One of my favourite garden hoverflies put in its first appearance of the year this week: the striking Volucella pellucens.
Male Volucella pellucens on ox-eye daisy (Leucantemum vulgare) in the garden.
I first saw this hoverfly in the garden back in 2003 (see diary entry for 31st August 2003
). I saw it in the garden again last year - just the once - but I managed to get a picture
Female Volucella pellucens pictured on ivy (Hedera helix) whilst out walking this morning.
Strangely enough, this year's sighting and that of 2004 were exactly a year apart - both occurring on the 25th June.
I've seen this species twice since the 25th; not in the garden, but on two separate occasions whilst out walking (see the other photograph). This year's garden example was a male as evidenced from the fact that the eyes almost meet on top of the head. Last year's was a female which, like the one photographed this morning, can be recognised by the widely separated eyes. The eyes and face of this one looked like polished bronze in the early morning sunshine. Both sexes have the highly reflective black thorax and gorgeously patterned wings.
species are very powerful fliers - sometimes accelerating so rapidly from a hover that they appear to just vanish. Volucella pellucens
though, when at rest or feeding on a flower, seems to be quite approachable and photographing it is not too difficult.