Paul Leyland – Eriozona syrphoides

Paul writes: This was my favourite hoverfly sighting of last year, it was a first for me, it’s also one of the charismatic species that you hope to see in the right location. Eriozona syrphoides is a wonderfully furry bumblebee mimic with a black and white body and a yellow face. It is quite a recent colonist to Britain, being first sighted in Wales in the 1960s and has increased its range since then, mainly seen in Wales, parts of Scotland and northern England but always scarce. It occurs in conifer plantations where the larvae feed on aphids on Spruce. I was in the right location, so it was almost instantly recognisable as it flitted around on some Hogweed. I got the usual surge of excitement when seeing something that you know is unusual, luckily it was kind to me and stayed around for a while so I could get a good look and a few photographs.

It was seen on 1 August in Wykeham Forest, North Yorkshire, which is mainly pines, spruces and other conifers, with a lot of open rides. Wykham is probably best known for its bird life but is also home to a great selection of hoverflies. If I go there in summer I’m torn between my two interests. I’ve seen Goshawk, Honey Buzzard and Turtle Dove there, to mention a few great birds, but I think this hoverfly was equal to all of them.

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