It is good to walk in the woods in spring and observe the first butterflies such as polygonia c-album, inachis io and Gonepteryx rhamni which have hibernated through the long winter. Another herald of spring are the Bee Flies of the family Bombyliidae. Sitting on a woodland bank these flies are a delight to watch as they hover like humming-birds visiting flowers for nectar. One that I photographed today turned out to be Nationally scarce U.K insect Bombylius discolor. Although bee fly larva are parasitoids on Mining-bee grubs and I must admit Diptera are not always my favourite insects for various reasons, I find bee flies charming and harmless insects. Peter. Below B. discolor.
Spring and early summer is certainly my favourite time of year in Britain. Here, a well managed wood at this time is awash with colour and alive with insects. I often visit one such wood in the Cotswolds which, because of the late spring, is still a carpet of bluebells and primroses. On a recent visit I was pleased to be able to observe another bee mimic Bombylius major [ Large Bee-Fly ]. I noticed that not only do they look like small bees they also sound like them unlike the larger Bee-Hawk Moths. When feeding they land on the flower clumsily and are held in place by their long hairy and spindly legs but they still need to vibrate their wings at a very fast rate. They only feed at a flower for a very short time before moving on to another food source. The images are Bombylius major feeding at primroses.