Blog Header

Blog Header

Monday, 1 September 2014

Flies, flying things, and things that are called flies but aren't

Well here I am on my new iMac which is pretty super-duper and very fast! My blog and the font look a bit different but I'll get used to it. Comparing my photos on my old PC monitor to this giant screen is a shock to the system - a very nice shock!

Anyhow here are some flying critters seen over the weekend. The first two are a couple of Volucella hoverflies that I hadn't seen before. I'd been over the lane in the orchard picking pears then had a wander up the road with my camera. Thanks to the recent rain the wildflowers growing on the verges and in the ditches are doing very well. I'm pretty sure it's Hogweed (Heraclum sphodylium) in the first set of photos - a large umbellifer that grows in all the ditches around here. 

Hoverfly (Volucella inanis).

Hoverfly (Volucella pellucens).

A fly of some sort feeding on a Dahlia.

I'm hoping for more butterflies this week as the temps are due to rise. There are a few Peacocks and Red Admirals around which I associate with this time of year, but few and far between. I'm used to seeing loads of them (and Commas too) feasting on rotting plums and feeding on my Sedums, but so far it's just not happening!

Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria).

A tatty Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) on Feverfew.

The Peacocks (Inachis io) I've seen lately all seem rather small.

Zephirine Drouhin the rose has been looking tatty lately but has
managed a few more flowers - and who is that handsome dude on the leaf?

I don't know the ID but it's a wasp of some sort and a very handsome beast I reckon.

This Carder Bee matches the Dahlia perfectly.

I also saw this female Scorpionfly in my orchard. The banks of the stream are covered with nettles, thistles and brambles, perfect for wildlife. There are many orb weaving spiders too which is just what the Scorpionflies like, as they are scavengers feeding on dead insects and sometimes stealing from spiders' webs. They also eat live aphids so are welcome in my garden, and I have seen them in the veg patch a number of times. Scorpionflies are not flies despite the name and belong to the order Mecoptera.

Scorpionfly (Panorpa communis) stealing a spider's dinner.

Finally, something that can't fly yet as it's still only in the nymph stage but it was looking pretty on my Hydrangea so it got its picture taken.

Common Green Shield Bug (Palomena prasina) nymph on a Hydrangea petal.

I'm glad I didn't need to write reams for this post as I'm still getting used to a new keyboard, the only difficult thing about this computer change. 

Have a good week everyone!


  1. I knew you'd love the new Mac :-) Love those Volucellas and I'm a sucker for shieldbugs as well. That looks an unusual colour form of the Speckled Wood- is a Continental version I wonder? Ours are a darker brown. Yours is very pretty. And Scorpion flies are my current favourite insect :-)

    1. Haha it would be a bit awful if I didn't like it! Yes the Speckled Woods over this side of the channel are a reddy brown colour - it's a different subspecies. I don't see many Scorpionflies and have only ever seen one male and when I first saw this one I thought something was eating it! Having a camera to show you what you are really seeing is great. :-)

  2. Stunning, clear and sharp photos Mandy.
    Amanda xx

    1. Thanks very much Amanda - was hoping the photos wouldn't look too odd because I noticed such a difference between the Mac screen and my old PC. I'm not turning on my old PC anymore because it was doing my head in!! :-) Also strange because my blog has now got much narrower columns but I'm not going to fiddle because I'd made it fit right for the old screen... just shows everyone views things differently! :-)

  3. Awe...I feel so sorry for you having to get used to your new Mac ;-) Must be torture Mandy? ;-)

    Anyhow..another update chock-full of excellent photos. I like the scorpion fly particularly, I see lots of these of both sexes but have yet to see one robbing a web-or a male presenting a female with a present, which I believe they also do.
    The speckled wood is a beauty..I think I remember commenting before about the difference between your 'Frenchie' ones and our 'Blighty' ones ;-) Also the peacock photo is great, they have the ability to look almost 3D in photos I always think; can't say I have noticed any smaller ones here though.

    BTW..I am not being lazy by not using capitals for butterfly/insect names, it's just that I read up on it all and the consensus seemed to be that unless you are starting a new sentence/paragraph, it's only necessary to use caps for Latin/scientific names? That's my excuse anyhow ;-)

    Oh and the 'Notify me' thingy was working this time ;-)

    1. Yes it is a shame JJ but I think I deserve it as I've been using a really ancient slow PC! :-)

      I mostly see female Scorpionflies and never two together yet. Did see a bigger Peacock yesterday. Note the capital letters (lol), think it just comes naturally to me but I don't think it is very important in things like comments.... however I'm old school and wouldn't drop the capitals in posts. Plants however, well I get confused there as sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. I just try to be consistent!

      Anyway thanks very much and I am glad your Notify Me is working. :-)

  4. Yes too! In fact I have just been writing a blog update and found myself using caps ;-)

    Not sure which is correct myself but capitals seem to look better? Maybe I'll revert to using them then LOL (in caps) ;-)

    1. I will have to come and see what interesting things you have found - just been giving myself a really serious kicking because I went out without a camera and found my first ever Hairstreak in my garden - a Purple Hairstreak (I think, I tried to memorise some markings but the purple when it opened its wings was quite obvious). I'm SO annoyed!!!

      Anyway, LOL is incorrect, would you really write "I'm Laughing Out Loud at your remark/comment/joke"? ;-)