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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Washington to Texas Trip Day Minus One

Tricolored Bumblebee on Cranberry Viburnum

I call this "day minus one" because we had spent the morning in Olympia Washington going to Amy's church and doing some sightseeing around the city. We were going to stay the night in the Governor's Hotel in downtown Olympia, close to the capitol building, and then head out on the official journey the next day, Monday. So Sunday was a "free day."

The day was very gloomy, cool, and overcast, but we hoped to have some fun hiking and driving through Priest Park before it got too dark. I have mentioned on many other occasions just how loaded down the whole northwest part of Washington is with forests and flowering plants. It is amazing that on every street lamp, storefront, and house in most of the towns there are hanging baskets of flowers or flower boxes just filled with blooms of all colors and sizes.

As we walked through the gardens of the park, we walked by several tall bushes that I could not recognize. They were not identified (more's the pity) but Amy and I both noticed that there were large bees on almost every flower cluster, just sitting there. They appeared to be cold, asleep, or drugged by the flowers' nectar. Neither of us was brave enought to poke one to see if it was alive or dead, but it did give me the opportunity to take some pretty good photos of them without having to rush the focus. I was glad for that.

There were several of the "standard" honey bees, but there were also a few like the one in the photo above. Much larger than the honey bee, these had a broad patch of bright red on the upper abdomen. I had seen bumblebees, which I suspect these were, in the South, but never with the red patch that made these so unique.

I guess I had better start posting several pictures on each post for a while. If I post one photo per "essay," I'll never get to the end of the trip! If anyone knows what kind of bush the bee is on, would you leave a comment and name it? I would appreciate it. It looks a little like a type of hydrangea that I had shot in Snoqualmie Falls, but the leaves were much different. Also, the blooms on the hydrangea were deep blue. these were white with small pink flowers in the middle. It could very well be that same variety of hydrangea, but I would like some confirmation before I step forward and call it one.

Couldn't resist putting one more photo up of the bumblebee with the red patch. Lots more to come. I can't wait to get all the pictures posted up. Check back over the weekend and I will have some more, I hope.

Best to all! Mike Z

PS Yesterday Heather Who was kind enough to identify the flower in these photos. She said it was cranberry viburnum. If you're interested, go see her Flickr page by clicking on her name above. She does great work! If you see her page, tell her I sent you, ok? MZ

PPS says that the bumblebee in my photo is a Tricolored Bumble Bee (Bombus ternarius)

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