsall/Nest/Wood common, etc. is moot, as from a biological recording point of view, the Local Nature Reserve boundary is for ‘Pelsall North Common’.) But I digress…
I was ‘Out on Pelsall’ because I spend the summer studying the aculeate hymenoptera (bees, wasps and ants) on site, but paying particular attention to a fab little bee called Andrena tarsata, the Tormentil Mining Bee – you’ll hear a lot more about the species in future blog posts! I was fortunate to have the company of my good friend Bex, who is much better at bumbles than I am, and we recorded a handfull of species last year. After site visits this week, we’ve actually taken the species list for Bumble Bees on site to 9! (Before we started recoding there it was only 4!)
One of the most interesting things about Pelsall North Common is that it used to be an industrial site, a foundry, with associated cottages and cottage gardens. As a result, there are lots of remnant cottage garden plants (and even vegetables!) ranging from apples & pears, to horseradish, asparagus and herbs including chives.
It was in one of the numerous patches of chives that we spent part of this afternoon, as in spite of not being a ‘proper’ plant, chives are just fantastic for bees (as the bees don’t apparently read the books that say which plants should be here and which shouldn’t, and regularly can be seen gorging themselves on invasive plants like Himalayan Balsam!).
So I thought I would share with you some photos I took today, and include our list of 9 species of bumble bees – we’re hoping we can still add a few more before the summer is out!
Red Tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius)
Hill Cuckoo Bee (Bombus rupestris)
Early Bumblebee (Bombus pratorum)
White Tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lucorum)
Four-coloured Cuckoo Bee (Bombus sylvestris)
Buff Tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris)
Vestal Cuckoo Bee (Bombus vestalis)
Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)
Common Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum)
And its not just bumbles that love chives! – We had a few other visitors too!