Hovering on the edge of a breakthrough

Lockdown has given me plenty of opportunity to learn about the plants, birds, amphibians, insects and other invertebrates in my urban oasis. Despite the fact that I turn 71 in two weeks, I’m still learning. This year I have definitely improved my observational skills for the minute and moving critters that sip nectar and pollinate the flowers. I’m getting a better knowledge of the flowers and ‘weeds’ too, and they have the good grace to remain stationary.

I can now confidently tell that a bee is a bee and a fly is a fly, even when one mimics the other. It’s simple, but not something I bothered to be aware of until lockdown locked me into garden watching.

My hoverfly ID’s are my best guesses. It’s not just because I’m no expert. Not even because I’m a raw beginner at entomology in general. Even were I more learned and experienced there is so much variation within species. Often the clincher is some microscopic feature only viewable under a microscope following dissection. Even if I had the equipment and skill I would be reluctant to sacrifice an individual for my own vanity. I don’t have to know. Appreciating nature is not always about knowledge, although that can be truly fascinating. I can live with not knowing for sure, even while doing as much research as I can to get to the bottom of it.

So, the species picture below is identified as a ‘best guess’, I’m always happy to be corrected.

Lesser Banded Hoverfly Syrphus vitripennis

As flowers don’t move much and because hoverflies do tend to settle on petals periodically they present great photo opportunities and I think I am definitely improving the use of my iPhone camera.

All the flowers and hoverflies below have previously been identified and are there for their pure beauty.


Rant it out!
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