A quick call in to Ponteland Park on the way home from work proved to be a great opportunity for a bit of hoverfly spotting. The early evening sun was warming up the trees along the edges of two woodland glades and the sunny leaves were a magnet for basking flies of all types. Hoverflies are tough to identify, other flies are even worse so anything that wasn’t a hoverfly (or butterfly) had to remain unnamed. As it was some of the more tricky hoverflies were not tackled but even one common species proved to be awkward. It’s partly the result of a new season that I had forgotten the key features to check out and while the photos were clear the colour of the hind femur was not visible so the exact species of Syrphus will remain unknown for now.
Another hoverfly was more easily identified. It has a particularly distinctive ‘batman’ shape on the thorax. It falls into the Eristalis family which can be partially determined by the large downward loop in the vein down the middle of the wing but is actually Myathropa florea. Another species that could have been confused with a small Eristalis did not have the looped vein and had a distinctly bronze colour making it Epistrope eligans, a spring species of woodland rides and glades. It’s less common the further north you go but likes a warm spring – it would have been a dubious claim this year until a week ago.
Other species spotted included an Eristalis pertinax, some Melanostoma scalare, a couple of Platycheirus albimanus and a Rhingia campestris but there must have been others that remained unseen.