To continue celebrating National Insect Week (which has fortunately coincided with this excellent weather) I have photographed a few hoverflies. They are one of my favourite groups as they are often bright and colourful, are pretty common and can often be identified simply by their markings.
This is Cheilosia illustrata, which initially I had trouble identifying but thanks to a few people on Twitter (@ and @ via @) is now named. It is a hoverfly mimicking a bumblebee. Using Twitter to get help to id species is really effective – check out @ and @.
If you want to learn more about hoverflies there are two excellent books – the top one is British Hoverflies by Alan Stubbs and Steven Falk – it has excellent plates and keys to all the species. With a bit of practice it is not difficult to identify species. The lower book is Britain’s hoverflies by Stuart Ball and Roger Morris – published more recently – it cheaper and relies on photographs of the species. Steven Falk also has an amazing Flickr site where has has photographed hundreds of species – here is the link to his hoverfly sections – again this is really helpful when trying to identify species.
There is also a national scheme where you can lodge your hoverfly records – see here Hoverfly Recording Scheme – give this group a go – it will give you endless hours of fun,