Summer approaches in the woods

Everyday sees changes in the countryside.  The warmth, the cold, the rain, the sun all conspire to bring about subtle changes that made no two days the same but there comes a point where our coarse senses remark a change that cannot be ignored.

The vibrant, frenetic days of spring are past and summer is approaching.

I feel this in the woods as the canopy of the trees fills in and covers over, changing the flowers that grow underneath.  A few still linger, like the Asphodel but the Wood Anemones have totally disappeared leaving only their leaves as witness to their presence.

Only an odd violet can be seen here and there along the path.  I shall be sorry to see them go but I took my first photographs of the wild violets in my garden at the end of March so their season has not been short.

The Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum commutatum) is content to stay in the shady areas under the trees and so is just starting its flowering season.

Once open the elegant bells attract the bees and bumbles who feast on the pollen which they carry off in their pollen sacs which become  stunningly white.  I tried to get a photograph but they were too quick for me, trying to manoeuvre amongst the long stems of the Solomon’s seal which are over a metre tall.

I couldn’t miss the swarm of bees over a puddle in the middle of the path.  I had read that bees have a requirement for water but I could not understand what attracted so many of them to the same puddle at the same time.  When I got closer I discovered it was not the water that they were interested in but the mud it was providing for them!

They are Mason bees looking for a supply of mud to seal up their cache of eggs which could be somewhere in the woods in a hollow twig or convenient hole in a tree.  Mason bees belong to the genus Osmia, I cannot go further than that with identification but I do think they have really cute eyes!

The butterflies still accompany us on our walks like this Comma butterfly ( Polygonia c-album) and

the Red Admiral (Vanessa Atalanta) which always adds colour in the woods.

The Common Heath Moth (Ematurga atomaria) enjoys flying in the daytime in sunny spots but

the Speckled Yellow moth (Pseudopanthera macularia) was a bit more frisky.  It is always lovely to have their company even though they are less appreciative of ours.

These two seem a bit surprised to see each other alight so close to each other when there are so many flowers to choose from.

The Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) is in luxuriant bloom on the edges of the woods and roads and is being visited by an astonishing number of insects.  The bees and bumbles are visiting in substantial numbers.

Predators will always be attracted to to the abundant food supplies of their prey.  The European Hornet (Vespa crabro) did not find any bees on this fly past and rapidly left our presence.  They are an unloved species and their nests are frequently destroyed by humans, however, it is a protected species in Germany and a native European insect.

For me it just does not have the same appeal as a fluffy bumble bee clutching onto the clover flower and  sipping the nectar.

10 thoughts on “Summer approaches in the woods

  1. Lovely, evocative post. European hornets are unfairly despised as they are in fact less aggressive the the common wasp! But, like you, I do prefer bees :). Thank you for your comment. I have answered you question with more questions there. Rachael


  2. Your photography is just wonderful and I love the commentary too!! Keep it up. I have taken on your wonderful idea and started a blog of my own to encourage me to tackling our own garden, as I too was finding it was sometimes getting on top of me. You can find the link on facebook if you cannot get to it from here. J


    1. I could not resist it! The cow parsley was looking so beautiful and fresh all around the edges of the woods and lining the roadside providing a great habitat for so much wildlife. We have had constant rain for the last two days so I hope it has not been too battered.


  3. Lovely photos. Thanks for identifying the cow parsley, I had been wondering what it’s name was.

    The bees you have identified as mason bees look like honey bees to me? But I am reading this on a phone so the picture quality is not great.


    1. Glad you like the photos. I am pretty sure they are mason bees. I put the photos into a collage as I took quite a lot. Unfortunately, when I took the photos of them swarming over the puddle it looked very unimpressive. Just the problem of the eye and the photograph seeing things differently. They are really beautiful looking bees. I think quite different from honey bees. Can I send you some photos for you to take a look at?


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