#303 Making a bee-line for ivy

It’s that time of year when a plant that is overlooked, maligned by gardeners, abundant and so nondescript that even the flowers are green – comes to the fore.

Ivy is quite possibly the most important nectar source out there at the moment, and as the flowers turn to berries, they also become a valuable food source for pigeons and thrushes.

Now is a good time to keep a close watch on a patch of flowering ivy, as you may well spot a recent coloniser to our shores – the ivy bee.  They are pretty easy to identify, with fine stripes running across the body, making them almost wasp like in appearance.  They are late flyers, and nest in sandy banks – each bee digging a hole to lay its eggs in.  You may never have heard of them before, but why not have a good look at what is buzzing around some ivy flowers next time you are passing. You might be lucky enough to see some ivy bees.

An ivy bee, at home on some ivy.

An ivy bee, at home on some ivy.

It’s not just ivy bees that come to feed. Butterflies will also take advantage of the nectar source. Red admirals are often in attendance, but occasionally you’ll be lucky enough to see a second brood Comma like this one ( no, it’s not ragged wings – that’s how their wings are!)..

Comma. Named because of the small, comma shaped white mark on  the underside of the wings. Remarkably  bright orange when in flight.

Comma. Named because of the small, comma shaped white mark on the underside of the wings. Remarkably bright orange when in flight.

 

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