Sunday, 21 April 2013
A Spring Special
May I introduce you to the Bee Fly? These little furry bees are a real indicator of Spring. Patrolling the flower beds and shrubs, they pick out something full of nectar and then defend it from all comers. They fly round and round their chosen plant at great speed, buzzing loudly, pausing occasionally to feed with their sharp black proboscis- almost as long as their bodies so it can reach right into the deepest flower trumpet and garner the nectar within- or to sun themselves. They come in furry buff/orange and furry black and when two of them argue over a flower, circling and darting at eachother, the noise is amazing. Only around 2 cms long- including their great big 'nose'- the buzz they produce is awesomely loud for their size. On the first day I hear them in the garden, I know Spring has properly arrived. If you look carefully at the top right corner of the photo, you can see a ginger Bee Fly sunning itself on the gravel before returning to patrol a clump of narcissi.