Friday, April 13, 2012

Birds and Bees

The flowers are blooming and the pollinators are working overtime. You can hear the buzzing in every tree. Arizona has more than 1000 species of bees and a wealth of other pollinators. I commonly see honeybees, carpenter bees, and several other varieties that are too small or too quick for me to identify. The more, the better, is my motto, and between my native landscaping and the vegetable garden, our yard is a popular pollinator hangout.

That doesn’t mean they are easy to photograph! I’ve taken hundreds or even thousands of shots, and they are all blurry. Here’s the only decent photo of a carpenter bee – its behind!

Honeybees are a little easier – they spend more time on each flower.
You can see the pollen attached to the bees’ legs. The one on the lower left has just arrived and has only a small amount, while the one on the upper right has been collecting for some time and has very large pollen sacs.

A bee wearing sunglasses? No – it’s a sneaky syrphid fly that mimics a honeybee. It had me completely fooled until I blew up the photo and saw its body shape.

Birds are even harder to photograph. They follow me around, chattering and looking pretty, but as soon as I bring the camera out, all I see is a blur of wings flying away. I got one shot of a woodpecker tail.

Here’s a verdin, a tiny, hyper bird that loves to eat these orange flowers.
Thrashers and mockingbirds are everywhere. Can you see the thrasher hiding on the left? His orange eye looks like one of the berries.

The hummingirds are especially bold. They are fascinated by water spray and often zip in and out of the water when I have the hose going.
This is a female Anna’s that kept me company in the vegetable garden.

Here’s a male Anna’s in the front yard. He’s slightly more aloof (I didn’t have the water running).

Let's hope that with all this help, my plants will be healthy and full of fruit this year!



  1. A beautiful glimpse of the exotic.
    Today we've been watching goldfinch, blackcap, bluetit and coaltit on our garden feeders - all pretty birds but no photographs sadly. We talk about linking a camera to Pete's spotting scope - one day.
    Good to see all the bees in your garden despite the worldwide crisis.

  2. My Mr. D is an enthousiastic bird photographer!
    Not easy to photograph but he has teleophoto lens which makes it easier to photograph little creatures!

    Ariane x

  3. Your photographs are beautiful, and what lovely company you have in your gardens!

    I try to photograph the flying and fluttering creatures all of the time myself; it's quite challenge! But so great when you get a good image.

    Thanks for sharing!