SOUNDS OF NATURE – Solitary bees Clashnessie

August 7th 2023

Sounds of Nature Project

This Project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Scottish Natural Heritage

SOUNDS OF NATURE – Solitary bees Clashnessie

The Field Club’s Sounds of Nature Project was inspired by a chance encounter in May 2019 between two Assynt Field Club members and Clive Davis who was holidaying in Assynt. Clive, who is a member of the Wildlife Sound Recording Society, was making sound recordings of birds, etc. in the area.

The mental health benefits of listening to bird song and other sounds of nature have been well reported.  Our website is by necessity very visual, both with regards to images and words. The main aim of our project therefore is to make the site, and hence Assynt’s wildlife, more accessible and meaningful for those with a visual impairment.

More information about the project along with links to other recordings can be found on the website’s Sounds of Nature Project page

SOUNDS OF NATURE – Solitary bees at Clashnessie (David Haines, August 2023)

It is the sound of these beautiful bees that first catches your attention. That was particularly true at this location on the south facing bank of the large car park at Clashnessie.

These smaller than Honey Bee bees are the Heather Colletes, Colletes succinctus. We first came across this aggregation on 27th August 2022, and we posted a story about them on our website at that time, ‘Solitary but not alone’. Then they were really busy excavating their nest burrows and provisioning them with pollen. This time it seemed more like they had recently emerged as adults and were in the throws of mating and feeding.

What was really encouraging to see was that the number of bees appeared to be much increased on last year. One other new thing we noted, and which can be seen in the second photo was the presence of small clear cellophane-like capsules. These could be seen sticking out of several nest burrows and also scattered about on the ground. Another name for these bees is ‘Plasterers’ which they get from the way the female lines each of her nest burrows with this material. This was what we were seeing, and would be from last year’s breeding. They get exposed due to erosion of the sandy soil.

The recording

This sound file is only about two minutes long, but it could easily have been many hours long! They never stopped flying about, and because they very rarely take the initiative to sting the microphone was being held just inches from these charismatic bees.

You will hear the occasional one hitting the microphone. The sounds of passing cars, people talking in the car park and the more distant rumble of the waves in Clashnessie Bay can also be heard.

Enjoy listening to the soundtrack of these solitary bees at Clashnessie. You might like to use headphones to get the best effect!

SOUNDS OF NATURE – Solitary bees Clashnessie


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