I was sitting, enjoying the rare Pacific Northwest sunshine. I had gazed at the distant view, examined the closer view, and I had gotten down to noticing details. Like the bees.
These bees are smaller than honey bees. They fly close to the ground. Not too odd, seeing as how the flowers in my little ridge top clearing are also close to the ground. But these bees don't seem interested in the flowers.
They keep landing on bare patches of dirt, on pebbles, on rocks. They pause one or two seconds, then buzz off to another bit of dirt or rock. I guess collecting pollen isn't their thing. At least not today. But what are they up to? It's not like I can get down there and see, because, zip, they're gone. I can't even get a photo.
Hmmmm, maybe they're pouncing on bugs too small for me to notice. Carnivorous bees. The dreaded "meat bees" some friends say infest the Sierras? Uuuumm, no. Meat bees are actually yellow jackets, and I know them when I see them. These are smaller and less pointy. They're something else. Miners? Hole nesters? This quote is not encouraging:
"...the Willamette Valley is home to 250 bee species, and the deserts east of the Cascade Range hold 600 to 800 species."
Any apiary nerds out there with an answer? The Mt. Hood Rock-hopper Bee?