Tuesday, 28 July 2015
Hornet Hoverfly, Butterflies, Razzmatazz, Leaf Cutter Bees and Moths
I first spotted this Hornet Hoverfly (Volucella zonaria) in the garden yesterday on Astrantia flowers but by the time I had fetched the camera it had gone. Luckily, it returned today and I managed to get a few record shots.
It looks like a stinging hornet but is actually quite harmless. The mimicry helps to protect the hoverfly from predators, such as birds.
The Hornet Hoverfly first colonised England in the 1940's. Initially, it was rare and confined to the south and south-east but climate change and warming temperatures have resulted in it moving northwards and it has now been spotted in Cheshire.
Its larvae live in the nests of social wasps in a symbiotic relationship where the larvae keep the nest clean by feeding on debris and rubbish.
Apart from the fact that Astrantia has attracted this new garden hoverfly "tick", I have fallen totally in love with it. I first spotted it last year at Coughton Court where I bought this plant. Colours of the flowers vary from white, to light pink, mid pink and a beautiful deep pink. I would love a border full of this and Cosmos.
Marjoram has started to flower and today attracted a pair of Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithinus) butterflies.
A photo of one of the butterflies on Cranesbill Geranium leaves
Last year I also bought an Echinacea Razzmatazz from one of the NT properties I visited - the flowers are a real delight :)
I still haven't managed to get a photo this year of Leaf Cutter bees but here you can see they are using the new bee "hotel"
We've had a lot of rain overnight recently so I haven't put the moth trap out but here a few moths from when I last trapped.
Shuttle-shaped Dart (Agrotis puta)
Common Footman (Eilema lurideola) - New for Year
Marbled Beauty (Bryophila domestica0
Mottled Rustic (Caradrina morpheus) - New for Year
Scalloped Oak (worn!) (Crocallis elonguaria0
Elephant Hawk-moth (Deilephila elpenor )