Our “Renaturing champions” recently had their first outing at the Covers in College Road. They spotted a few wild flowers in flower including Red Dead-nettle, Sweet Violet, Daisies, Dandelions and plenty of Bristly Ox-Tongue leaves. A great start to the year.
Mary even managed to get a photo of a pollinator on the wing. But what was it? Initial impression would suggest a bee of some sort, but after closer examination, and a couple of second opinions we agreed that it was actually a hoverfly. (Probably Eristalis pertinax?)
Hoverflies can be stripey and buzzing, and do their best to impersonate bees, but there are a few key differences as per this guide from Buglife :
Compare the short antennae and huge eyes to those on this honey bee.
Hoverflies come in all shapes and sizes in fact 283 difference species have been recorded in Britain. It’s hard to confidently identify them to species. For the purposes of the pollinator counts we do with Buglife, we only need to count the number of species landing in a ten minute count in a small square. For example “two solitary bees, a bumble bee and a hoverfly”
It would be great to get some practice in, spotting the difference before we do our official counts later in the year! Do let us know what you spot!