Archive for Aug 12th, 2018


Racing Post

Paddock inspections of horses before they race is not an exact science but it helps you choose the animal on which you can loose your money. I don’t really do a bundle on horse racing but I do like the pageantry and colours of the occasion. If the weather’s good it’s an enjoyable summer’s day out. Anyways, late July saw me at Newmarket trying to choose a winner at the parade ground before the 3:30 race. A sign in front of me clearly stated I shouldn’t go any further and should stand well back from the frisky horses. The sign was mounted on a metal pole which was obviously hollow. There was a drilled hole about 8mm wide halfway up the pole which I guess had previously hosted fixings but was no longer in use. As the horses paraded by in all their pent up glory something caught my eye hovering about a foot from my face. It buzzed. I always look at buzzy things. Ever since as a five year old just starting school I was stung by a bee. It’s an automatic self preservation thing. The sound emanated from a bee carrying a rolled-up leaf between its legs. It was a leaf cutter bee. The bee promptly disappeared into the hole in the pole and pulled in the leaf behind it. I fumbled for my phone and was hopelessly slow at opening the camera to get a shot. There are around six species of leaf cutter bee in the UK and I wanted to see which one had taken up residence in this extremely hot metal tube. It returned several times and I never did manage a good enough picture to clarify identity.

We were sat in a hide last week watching a Bittern when another buzzy thing entered my personal space. It was another leaf cutter. I was able to identify this individual as a ‘Patchwork Leaf Cutter Bee’ based on the gingery sticky-out hairs on the underside of the abdomen. A common enough species but a small industrious thing of fascination.



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Aug 2018


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