A few days ago my eye spotted a rather large bee visiting the Rosemary flowers. At first I thought it to be a bumble bee, but the behaviour, form and shrill sound were more similar to a bleached greyish brown carder bee. The coloured hairs for collecting pollen on its hindlegs made it a female.
The bee kept returning to the flowers but did not appreciate my presence; as soon as she spotted me she would leave. I did not succeed in taking a useful picture.
After returning from a walk I spotted the bee again and gave it another try but she disappeared again. But after some time a high pitched humming gave away her return and almost immediately a bee landed on the bee hotel. I was just able to take a few pictures before it disappeared into the borehole to spend the night. Looking at the pictures it seemed to be a leaf-cutter bee male but the antennae didn’t match. It turns out to be a male Hairy-footed flower bee (Anthophora plumipes) , a common spring species and a new garden species! Very nice that both genders are present too. Hopefully the next time it will be possible to get nicer photos, since the peculiarly shaped middle legs are not clearly visible, as are the colours on the face.
The female hasn’t been sited since the writing of the article, but the first male is joined by a second, more brown coloured specimen. Both use boreholes with a diameter of 8 mm or larger to sleep in. They seek them out rather early in the afternoon while the other bees are still busy searching females and building their nests.
The first male seems to prefer boreholes in brick. After some time staking out at the nest block he got a little more used to my presence with better photos as result.
References1 Nederlands Soortenregister