The weather has been abysmal for several days, with bad light even when it has been dry. Today I saw blue gaps in the cloud, so I ran for the hills, where the Angelica is abundant.
This hoverfly got me rather excited, because I knew I hadn't seen it before. Several shots were rattled off and anticipation was high during the rest of the photography session. When I got the pictures back to the computer and opened the books, I was slightly disappointed to discover it wasn't a new species for me, but merely a new colour variation of one that I had seen once before. It's the orange and black version of the bumblebee mimic Eriozona syrphoides.
|The bumblebee-mimicking hoverfly Eriozona syrphoides|
Note. I have amended the identification of this hoverfly as a result of a much better set of photographs taken a few days later.
Here's a shot of it beside an ichneumonid:
|Eriozona syrphoides (right) and ichneumonid (left)|
Staying with ichneumonids, this one has a quite impressive ovipositor:
|Ichneumonid with long ovipositor|
I saw a few of those wandering over Knapweed flowerheads, so we know what that ovipositor is used for.
This large brown specimen looks to be close to the Ophion family:
|3 cm. ichneumonid|
Dungflies are voracious hunters as adults (they're probably making up for all the dung they eat as larvae.) This one is making a meal of a smaller sawfly:
|Dungfly with prey|
But this dungfly has fallen foul of a little cream-coloured spider:
|Spider with dungfly as prey|
Now that's a truly vicious circle.
I was quite surprised to find a pristine Red Admiral butterfly nectaring on the Angelica:
|Red Admiral butterfly|
It's absolutely pristine, with no wear whatsoever, so it's clearly one of the local offspring of the early summer migrants. These feed solely on nettles as caterpillars.
At this time of year I always look closely at clusters of aphids on Knapweed. The larvae of the hoverfly Syrphus ribesii consume large numbers of aphids, and the female always makes sure her offspring have an adequate supply:
|Larva of Syrphus ribesii with aphids|
Meliscaeva cinctella is one of the later hoverflies, usually to be found from August onwards. Its larvae are also aphid eaters, but solely on tree-dwelling species, such as the Wooly beech aphid.
|Meliscaeva cinctella hoverfly|
Fairy Flax is a very delicate little flower which I tend to find near the edges of forestry, or along forest paths: