Now that Spring is most definitely here, there's plenty of wildlife to look out for in our gardens or on our daily constitutionals. A garden doesn't have to big or well-tended to be good for wildlife, a patch of soil and some "weeds" in some front gardens or pots on a balcony and not forgetting our street trees and pavement plants, can often prove to be more bio-diverse than any number of manicured back gardens or pavemented front gardens.
So as we're being forced to refocus on our own front yards, let's see what you can look for right now.
One species to try and spot at the moment is my favourite fly (what? you don't have a favourite fly?) a bumblebee mimic, the large or dark-bordered bee-fly.
The large bee-fly is instantly recognisable from its round body, ginger fur, patterned wings and long, slender proboscis. As this is a fly, it only has two wings, not four like a bee. It feeds conspicuously on flower nectar in garden borders from April. You may have seen it many times but assumed it was a bee but the way it moves, oh and that big spike out the front, tends to give it away.
As they spend so much time around flowers, particularly primroses, bee-flies play a vital role in pollination. However, they are not entirely benign, being a parasitoid of bees and solitary wasps. Female bee-flies flick their eggs into their host's burrow entrance. The hatching larvae then enter the nest, consuming not only the stored food, but the resident larvae as well.
Compared to the other three Bombylius species in the UK, the large bee-fly is big, at around 10mm long and just look at its beautiful wings! You've got to admit they are pretty cute.
You can find a guide to identifying bee-flies, as well as details of the bee-fly recording scheme on the Biological Records Centre website.
Both these photos were taken in my garden last week and here's a little video too
Happy bee-fly spotting!
I ain't nivva seen one o'dem. Interesting. Thanks.
I bet you have. You just never realised that you did!
Aha - it was definitely one of those we saw in our garden last week in the warm sunshine - I wondered what it was! Thanks!
I saw one of these in our garden a few days ago and I was wondering what it was. Thanks for the info!
See them every day ... love em