The fennel flowers in our garden seem to get larger year by year, and prove a great attraction for bees and hoverflies. These are honey bees (check this Woodland Trust guide or Nearby Wild to distinguish from hoverflies).
The flower heads provide a fine picture, even without the bee.
We often see these large black carpenter bees in The Dordogne region – beautiful black insects seeking nectar from the flowers.
They have relatively short mouth parts, as you can see from the photos, so are only suited to certain types of flower.
Glancing at a quick web search, carpenter bees have a bit of a reputation of ‘nectar robbing’ by drilling holes in the side of petals and avoiding pollination, and of being a pest that can be a threat to houses and gardens by making holes for nests in the timbers. I guess there may be some truth in this, but they are solitary nesters, and could the problem be perceived in part because of their colour?
Photographs taken in the Dordogne region of France, September 2017
There is increasing awareness across environmental organisations that the problems they are each individually trying to address are all in fact interrelated. Insects, birds, bees, butterflies, hedgerows, trees, etc etc. The whole web of life is under increasing pressure, both in the UK and across the world. And that is before the increasing effects of the ongoing global warming.
On land, trees and hedgerows pay a major role in maintaining a varied ecosystem and support for all these other species. So it is great to see all these organisations in the UK getting together to produce the Tree Charter.
I won’t try to summarise the charter here. A big highlight for me is the maintaining and creating of routes to ensure the interconnectivity of wildlife. Islands of protection surrounded by development are inevitably at risk as their diversity easily comes under pressure. Hedgerows and stands of trees can thus provide vital links between forested areas. And the islands need to get bigger than they are at present in the UK.
If this charter from hereon provided the guiding principles that all government agencies and business organisations work to, we can begin to reverse the downward trends and safeguard our natural environment for future generations.