Sunday, May 20

Siberian honeysuckle grows just six feet from the hive, and offers a rich though short-lived source of nectar and pollen.

Both the pink and the Siberian honeysuckle are in full bloom, and covered with honeybees.

The big pink honeysuckle, native to central Asia, does really well in our high, dry climate with hot summers and cold winters. It blooms profusely for a short time each spring, and now is covered with honeybees.

This “Siberian honeysuckle” was given to me by a friend who tore out much of her garden when she moved. It’s not too fragrant to people, but the bees love it.

Rosie and I were walking dogs this morning, and I took my long lens. As we crossed the North 40, I explained that I had it just in case we saw the Cinnamon Drafthouse Bear again. Two nights ago I was overlooking the canyon from a neighbor’s property, and we saw a large cinnamon bear ambling through the bottom by the stream. We named it Cinnamon Drafthouse Bear, because that’s what came to mind. When I lived in Florida friends were always talking about the Cinnamon Drafthouse, where you could go drink cheap beer and watch even cheaper movies. When they finally took me there, I saw that it was Cinema ‘n Drafthouse, but it sticks in my mind the other way. We crossed the field with the dogs, and meandered to the canyon rim, then walked all the way up it until we reached the bench. I sat down to fiddle with the camera, and said “I don’t see Raven.” Rosie said, “She’s right down there [below the rim].” I called her, and she let out a long barking howl. I jumped up and ran to the rim to see what was up, as she came up through the rocks to stand with us. “Maybe it’s the Cinnamon Bear,” I said. Rosie said “It IS the cinnamon bear, look!” And sure enough, there was a cinnamon bear crossing a clearing just across the creek. What timing! I got a few quick shots before she or he disappeared in the oaks.

Cinnamon Bear surprise.

This bear was clearly not Cinnamon Drafthouse Bear. It’s significantly smaller, and has more black on it. So we’ve seen two different bears in the canyon in three days. All these years I’ve been fostering the restoration of native grasses and wildflowers in the fields and out in the woods, I’ve been making a safer place for bees. This year, though, it could get dicey with the bears. They’ve emerged early to find very little food available, so they’re desperate and hungry. Fortunately, with a brand new hive, there’s no thick store of honey to attract them, but I’ll have to think about that come fall if food is still scarce for bears, and autumn lingers long and warm again.

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