The garden is full of bees and hoverflies at the moment.
Yesterday I spotted a new hoverfly species for the garden (I've only been trying to identify them more seriously since last summer). I thought it was one of the Scaeva species probably the Lunar Hoverfly but several people on Twitter have identified it as a Pied Hoverfly - Scaeva pyrastri. This species is found in gardens, wastelands and meadows and it is thought that few survive the winter so breeding populations rely on migrants from mainland Europe.
and a different uncropped photo. The flowers on my Rat-tailed radishes are attracting a lot of hoverfly species.
There are dozens of Marmalade Hoverflies round the garden - Episyrphus balteatus. Not the best of photos - these insects zoom around so much it is really hard to get a decent picture.
This is a common species of hoverfly - the larvae are predators of aphids. I do hope they lay plenty of eggs on my Echinops plants as there are very few flowers forming thanks to a massive aphid attack :(
The week after the holiday we had a Banded Demoiselle in the garden - I didn't get a photo but its a new garden tick :)
Last year I fell in love with Astrantia and bought a plant from Coughton Court. Its doing really well this year and is proving a magnet for pollinators - here one of the white-tailed bumble bees enjoying the nectar. It almost seemed drunk and didn't move in the half an hour I was in the garden.
Today I was planning to visit a wood about an hour's journey away in search of Purple Emperor, Purple Hairstreak, White Admiral and Silver Washed Fritillary but, for various reasons, the trip has been postponed so I decided to do my first Big Butterfly Count, organised by Butterfly Conservation.
I was really chuffed to see a Large Skipper - I've only seen Skippers in the garden on 3 occasions in all the years we've lived here.
Other butterflies seen were Gatekeeper x 2 (the first this year)
Speckled Wood x 2
and Large White x 1
The main lawn is covered in clover at the moment attracting Common Carder Bees and this the first Red-tailed Bumble Bee of the year.