A beehive? No ... ladybugs! Hundreds of 'em, flying at trail level and just above it. When we stopped to watch, we had ladybugs landing on our legs and arms and shirts. We passed through the swarm, then just a few hundred feet up the trail there was another one just as big.
And then another few hundred feet and yet another buzzing ... this one seeming to go much higher than the other two, way up in the treetops. Sure enough, this time it was bees, from a hive in a tree just to the right of the trail. We hurried on by.
But I must have acquired some sort of karmic load there, because as we returned on the Meadow trail, a bee took exception to the top of my head, buzzing me persistently and eventually diving into my hair and stinging me before I could dislodge it. I have no idea why it was so upset -- this was one of the few places during today's hike when there wasn't any visible or audible insect swarm nearby. Must've used the wrong shampoo this morning.
In these days of Colony Collapse Disorder and since I don't own a decent insect field guide, in the interest of science I'll report that the bee was a bit smaller than a typical honeybee (maybe 3/4 the size) and quite a bit thinner, but with similar color and stripes (perhaps a tad less contrasty).
[ 22:43 Jun 07, 2008 More nature | permalink to this entry | comments ]