The Pride of Madeira (Echium) bush on the south side of the park, near the parking circle at the end of Spinnaker Way (photo below), is a magnet for bumblebees and other pollinators. In the video, the first few segments show the bees at work in real time. The following segments are in slow motion. I was impressed to see the bee’s furry legs, so perfect for carrying bits of pollen from one plant to the other. Although I’m no bug expert, I feel pretty confident to identify these as Yellow-faced Bumble Bees (Bombus vosnesenskii). The furry legs make it a female. Despite the Russian flavor of their scientific name, these are California natives. But their history has its troubled side. They displaced another California native, the Western Bumble Bee (B. occidentalis) which was driven to the brink of extinction by diseases arising from commercial bee breeding operations. B. vosnesenskii is also under suspicion for crowding out other varieties of bees because it emerges earlier and tends to monopolize available nesting and feeding resources. This bumblebee has something in common with Burrowing Owls: it relies on burrows dug by mammals, such as gophers, as a nesting site.
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