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A Blue Banded Bee – Amegilla cingulata getting nectar from one of our special Bottle Brush Grass Tree – Xanthorrhoea macronema.

It is particularly pleasing to photograph my first Blue Banded Bee today because I am currently writing an article on Pollinator Links for the Southside Community News. Pollinator Links are a form of wildlife corridor that has potential to work in our fragmented urban landscape and they are a key strategy in our Mt Gravatt Showgrounds Precinct Landscape Plan.

Blue Banded Bees are an Australian native bee and an important pollinator of our food crops like tomatoes. Some plants will only release pollen when the flower is vibrated rapidly – buzz pollination.

The importance of these and other native buzz pollinators is highlighted by the fact that the commercial honey bee – Apis mellifera, cannot perform buzz pollination. The Blue Banded Bees website cites significant benefits for crops such as tomatoes, kiwi fruit, eggplants and chillies. Blue Banded Bees are thought to improve yields in Australia by at least 30% overall.

I also managed to photograph one of our beautiful Variegated Fairy Wrens Malurus lamberti. A male in full breeding colour. There was a least one female around but she would not sit still for a photo. These delicate little birds like scrubby areas where they are safe from predators, often Lantana. So part of our bush restoration work is ensuring there is that there is replacement habitat established before we remove large areas of Lantana. As we establish Pollinator Links we aim to bring special birds like these back into our community backyards.

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