Undertook my monthly 'Beewalk' on behalf of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust today. It's a lovely thing to do each month, walking the same route and counting the numbers of different species of Bumblebee. Repeating the same route at monthly intervals gives a very clear sense of the development of the year, seeing how the hedgerows and fields change their hue and heft.
It was windy and alternating between cloud cover and sun. It's high summer and should be bumblebee nirvana, but where I have been seeing increasing numbers over recent months, today I saw negligible numbers. Other pollinators were abundant - ringlet butterflies by the score, beautiful hoverflies, dragonflies and day-flying moths everywhere I looked. But until about half-way round, no Bumblebees. I think today's weather mostly to blame, but the recent prolonged wet weather that we have had locally may have played a part; with foraging opportunities scant, nests will have been under huge stress. However, I did see the first new daughter queen (i.e born this year rather than last year'sover-wintered), a fat and fresh Bombus terrestris, seemingly scouring for hibernation sites, presumably having mated with whatever males may be around. And so the circle is unbroken.