Monday, 5 May 2008


The hottest place in Ireland, today, and it showed: hoverflies and bees of all kinds were on every flowerhead.

This is another of the mining bees from my garden: the beautiful Andrena cineraria.

That shot required knowledge of the behaviour of the bee: they land and very quickly bury their heads in the florets, so all you get is an abdomen shot. But they tend to do a slow 360 degree turn before they fly off. So if you watch where they land and wait for them to complete their rotation you can get the shot as they prepare to take off.

A few butterflies are now making an appearance. So far I've seen Green-veined White, Peacock, Orange Tip and Large White. This Small Tortoiseshell is clearly showing signs of age..they overwinter as adults and have been flying around for a couple of months, now:

The hoverfly Rhingia campestris rears its young on cow dung, but it has lately been seen in urban areas, so perhaps it has migrated to domestic dung.

One of our smallest hoverflies, Syritta pipiens. The inflated thighs appear to be mimicking a minute bee which is now extinct.

And this one's for Aynia....7-spot Ladybird.


Bessie said...

NICE Blog :)

Aynia said...

Thanks for the ladybird Stuart. I was eyeing up the hoverfly that rears its young on cow dung. It looks like a very noisey one that drove me mad last year and which is about this year.

Gill said...

Nice page, Stuart. I love that bee - does it really have those bronzy wing-tips? Good tips about know your beastie to get the pics.

Stuart said...

Gill, the wings are more smoky, but the yellow of the flower is shining through.

In terms of the insect's behaviour, you can often watch it on one flower and then use your observations on the next. Many insects and bees use a 360 degree turn to make sure they've covered all parts of the flower. Interestingly enough, it usually seems to be an anti-clockwise turn. Dunno why. Maybe our Australian counterparts can tell us if they rotate clockwise in the southern hemisphere.

Anonymous said...

Hi Stuart. I think your Syritta is a Neoascia sp.