My fascination with hoverflies continues, fuelled partly by their intriguing habit of hovering directly in front of me, as if checking out my human intrusion into their air space. Or maybe it’s just their curiosity. A friend told me to hold out my hand, palm down, for the little critters to use as a landing pad … and, you know, it actually works!
Here are four of my latest helicoptering friends.
My first newbie is Epistrophe eligans, discovered in Cathays Cemetery on 24 April. Their preferred habitat is sunny hedgerows and woodland edges, with a particular liking for Hawthorn and Blackthorn. Their yellow stripe patterns can vary a lot so I was grateful for the help of the experts on the UK Hoverflies Facebook group for an ID on this (and, in fact, on all my hoverflies).
Here’s another from Cathays Cemetery. It’s one of the Syrphus species, possibly ribesii, but it’s almost identical to Syrphus vitripennis and my photo doesn’t show enough detail to differentiate the two. This is one of Britain’s more common hoverflies so I hope to get a better photo eventually.
I found this Portevinia maculata in Bute Park last week, flitting around in the Ramsons, its favourite plant. Its black and grey colouring make this an easy one to identify.
And last but not least, one of the Brachyopa species. At first, I didn’t realise this was a hoverfly, as its grey and brown colours are rather unusual, though they also make it easy to recognise … once you know what it is.