Photo gallery: Norfolk photographer causes a buzz as he catches Andrena vaga on camera

Andrena vaga, extinct in UK since 1946. First seen again this year at  two sites. Female carrying pollen, spring, Dungeness RSPB Reserve, Kent. Picture: Roger Tidman Andrena vaga, extinct in UK since 1946. First seen again this year at two sites. Female carrying pollen, spring, Dungeness RSPB Reserve, Kent. Picture: Roger Tidman

Kate Scotter kate.scotter@archant.co.uk
Thursday, May 8, 2014
8:16 AM

Bee experts are buzzing after a Norfolk photographer captured a rare bee on camera for the first time in the UK in almost 70 years.

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Wildlife photographer Roger Tidman, who lives in Briston, near Melton Constable, was at RSPB Dungeness, in Kent, when he took a photo of the rarely-seen Andrena vaga bee.

Up until recently, the grey-backed bee had not been seen on British shores since 1946 and mainly resides across the Channel in France.

It had been spotted in Hampshire but, according to bee enthusiasts, the fact that it has now been spotted in Kent is an indication that it is starting to breed in this country.

Mr Tidman, who has been specialising in wildlife photography since the late 1970s, said: “I didn’t know what it was until I sent it to a friend, I just knew it was one I hadn’t seen before but I wasn’t aware of its rarity – I was quite excited when I found out.”

Mr Tidman, who captured the bee over the Easter weekend, added: “The bee world is buzzing about it.”

Young naturalists have a chance to learn how to attract and identify solitary bees and how to become a bee recorder at a workshop in Norwich later this month.

The BEEcome a Young Recorder day, hosted by the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists’ Society, will be held at the Castle Museum on Wednesday May 28 from 10.30am-3.30pm.

Children aged 10 to 16 will be able to study specimens and learn how to identify them, find out how to catch and look at bees, and investigate how to send records to the Norfolk biological record centre.

There will also be a chance to learn about phone apps and online recording and build a bee nesting box to take home.

To book a place, at £5 per person, visit www.nnns.org.uk.

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