Hairy-footed Flower Bee (Anthophora plumipes)

30th March 2012
The male of the Hairy-footed Flower Bee (Anthophora plumipes) can be recognised by its very active flight and restless demeanour. This can make it very challenging to photograph! Appearing as early as February, the males definitely herald in the Spring and are very conspicuous as they patrol their territory, seeing-off rivals. I managed some decent shots of females last year (females start to appear a couple of weeks after the males), but this year I was determined to get some of the very attractive males too.

The image on the left above is OK, but was a "grabbed" shot and I've lost the tip of the left antenna. The middle shot is framed OK, but this male was emerging from this hole like a cork from a champagne bottle and the face is out of focus.

Fortunately, I have some Anthophora plumipes nesting in the soft mortar of the stone wall on the outside of our house and at the local church. The males seemed to be coming back to roost in the nest holes overnight and on one chilly morning, were reluctant to emerge. I could see their white faces deep in the holes and I kept going out every 10 minutes or so to check on progress. I was rewarded when I captured this male starting to emerge and about to depart (above right). I got several shots but liked this one the best.

"If at first you don't succeed ...!"

See more images of Anthophora plumipes in the Image Gallery.

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