I was also able to get a closer look at one of the other females before she disappeared into a nest.
Right away, I can see two things. It looks like Andrena (which is good, since it’s also acting like Andrena, and that’s what I expected it to be,) and it’s not the same species as the one near my house.
Looking closer, though, things get a bit weird, and nicely illustrate why identifying bees from photographs is a long-term learning experience. To wit:
- The structure of the wing pretty much rules out the Colletidae and Halictidae (which is handy, since the default Little (mostly) Black Bee would otherwise be Lasioglossum.)
- Unfortunately, the bit of wing that’s most useful for telling species of Andrena apart is obscured by a blade of grass.
- The structure of the head and the distribution of pollen hairs (none under the abdomen, which you can’t see here but I noticed on a flying individual) make Megachilidae unlikely.
- The ocelli (the three simple eyes on the top of the head) are set unusually far forward for Andrena.
- There is one feature that is always diagnostic of the Andrenidae: a pair of foveae, or indentations, between the eyes. I cannot see any. That doesn’t mean they’re not there – the light is flat, and the base of the area where they might be is obscured by hair – but it’s still disconcerting.
So, my five-minute ID is “probably Andrena, but slightly odd.”