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Here’s just a drop in the bucket of my day

February 5, 2015


You don’t need me to tell you when it’s raining in Vancouver, British Columbia. If you live here then you already know and if you don’t live here then what do you care, eh?

I’m more interested in the size of the water droplets that the rain leaves beading countless tree branches. What are the chances that the average amount represents a perfect-sized drink of water for some wee winged critter?

It never occurred to me to wonder how insects imbibed their water until three or four summers ago when I repeatedly watched wasps and/or bees aggressively using a water fountain.

On a hot day even the bumbles must bee thirsty


Connaught Park’s current fountain doesn’t seem to attract bees and wasps. — Google Maps

It was during a particularly hot August afternoon; I stopped at the 10th Avenue side of  Connaught Park, where the custodian’s residence was located, just steps east of the intersection with Balsam Street.

The current water fountain on the east side of the custodian’s residence is a three-level affair, designed to serve adult and child mouths as well as water bottles and dog dishes. It’s made of chromed fittings set into polished cast concrete.

The fountain it replaced was a very old style with a single jet of water shooting straight up at the push of a big chromed button. You drank from the apex of the arc that the water followed on its way down into a concrete bowl as rough with age as 60-year-old sidewalk.

Water was trapped in pockets of that roughness and over a week of repeated visits to the old fountain I saw again and again how the wasps/bees mobbed the bowl to quench their thirst.

A few people were willing to drink from the fountain — more men than women it seemed and no children, that I noticed.

Only the top two water spigots of the new water fountain flow into basins — made of smooth polished stainless steel set into the concrete.

I didn’t notice a single bee or wasp buzzing the new fountain last summer.

I hope the loss of their neighbourhood watering hole didn’t put the busy foragers and pollinators out too much, theirs really is thirsty work after all. Click the top image to enlarge it.

From → Kitsilano

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