Saturday, 25 April 2015

Garden wildlife

A few from my garden taken on Thursday when the sun shone bright.

A female Anthophora plumipes Hairy-footed Flower-bee. One of our largest solitary bees, and one of the commonest bees of flowery gardens in spring. The beige males fly rapidly around flower beds hovering and darting periodically, their yellow faces usually quite obvious. The mid tarsi have a fringe of very long hairs that arise from all 5 tarsal segments. Typical females are very different-looking to males, jet-black except from the orange hairs on the hind tibiae.
A. plumipes is widespread and locally common over much of southern Britain, especially within urban areas. It is also frequent along the coast (especially soft-rock cliffs), in quarries and on chalk downland. Nesting usually takes place in vertical, sunny faces, such as cliffs, quarry sides, old walls and soft mortar of younger walls. Large nesting aggregations can develop over time. Females are often reported indoors, possibly where nesting occurs close to windows or in chimneys

A wide variety of flowers are visited, especially those with deeper flowers such as lamiates (dead-nettles, Ground-ivy), legumes (Common Gorse, bird's-foot trefoils), comfreys, lungworts and spring shrubs such as sallows, Blackthorn, cherries, plums and apples. Males emerge before females, usually in early March. Females can persist into June.

Submit your sightings to BWARS

Find more information on Steven Falk's excellent Flickr site.

female Anthophora plumipes Hairy-footed Flower-bee

Epistrophe eligans - A distinctive, medium-sized hoverfly that can attain great abundance for a short period of mid spring - typically peaking when the Hawthorn is in blossom. The males can be conspicuous as they hover in loose swarms in rides and clearings. It can turn up far away from woods too. Both sexes occasionally have an extra orange band on tergite 3. The larvae are aphidophagous on a range of trees and shrubs, less often herbaceous species.
Epistrophe eligans

Eupeodes luniger - Our most frequent Eupeodes, with a pronounced spring peak (usually featuring darker individuals that have probably overwintered as pupae) plus further peaks of abundance in summer.

Eupeodes luniger