07 Mar 2017 FILM DIARY
I returned to Eagles Nest this morning to really get to grips with a magical subject I chanced upon yesterday afternoon, when I popped in to see the owners who are good friends of mine. I noticed that an abandoned potter wasp nest showed signs of being refurbished, so I went to get my camera and filmed the new work. The wasp duly appeared and eventually entered the nest, remaining there for a long time before emerging. I thought I noticed a second wasp.
Carefully positioning the camera to avoid the flight path, while getting a good view of the building site, I was rewarded by repeated visits of indeed two wasps. One continued to spend time in the nest. The other wasp flew in to work on the nest, but was chased away by the wasp which had been inside. For a reason not apparent, rubbing their abdomens with their hind legs was one of the wasps’ activities at the nest.
The glory of this event is that I first filmed the live nest in March 2010, attended by a single wasp. In October 2014 I filmed the decayed nest, revealing numbers of exposed cells. Two of them are still to be covered over. Nearly seven years later to the day, the nest is live again. Viewing the footage I now have doubts over the identification of the original wasp which is the same species as today’s wasps. I shall have to send the frame of it to an expert to find out whether it is Abispa ephippium or Abispa splendida. I find it hard to comprehend how an insect can construct such an intricate and durable structure.
PS 8 March: This morning there were as many as three wasps and plenty of conflict, though there may also have been co-operation. A new entrance in a completely different position had been fashioned overnight. There was no trace of the old entrance, which dated from the original construction.