We were introduced to bees in general and at first looked at the main 8 that can be seen. We were giving examples to identify so we got a basic understanding of the different marking with each bee, particularly looking at the Queen, male and workers. The Heath Bumblebee we didn't really look at as I am not sure it is in this area I think, however it is around Tunbridge Wells so will be looking out for that.
The 8 common are White-tailed, Buff-tailed, Garden, Early, Common Carder, Red-tailed, Heath and Tree.
We then had a lunch break. During this time I got to the John Gooders hide and saw Little Tern, Avocet and Greenshank of note and then headed back. After lunch we looked at the Cuckoo Bumblebees and the rarer ones.
I had it confirmed that the one I saw last week was a Vestal cuckoo Bumblebee.
Bombus vestalis - think it is also known as the Southern
Unfortunately my camera was being highly ineffective for bee photos. Other people took some and I am waiting for some copies of these. We went to a grassy area of the reserve and started catching bees. We got 8 bumblebees and a mining bee, and 3 of them were rare in the UK.
The species we got
Garden Bumblebee - Bombus hortorum
Honey Bee - this is not in the common list
White-tailed Bumblebee - Bombus lucorum
Buff-tailed Bumblebee - Bombus terrestris
Red-tailed Bumblebee - Bombus lapidarius
Brown-banded Carder bee - Bombus humilis - this one and the next 2 I think are the
Moss carder bee - Bombus muscorum 3rd, 4th and 5th rarest bee in country.
Red-shanked Carder bee - Bombus ruderarius
the non bombus
Yellow-legged Mining bee - Andrena flavipes
They were all excellent and seen well. The Red-shanks were my favourite but Red-tailed always enjoy.
Learnt so much about id of them and more about the habitat and social side. We were also told about the project to re-introduce Short-haired bumblebee back into Britain. As Kent and Sussex are 2 of the best areas for bees this is being re-introduced locally so another bee to look out for also.
Will try to updated some pictures soon, am at Broadwater today and then away for a week.