Sugar high

Guys, I have to tell you: those old entomologists definitely knew what they were doing. My sugar spray brings all the boys (and girls) to my yard – here you see a 7-spot ladybird noodling around on a sprayed honeysuckle leaf, getting a sucrose fix. It’s not surprising really, because though we all know that these ladybirds love aphids, they’re not entirely carnivorous and can often be found browsing flowers. I guess that for them as well as for us, protein is good for building bulk (or eggs), but sugar works well for a quick burst of energy.

I had a brief sighting this afternoon of yesterday’s Xanthandrus comtus, but she wasn’t hungry enough today to sit for another portrait. Which makes me happy, rather than sad, because I’m more invested in her living a successful life than in me getting a photo opportunity – though, that said, I’m very glad I nailed the record yesterday.

What I did photograph in abundance this afternoon were female Eristalis tenax – at least eight in different places around the garden. I also found one female Episyrphus balteatus, handsome in her dark first brood livery, who I expected to be posting tonight, but on reviewing my photos of her I discovered that she’d spoiled them all by vibrating, which is something I often see with marmalade flies in the colder days of spring and autumn. I’m sure I’ll have other chances for marmalade photography as the season warms up.

My only real disappointment today was that despite the sunshine, repeated diligent searching of the likeliest spots in the garden didn’t turn up either a hairy-footed flower bee or a dark-edged bee fly. But I calmed myself by repeating the soothing mantra of the Cotswold winter owl photographers: never mind – there’s always tomorrow.