Bee Walk - Northfield DA3 8EX

Contact Chris Hague-Smith via the Bee Watch Page Bluebird symbol.

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BBCT* SITE NAME:Northfield DA3 8EX.
LOCATION:Hartley/New Ash Green, Kent.
OVERALL LENGTH:1861 m; 10 Sections.
- - - (*BBCT = Bumble Bee Conservation Trust)

(NORTHFIELD DA3, the original 2017 transect with 7 sections, was reconfigured from 2018 on with 10 sections & a different start/finish point, & renamed NORTHFIELD DA3 8EX).

2019 Season

2019 Northfield Bee Walks have been scheduled fortnightly on Wednesdays; the aim being to complete ONE survey walk a month & participate in more or less as you prefer. It is an easy flat walk of about a mile. Dates & times are open to revision so it may be possible to adjust to accommodate you. MEET/START 11.00 AT THE BLACK LION PUBLIC HOUSE/TEA ROOMS.. If it is raining we shall try to meet & discuss/study/decide on rescheduling over refreshments.


Early 2019: An unusually warm start to the year gave Britain’s warmest Feb on record to date. Bumblebees were seen as early as December 2018, & frequent in Jan & Feb 2019.
Feb 27th: First walk of the season. A sunny 16°C, Wind F1. A total of 8 bombus seen, mainly B.Terrestris (4 Queens), 1 B.Hypnorum Queen, 3 unidentified (including 1 queen), & 9 Apis Mellifera workers. Mainly on Cherry Plum (Prunus cerasifera) which was in flower, otherwise foraging in undergrowth. A good start.
Mar 6th: Earlier in the week weather conditions were better, but we did not expect to see any bumblebees with a poor forecast, early rain, cloudy, cool conditions, (11°C) & wind force 2-3. However 3 of us appeared, including new member Pat, & were pleased to record 3 bombus - 2 queens, (B.Lucorum, B.terrestris + 1 unidentified queen in flight). Still little in flower except Prunus cerasifera (Cherry Plum). No honey bees seen.
Mar 20th: 4 of us turned up. 9°C, cloudy, wind F1. Just 1 bee seen, B.terrestris worker in S10. Prunus cerasifera blossom now almost finished. Blackthorn beginning to blossom.
Apr 3rd: 4 observers; 6°C, cloudy, wind F1. 14 bees in total; B.lapidarius (5 queens), B.Terrestris (4 queens + 1 caste unknown), 4 of unknown species. 11 of them on Sweet Cherry trees (Prunus Avium), now in blossom. Again NO Honey Bees. Fortunately the rain forecasted occurred later in the day.
Apr 17th: 6 observers; a sunny day, 12°C, wind F1. 71 Apis Mellifera (Honey bee) seen but only 8 bumblebees (of 2 species) - fewer than anticipated. Dandelions were abundant, with daisies in S4, but little else in flower.
May 1st: 7 observers.Sunny, 11°C, wind F1. Only 10 bumblebees seen – 1 B.lucorum 2 B pascuorum, 7 unidentified bombus (mainly in flight) + 2 Apis mellifera. The abundant dandelions seen last visit were nowhere to be seen except in the wildflower meadow area. A lot of obvious die back suggested that spraying had taken place elsewhere, & this was later confirmed by the management committee. Fine spraying of Depitox took place on 18th April to combat ragwort. Sadly this will be repeated next year. Field margins were similarly treated in 2016.
May 15th: 4 observers; 16°C, sunny, wind F1. Hawthorn & dogwood flowering in hedges, but virtually no plants flowering in grassy areas other than S4 (play area) & the wildflower meadow (section 8/9). Only 4 bumblebees seen - 1 unidentified in S8, 1 Carder in S9, & 2 unidentified in S10. However, 43 Apis mellifera on dogwood flowering in S9 hedge margin. We fear recent spraying has had a marked effect.
May 29th: 4 observers; 17°C, sunny, wind F2. No signs of flowers on recently sprayed areas, but the wildflower meadow had Buttercups & Hawkweed in flower. Numbers observed still low - a total of 12 B.hypnorum seen, 8 of these on Dogrose in S1, + 3 unidentified bombus & 2 Apis Mellifera. Nothing seen in sections 2,6,8,& 9.
Jun 12th: 1 Observer; 15°C cloudy, wind F1. 12ft wide horse ride mowed by hedges in S1,2,3,5,10. Ox-eye Daisies & Dog Rose flowering in hedges & brambles beginning to flower. Few meadow flowers except S8 (Wildflower Meadow) with mainly buttercups & daisies. 13 bumblebees; 3 in S5, 1 in S7, & 9 (+1 Apis Mellifera) in S9. 4 species identified: B.hypnorum (8), B.lapidarius (1), B.lucorum (1), + 1 Male B.terrestris & 1 Unidentified. Light rain began 11.30 in S7.
Jun 26th: 17°C, F3, cloudy. Very few or no bees in the first 6 sections & S10 (few flowers), but sections 7-9 (woodland & wildflower meadow borders) were more productive as the wildflower meadow is now flowering well. 51 B.lapidarius & 18 B.lucorum including 7 males. 4 B.Hypnorum, 2 pascuorum & just 1 B.terrestris. Only 5 Apis mellifera Honeybees) in the whole walk.
Jul 10th: Good observation conditions; 22°C, F2, Cloudy. Flowers & bumblebees in most sections were scarce; nothing seen in sections 1-6, except notably just one B.hortorum queen in S5 (1st sighting this year). In total 5 species were confirmed, but only 1 or 2 of each. The wildflower meadow (S8 & S9) had numerous flowers, with 18 B.lapidarius workers seen, but only 1 or 2 of 2 other species.
Jul 24th:
Aug 7th:
Aug 21st:
Sep 4th:
Sep 18th:
Oct 2nd:
Oct 16th:
Oct 30th: Last walk of the season.