Wildlife Spotting in the Garden 1 – Insects

While we’re spending more time at home, we can be spotting wildlife in the garden. All the photos are taken in a garden in Knighton. The names in the captions are linked to NatureSpot where you can find out more. You can post your own sightings on NatureSpot and they will become part of our knowledge of wildlife in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, and through the National Biodiversity Network the wider UK.

Let’s start with a couple of bugs that you might find. These shieldbugs will be emerging from hibernation in the warm sunshine we’ve had this week.

Common green shieldbug (Palomena prasina) in winter colours
Hawthorn shieldbug (Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale)

The obvious insects that are about and that people recognise are butterflies. Some over-winter in sheds and under ivy on trees and emerge when the weather warms up. In Britain these are Small tortoiseshell, Red admiral, Comma, Peacock and Brimstone.

Comma (Polygonia c-album) with one wing damaged probably during hibernation
Peacock butterfly (Aglais io)

You’ll also find bees buzzing round the flowers. Buff-tailed bumblebees will be out and about, as will hairy-footed flower bees. These bees are often busy flying to and fro over flowerbeds and are difficult to get a photo of. If you do see a male that’s landed on a flower, you should be able to see the long hairs on the middle legs. The female is black and the male is orange-brown.

Hairy-footed flower bee (Anthophora plumipes) female

Not everything that looks like a bee is a bee. You may find bee flies flying low over the ground and feeding on flowers. Their long proboscis is very noticeable, and when they land their two wings stick out to either side.

Dark-edged bee-fly (Bombylius major)
Dark-edged bee-fly (Bombylius major) long proboscis visible

Not all bees are easy to identify. This little bee was collecting pollen in primroses around the garden. You can see the pollen grains on its back and the pollen baskets on its hind legs.

Bee – to be identified!

I’ll try to post a few photos on different groups of wildlife every couple of days.

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