My best photo yet of a Hedychrum species of ruby tailed wasp.
Another new bee for me !!
A medium-small species rather resembling a small A. barbilabris. Females have the same small-headed build and very pale facial fovea but the white hair fringes of the abdomen are much better developed and the pollen brushes of the hind tibiae are whitish rather than dark brown. Like barbilabris, the hind margin of tergite 1 has longitudinal creases.
Males tend to look very silvery in the field with a long white pile on the sides of the thorax and conspicuous white hair fringes on the abdomen.
This is a specialist of southern lowland heath with records extending north to Worcestershire. It flies from late June to September and foraging is largely from heathers
Females and immatures are pale, yellowish brown with tho bold lines running along the length of the abdomen. The wings have a yellow costa and a very dark brown or black pterostigma.
The males develop a blue pruinescence on the abdomen darkening to the rear with with S8-10 becoming black. Its eyes are very dark green. They fly swift and low, skimming the water surface.
Females retain their colur and markings though they become quite greyish brown with age.
Britain’s largest horsefly – a monster the size of a queen bumblebee. Fortunately, it prefers biting horses to humans. This is mainly a species of boggy areas in north and west Britain though it remains common in the New Forest where it prefers woodland clearings. The larvae develop as predators in wet mud and vegetation of peaty ditches and pools.
One of the ‘big five’ soldierflies (4 Stratiomys species plus Odontomyia ornata). This is the only one with an entirely black abdomen, though patches of pale hairs can create the impression of a pattern, and very small yellow spots are rarely present (nearly always present in southern European populations). Beware of S. singularior individuals with very small yellow spots – these have extensively dark hind tibiae and usually average larger. It also has a more hirsute appearance than other Stratiomys species
S. longicornis is almost entirely restricted to coastal areas, typically upper saltmarsh, tidal rivers and coastal grazing marsh where brackish pools, ditches and lagoons are present within (e.g. borrow dykes and old salt-winning areas). It will typically occur alongside S. singularior in such places but seems to specialise in more saline habitats. As a result of its more specialised needs, it is a much scarcer species with the bulk of the British population occurring within the Solent area, Sussex coastal marshes, Thames marshes and East Anglian coast.
Another great find
Our smallest (female wing length to 7mm) and most distinctive-looking leaf-cutter. Both sexes tend to have a silvery appearance because of the conspicuous white hair bands across the tergites, though very fresh individuals also have a brownish tinge.
Males have tergite 6 covered in dense white hairs (tergite 6 dark in all other Megachile species) and in life the eyes are bright green. Females have the pollen brush comprised entirely of silvery-white hairs, and tergite 6 has two patches of white hairs.
M. leachella is widespread and locally common around the coastline of southern Britain, typically on coastal dunes, but also using vegetated shingle and coastal brownfield sites. It is occasionally reported well inland, usually associated with sandpits.