ash tree, episyrphus balteatus, eristalis pertinax, flesh-eating fly, hedge woundwort, helophilus pendulus, hypericum montanum, large pied hoverfly, marmalade fly, Pale St John's Wort, sarcophoga carnaria, Stinking Iris-Iris foetidissima, syrphus ribesii, tapered drone fly, volucella zonaria, wild strawberry fruit, woodland flowers
Variable summer weather is perhaps more the norm here in North Wales than in some other parts of the UK, although we still feel hard done to when yet another day dawns doomed to be overcast. There are many compensations though, one of which is that when the odd sunny, or partially sunny day occurs, the insects come out in force in search of sustenance. I photographed all of the following along Bryn Euryn’s Woodland Trail during a fleeting sunny spell a couple of weeks ago.
On the edge of the trail a substantial bramble was still flowering and literally buzzing with insects, mostly hoverflies and bees. There were two butterflies, a Red Admiral and a Comma that were flying around rather frantically, both of which briefly (and separately) landed on my arm. Poor things were clearly overcome by the presence of both sun and nectar. I would have liked a more conventional shot of the Comma, this being the first I’d seen here this year, but it was taunting me from high over my head so this was my best view. I rather like it and it’s clear from the outline that it is a Comma.
The hoverflies were very active, not pausing for long but these are the ones I could get to fairly easily:
There were bees too, including lots of tiny red-tailed and buff-tailed worker bumblebees that were way too quick for me to focus on.
A less charming insect to many, I find the Flesh-eating fly-Sarcophaga carnaria rather attractive to look at. I think the white feet complete the look, makes it look rather dapper.
The trees are still green and fresh-looking thanks to the rain and cooler weather, although those in the top right of the next picture are looking quite lacy.
Continuing along the trail I hear a few birds letting the world know they are still about, Chiffchaff song bursts were fairly frequent, I heard Wrens and the contact calls of Blue Tits and plenty of corvid cawings. I found this feather too, maybe once belonging to a Magpie, it gleamed shades of almost peacock-blue in the dappled sunlight.
Honeysuckle is in flower now on the trail’s edge and I couldn’t resist stopping to inhale its clean, fresh fragrance.
There is purple Hedge woundwort too, which has an earthy pungent, nettle-like scent.
And a St John’s Wort I’d not spotted before, which I think is hypericum montanum, but happy to be corrected as always.
A rather unusual plant grows here in the shady woodland, delightfully named the Stinking Iris and sometimes the ‘Roast-beef Plant’, both names allude to the sweetly acrid smell, like ‘high’ meat. This is one of just two Iris species native to the UK; the other is the Yellow Flag Iris.
I picked a couple of ripe wild wild strawberries, trying not to think about the fly sitting on a leaf above them and their proximity to the path along which there is a regular procession of loose dogs….. They were delicious, regardless.
Turned off and took the steps up to Adder’s Field
more treats were in store there but there’s far too much to cram into one post, so will be continued….
Hi Anny, I’m happy to give you pause for a cup of coffee and a sit down now and then! Since starting to look more closely at flies, particularly hoverflies, I am fascinated by how colourful and intricately patterned such tiny things can be. Overcast days are good for getting a good, quick look as they’re not so mobile-I can’t imagine your DD gives you much time for stopping! Would love to walk with you any time, but I’m sure you know more than you think!
I’ve now learned from experience to come to your posts armed with a mug of coffee and a few minutes spare for a proper look! Wonderful. My fly spotting abilities are next to none, so this is extremely interesting, especially as the DD and I seem to be walking with a huge amount of them at the moment. I wish I could take you out with me a few times a year so I could learn the names for a few more of the plants and insects we pass every day – although I am getting better – slowly!
Maggie Emm said:
Great to follow your walk – I am particularly fond of flies and really enjoyed your pictures – natures unappreciated creatures!
Glad you enjoyed it Maggie, thank you. I agree that flies are under-appreciated, I get some some very funny looks from people that see me trying to photograph them!
Ruth Livingstone said:
Lovely post. Great collection of flies! I’ll try to look at them more carefully in future.
Thanks Ruth. I’ve only been ‘fly-spotting’ for a couple of years, perhaps because there are so many here they’re more noticeable;identifying them can be a bit of a challenge. Happy walking!