It’s been a while..

How time flies!  It’s been hovering around at the back of my mind to get around to doing a blog post, but I never seem to get the time.  I now realise that it’s been well over a month since my previous post – so time to get going methinks!

A lovely bright male Brimstone popped by for some lunch

Talking of how time flies, and things hovering – there are some very impressive hoverflies around at the moment!  ( What a brilliant link eh?!!) Read on for more about them..

Back in late July, I was busying around the Buddliea, cutting back the old flower heads so that new ones would come through – and getting quite put out by a Hornet that kept buzzing me.  Not being keen on getting a Hornet sting, I duly moved away to let the beastie grab whatever insect it had its eye on so that I could get back to the flower heads.  Nope, not allowed as the Hornet settled on the Buddleia.  I then noticed that it was feeding on nectar, not your typical Hornet activity!  Closer inspection revealed it to actually be a hoverfly – but a huge hoverfly!

The very aptly named 'Hornet Hoverfly'. It's big, very big!

Eager to check it and get an ID, I took a few shots of it then headed off to google it.  I guessed it would be a volucella type, as they seem to be the biggy hoverflies.  Typing in volucella produced a few images of hoverflies, but not the one I was after.  I then tried Hornet look-a-like, and got lots of hornet pics including planes and a baseball team!  My inspirational idea to go with ‘hornet hoverfly’ worked first time and there it was – a Hornet Hoverfly of course!  Why I didn’t think of trying that first I don’t know!

Anyway, they really are big beasties, probably around 2cm in size.  There was one back in the garden again today -so well worth keeping an eye open for them.  By the way, I’ve also had a couple of other volucella types in the garden..

Volucella zonaria is quite common now, and has a well marked orange and brown/black body.

Volucella zonaria. Don't know if it has a common name?

Volucella pellucens is even easier to pick out – as the ivory coloured band across it’s body, plus a couple of black dots on the wings make it pretty unmistakable.

Volucella pellucens. Same again, not sure of any common name for it..

Again, both of these are still around in good numbers – I’ve had at least 3 pellucens in the garden at one time last week.

It’s not just hoverflies on the buddleia of course -it’s got a well deserved alternative name of ‘butterfly tree’ for a reason!  It’s not been the best of times recently for butterflies but I’ve had peacock, comma, large white, small white, green veined white, common blue, brimstone, red admiral, small tortoiseshell and even speckled wood all stopping off for a bit of a breather and a stock up on some nectar.

The Holly blues seem to be having a great second brood this year.  It seems every 20 mins or so that one flies through the garden (could be the same one I suppose!) and I’ve seen plenty out and about as well.They rarely seem to stop for very long, and always seem very intent on heading off as if they have somewhere to be and are running late.

Female Holly Blue - just popped in for a couple of minutes.

This one stayed long enough for me to get a couple of shots before she headed off -no doubt in search of some holly or ivy to lay her eggs, as she even laid a few on the buddleia which I guess won’t come to much as I doubt that the caterpillars will eat it if the eggs do happen to hatch next year.

Some days everything seems to be against you, and even butterflies have days like that -at least this one did!

The Large White - halfway through it's bad day!

This Large White came whizzing over the fence into the garden the other day, got caught up in a bit of a wind eddy and crashed into the fence.  It futtered to the ground, probably to get over its ordeal.  Suitably recovered, it flew up off the ground -only to get itself caught in a spiders web..  Felling a littel sorry for the poor thing I rescued it from a sticky end and placed it carefully on the wall to recover yet again.  Several minutes passed, before it finally launched itslef into the air and headed off over the garden, smacking into the clothes line as it went!  The last I saw of it, was it just gaining enough height to get over the fence and into the next garden -I just hope its day improved a little after that escapade!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this little catch up – and I promise to get back on track again with my regular blogs, assuming the weather improves enough to allow me to get out and weild the camera of course!

Cheers

Spud

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