One of the most common hover flies in my garden is episyrphus balteatus. I am fairly confident about my identification in four of these shots. Less so in the one below.
I believe episyrphus balteatus is one of the flies also known by the common name, marmalade fly. Obviously, this is because of its colour and not because it has a penchant for preserves!.
I think hover flies are a delightful addition to the garden. The adults feed entirely on nectar but the larvae are voracious predators of aphids, which makes them jolly useful! Episyrphus balteatus is also one of the best hover fly hoverers, making it a relatively easy target for the photographer.
Hover flies disguise themselves as bees or wasps as a defensive mechanism. Unfortunately, they are so good at this that many people assume they are bees or wasps and, if they think the latter, they tend to swat them. What a shame. Hover flies have no sting and no downside for humans. They aren’t even interested in our food.
Each Spring, the return of the insects to my garden prompts me to dust off my macro lens. After that, it tends to be the default lens until Winter sets in once more. However, it always takes me a while to get my macro eye back in. This year, other commitments meant that I didn’t have much time for photography; a foray into the garden yesterday showed me that my macro eye is most definitely still out! Never mind, there’s always next year…
These shots of a hawthorn shield bug are from earlier in the year. One of the challenges with photographing insects in this country is most of them are so small. In warmer climes, there are big, chunky bugs to capture. These shield bugs are among the biggest I see in my garden, and they are still only 8-10mm when full grown.
I must confess that I was not 100% certain of my ID here and originally misidentified this as a birch shield bug. Thank you to Maria for the correction in the comments below.
Borg Queen: Brave words. I’ve heard them before, from thousands of species across thousands of worlds, since long before you were created. But, now they are all Borg.
Lieutenant Commander Data: I am unlike any lifeform you have encountered before. The codes stored in my neural net cannot be forcibly removed.
–Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
Sanity will return tomorrow. I promise.
About the only good thing about having a full hard drive is that it forces me to revisit old files, looking for things I can delete. In the process, I often find images that didn’t make the cut first time around but have grown on me since. These two butterfly shots are the case in point, taken in July 2011 at Mayfield Lavender farm, Banstead, Surrey.
The large white butterfly, so prosaically named, is ubiquitous here in Surrey (and probably everywhere else in England) and it tends to get overlooked for more unusual species, but actually it is really quite pretty when you look closely. I like the eyes, with a subtle hint of green. If it was rare, we’d all be waxing lyrical about its ghostly beauty.
It’s been several weeks since I was last here. I’ve missed it. I just pressed the button on my dissertation! I can no longer tinker with it; it’s done. All I need to do now is bind and drop off the hard copies tomorrow. I am excited to be able to get back to the blog. I hope you haven’t all given up on me!
I couldn’t completely leave the camera alone for the whole summer. Here’s a shot of a lovely little common blue butterfly, captured while on holiday in Sark in July. See you after college tomorrow!
A few days ago I posted an image of an immature capsid bug. Here’s a shot from last year of one all grown up, surveying the garden kingdom.