Radipole Lake RSPB Reserve
Wednesday August 22nd 2012
With news of an osprey in the area I headed off to my local reserve to capture some dramatic footage of the avian predator plunging into the lake after one of the monster carp that abound therein.
Not a sign of it so here is a video of some flies.
Actually we start with a bee. This was thought to be a buff-tailed bumblebee at first but apparently the shiny thorax (the part of the body below the head) makes it a cuckoo bee.
Cuckoo bees are supposed to have evolved from the more familiar bumblebees that nest colonially, with one queen bee tended by many sterile female workers.
A cuckoo bee will kill the queen and use the nest and workers to rear her own young, a bit like a dictator taking over a country by displacing the previous leader.
I'm not certain at all that this is really a cuckoo bee, I find bees very difficult to identify, so I've uploaded a still from the sequence to iSpot for identification, see:
Looking at this video I noticed something I had never seen before.
This always happens when I get home and go over the day's filming.
This time I noticed the amount of time that the bee spent stroking its furry body with its back legs.
Perhaps it just feels nice but I bet it has a useful purpose, like a bird preening its feathers.
Have another look at the bee sequence then compare it with this next one, of a hoverfly.
It's doing the same thing! Stroking its body with its back legs, just like the bee!
This fly definitely looks like it's cleaning itself, but from what?
Perhaps it gets covered in pollen from visiting flowers which could encourage fungi and bacteria to grow, so it carefully removes pollen every day from its body.
You'll notice that the sound disappears half way through this sequence.
This is when I decided to switch to high speed video to slow down the leg movements to see if I could work out what was going on.
My camera can only record high speed sequences at a low resolution so you'll no doubt also notice the drop in resolution.
Just stand further away from the screen, it will look fine.
By the way, I have absolutely no idea which species of hoverfly this is. I can't find it in any of my books. It could well be new to science.
See http://www.ispot.org.uk/node/289246 for the iSpot experts' opinion.
Now another hoverfly. This one is content to just rub its legs together.
No soundtrack again as this is all at high speed, but not as high as the previous one so the resolution is a bit better.
I think this is a species called the dronefly, but here is its iSpot page just to make sure:
I particularly like to film insects in flight, slowed down of course.
This fly kept flying off to a new flower so I included some take-off sequences here.
I got a bit carried away with this next one of a green fly, trying to film it taking off.
Even slowed right down to one eighth of normal speed the little devil just zooms straight off out of frame.
I need a better camera.
Finally we have a very colourful sequence of a honey bee (I don't need iSpot to identify this one) feeding on flowers of Canadian golden-rod.
High res first (normal speed) followed by a low res (one eighth speed) bit. These lovely little insects fly slow enough for my camera to make a reasonable job of showing flight detail.
The background sound is a bit more distracting here because I've now walked round the reserve and am standing closer to the traffic speeding along Weymouth Way.
I really can't think of another reserve that has so much wildlife ignoring so much disturbance as Radipole Lake.
Well done to the RSPB for managing it so well in very difficult circumstances.