Volucella zonaria at Astley Burf
On 9th September 2011 I noticed, from my kitchen window, what I thought was a hornet flying around a Buddleia growing at the edge of my patio. On taking a closer look I realised that it was a very large hoverfly which I thought might be Volucella inanis as I had recorded that species a few weeks earlier on the same shrub. The individual before me was, however, even more impressive and I realised it was Volucella zonaria, the first I’d ever recorded in my garden.
I rushed to get my camera and to my relief it was still feeding on the buddleia flowers and I was able to get one or two good photographs. Interestingly it remained around the Buddleia all day, occasionally flying off, always in the same direction, but returning in a few minutes to continue feeding. It returned quite early in the morning on the following day and again remained feeding all day, with the odd excursion elsewhere. I left the house quite early the next day and never saw it again.
I was pleased my pruning regime with Buddleia worked very well this year. This involves hard pruning of some parts, which gives much later flowering times; whilst others are lightly cut to give earlier blooms. The late flowers were very popular this dry year, attracting a good variety of insects of all groups.
Fig. 1. Volucella zonaria at Astley Burf September 2011. ©Jane Scott
Fig. 2. Volucella zonaria at Astley Burf September 2011. ©Jane Scott
Fig. 3. Volucella zonaria at Astley Burf September 2011. ©Jane Scott