20170503 Maples, cherries, willows, Carolina Spring Beauties and Bee Flies on Trout Lily and on Coltsfoot

We went for a drive along Harris Lake Road on a warm day to see the progress of the Coltsfoot near the Lake.  Along the way we made a few other photos:

Red Maple is  in an advanced stage of blossoming.   The female flowers are in the stage of pollination here:

Typical grey branch of most native Maples …

This is either a Choke Cherry or  a Black Cherry.   The cluster of blossoms is beginning to show.

Each little bump in the cluster will  become a  cherry blossom, and perhaps, later, a cherry.

Obviously these are male catkins, producing pollen on their anthers.  Several leaf buds are further up this willow branch.

A few feet away  on another willow these female catkins show their pistils, which are easily seen if you click on the photo:

 

Carolina Spring Beauty at its prime …

Nice Trout Lily …

This Trout Lily has a visitor.   See the interesting markings on it single pair of wings…. a fly NOT a bee.

If you click on this photo you can see the fly  looking up along its proboscis towards the base of the lily, where the nectar is.

What follows is a lot of images of  “Large Bee Flies” on the very early blooming Coltsfoot.  You’ll get some detail if you click on the images to enlarge them.

This is a typical cluster of Coltsfoot on disturbed land in a heavily wooded area.  No leaves yet.  They’ll come later, at the base of the plant,  shaped like the print of a colt’s foot.

There is that two winged (single pair) beastie again, nectaring with its long proboscis.

Head on view, with it prominent eyes just ahead of its dark spot.  Its eyes have a spherical shape, very different from the shape of bees eyes.

I stayed about 10 minutes and saw  many flies.  They all stood on the flower when sucking nectar.  None took the nourishment while they were aflight.

There is another unidentified blurry beast coming in from the left side of the photo …

It buzzes the Bee Fly and …

… continues its flight up to the right …

This fly has just removed its proboscis ….

… and flies away.   Leaving it legs dangling is common with these flies apparently.

Here are two flies nectaring on adjacent flower heads.

 

In deep, searching for nectar …

A different insect, not yet identified… (Help!) feasts…

Another one, leaving….

 

Such a nice little flower, I had to include this photo…

More action…

Putting on a show for the photographer …

It doesn’t retract its landing gear …

 

This Large Bee-Fly,  Bombylius major has some interesting behaviour some  of which is shown in a video and an animation at this well-written, well illustrated article.  I was lucky to make its acquaintance!

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2 thoughts on “20170503 Maples, cherries, willows, Carolina Spring Beauties and Bee Flies on Trout Lily and on Coltsfoot

  1. Thank you for these beautiful shots. Have learned so much from your Blog and can now identify previously unknown species. Both the Carolina Spring Beauty and the Trout Lily are in abundance here with so much more to see as well. Amazing time of year. xoxo

    • Great! I have yet to find a Hepatica around here. Every year, I look very hard for them. Maybe next year. So I have to be content with learning more about each plant … and especially about the pollinators that visit them.

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