An amateur naturalist's knowledge is always going be restricted by the quality of reference material available which is usually going to be a field guide. I have looked for years for a top quality field guide to insects but have yet to find one so inevitably I photograph a number of insects I can never identify.
n the early spring we have a number of these small bees in our garden. They are less than half an inch long they fly around almost continuously, perching only briefly on a leaf before launching off again. I believe this to be Andrena bicolor, a 'mining bee'; one that nests under ground and you often see little 'volcanoes' on sandy soils from which they have emerged or where they intend to lay their eggs. I have found no such mounds in our garden as yet but then, if this is the species I think it might be, ours appear to be nearly all males!
Andrena bicolor in one of the very early species of mining bee to appear, March and April are their peak months. They are very partial to dandelions and blackthorn blossom. The females have quite a brownish-red back, the male is duller as in this photo. The male also has a yellow tip to its abdomen which one can also just make out in this photo.
So, from the limited information at my disposal I am putting this down as Andrena bicolor but if I am wrong I would be really grateful if someone would enlighten me. Thanks.