Followers of this blog are probably aware of my love of all things solitary. I like wandering around on my own, I'm quite happy working on my own and I quite like bees on thier own. For that reason for several years I have encouraged solitary bees to nest in the garden. At present 3 species use the logs and boxes placed on my south facing wall, the most numerous being Osmia bocornis, the Red Mason Bee, followed by a megachild leaf cutter bee, probably M. centucularis and the smaller congener of the mason bee Osmia leaiana. This year my mason bees have struggled, the males got off to a good start during that warm spell in April but just as the females hatched the weather turned. However they are pretty hardy beasts and they quickly started nesting in available holes whenever the weather permitted. This unimpinged nesting was not to last as a nesting pair of Great Tits discovered that female mason bees are rather tasty, or at least suitable food for their chicks. They've taken them all, and I mean all I have several holes half sealed and only a few complete holes. Last year approximately 150 holes were filled, this year about 20. Still it might leave a little more room for the leafcutters, the first one to hatch of the year was waitng for a bit of decent weather today as was a male O. leaiana. Both are photographed, I hope they have more look than the others.