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June 23rd- Bryn Euryn

Bramble flowers are an important source of nectar and pollen for many species of insects and today, a large tangled patch of blackberry brambles in a sunny spot on the sheltered Woodland Trail was alive with an array of bumblebees and hoverflies.

23/6/16-Bryn Euryn on bramble

23/6/16-Pellucid fly-Volucella pellucens on bramble flower


Since living here I have begun to recognise the most obvious and more commonly-occurring species of hoverflies, and they don’t come much bigger or more obvious than the handsome Pellucid Fly (Volucella pellucens), aka the Great Pied Hoverfly. This is one of the largest most obvious and recognisable of our British hoverflies.

myathropa florea

Myathropa florea

Yellow-and-black stripes are the well-used livery of many hoverfly species and sorting out the different species accurately, especially the small ones, requires more skill and knowledge than I have at the moment, or at least some crystal clear images of certain parts of them.

Bigger yellow and black species are a little easier, especially if they have good clear markings, such as sported by this new-to-me, or at least newly identified  Myathropa florea (no common name). I was aided and amused in this ID by a tip from the author of my Hoverfly bible¹, who suggests that the lower marking on the thoracic dorsum (part behind the head) resembles the Batman logo. Well, in a nice fresh clearly marked individual it does!

160703-Bryn Euryn-55-Hoverfly in dog rose flower

Syrphus sp hoverfly in a Dog Rose

160623-Bryn Euryn-55-Hoverfly hovering

One of the only small hoverflies that is unique and distinctive in its markings and has earned a common name is the  Marmalade Fly Episyrphus Baltaetus. This one was hovering at just about my head height, darting hither and thither in a patch of sunlight in defence of his territory. The image of him in the photograph is still bigger than he was.


There were bumblebees aplenty, mostly Red-tailed, White tailed and Common Carders, but also Tree Bumblebees and a few little Early Bumblebee workers.

Tree bumblebee

Tree bumblebee-Bombus hypnorum

The number of Tree Bumblebees here has increased greatly over the last few years. I used to see them mainly in early Spring in the Quarry field on Green Alkanet flowers, and maybe the odd one or two further afield. Now they are present in all parts of the site and can be spotted on an array of flowers through to the end of the summer.


160623-Bryn Euryn-Early Bumblebee workers

Early Bumblebee- Bombus pratorum (worker)


160623-Bryn Euryn-55-Meadow Brown

Meadow Brown-Maniola jurtina

160623-Bryn Euryn-55-Speckled Wood 1

Speckled Wood-Pararge aegeria 

Large Skipper (male)

Large Skipper-Ochlodes venatus (male)

3/7/16-Bryn Euryn-Large Skipper (f)

Bryn Euryn-Large Skipper (female)

Not bramble related, but a special treat was a very brief encounter with a Grayling. On the track up to the summit it literally landed in front of me, sat on a small rock for a few seconds then took off into the breeze.


Grayling-Hipparchia semele

The same strong breeze that carried away the Grayling was keeping the Small Heaths tucked down in the grass, but I finally managed to get an almost-clear view of one feeding on Wild Thyme.

Small Heath-Coenonympha pamphilus

Small Heath-Coenonympha pamphilus

Walking back down through the woods on the way home, a Red Admiral startled me when it flew up from a bramble at the side of the track. It settled back down when I stopped, then flew out again – the feisty thing was deliberately warning me to get out of his space! He sat brazenly on a leaf at about my eye level and reared up defiantly as I approached with the camera, not giving an inch and I’m sure trying to stare me down! Loved his attitude.

Red Admiral-Vanessa atalanta

Red Admiral-Vanessa atalanta

160623-Bryn Euryn-55-Red Admiral 5


References: ¹ Britain’s Hoverflies  – Stuart Ball and Roger Morris