Hovering Hoverfly - June 2016
This week the whole article is dedicated to the return of the insects. I've posted a few insect photos in previous articles this year, but this week, the glorious weather has encouraged all sorts of creepy crawlies to reappear.
Probably my favourite insect to photograph is the Hoverfly. I find them almost impossible to identify though, as on the whole each species is very similar. With there being nearly 300 different species in the UK alone, identification is not a simple task.
I'm always quite thrilled to catch one mid-flight though, as although they spend a lot of their time hovering, they tend to dart around the air in zigzags, making it difficult to pinpoint their exact location, resulting in lots and lots of blurry images.
Hiding Hoverfly - June 2016
When they aren't hovering, they can usually be seen sunning themselves on a leaf or flower. This particular one was reluctant to come out of hiding though, so I snapped him as he poked his head around a leaf.
Dock Bug - June 2016
Although I see quite a few Green Shield Bugs (Palomena prasina) around the garden, this is the first time I've seen a Dock Bug (Coreus marginatus). As you can probably guess, it gets its name because it feeds mostly on dock leaves.
Bluebottle - June 2016
Of course, as the weather got hotter, the flies were out in force. The large Bluebottle (Calliphora vomitoria) was probably the most abundant...
Greenbottle - June 2016
...although the Greenbottle (Lucilia caesar) population wasn't far behind. I must admit that I find their metallic green colouring very attractive. Is that weird?
Buzzing Bumblebee - June 2016
I'm glad to report that there were also plenty of Bumblebees (Bombus) visiting the late spring flowers. This one was enjoying the small blue blooms of a Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens) plant.
Harvesting Honey Bee - June 2016
The Honey Bees (Apis) were having a field day on the Cotoneaster bush blossom, with almost as many bees as there were flowers.
Flesh Fly on Foliage - June 2016
There was also an abundance of Flesh Flies (Sarcophaga carnaria), which was great, as long as they stay out of the house, and the rubbish bins!
Crab Meat - June 2016
I spotted my first Crab Spider (Misumena vatia) at the weekend, sitting atop an Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare). Crab Spider's are ambush predators, and by the look of things, this one had completely surprised the little beetle it has in its deadly grasp.
Furry Fly - June 2016
This furry looking fellow is another type of Hoverfly. It's one of those flies that mimic other, more deadly creatures. It's called a Greater Bulb Fly (Merodon equestris), and I guess it's trying to mimic some sort of bee.
Bulb Fly - June 2016
I'm not sure if this is the same species or not, like I said, it's confusing. This one seems to have dark hair on its back and not ginger.
Dandy Explorer - June 2016
Like I've mentioned previously, keeping Dandelions (Taraxacum) until they go to seed is a great idea, as the native bees absolutely love them. This small specimen was certainly enjoying one.
Cabbage White Butterfly - June 2016
This was the first Small White Butterfly (Pieris rapae) I've seen this year. For photographic purposes, it's usually good to catch butterflies and other insects early in the morning, before they've had a chance to warm up, so you have a better change of getting a good shot. It was so warm this week though that everything seemed to be active as soon as it got light!
Along the Edge - June 2016
I found this little 14-Spotted Ladybird (Propylea quatuordecimpunctata) sunning itself in my garden. I think it's the first time I've seen this species in my garden, so it's quite exciting!
Collection Agent - June 2016
The Cirsium blooms are still attracting the Bumblebees, and the more blooms I get, the more bees it seems to attract.
Yawn - June 2016
Finally, I think I wore my little photographic helper out this week. Over at dad's I was in every bush, tree, flower patch and hedgerow looking for bugs, and this little chap loyally followed me all over the place. He deserves his rest.
So, lots and lots to see from the insect world this week, and it's only going to get better as summer gets under way. My favourite this week was a toss up between the hovering hoverfly and the hovering bumblebee, but just because I like hoverflies so much, I'm making Hovering Hoverfly my Image of the Week...