Many of the late summer flowers of NWT Thorpe Marshes are pink and purple, such as hemp agrimony, purple loosestrife and marsh woundwort. Those three are big and showy, but the pictures here show two similarly coloured but smaller species.
Water mint is better known, and as the name suggests grows in ditches or on their edges. Squeeze a leaf, sniff and it’s obviously a mint. The flowers are in pretty, round heads, and this one has attracted a common carder bee.
Many bee species are horribly similar but the red-brown back and stripy tail end makes this fairly distinctive. Why ‘carder’ bee? Carding is the process of combing and cleaning fibres, such as prior to spinning wool, or raising the nap of woven wool. Apparently the bees use combs on their legs to do this to moss and grass for their nests, though I can’t claim to have witnessed the process.
|Water mint with common carder bee|
More wildlife news and details of monthly walks on www.honeyguide.co.uk/thorpemarshes