I have a real soft spot for hoverflies and this one, Volucella pellucens, has a particular place in my heart. When I first got the 'bug' for nature watching my interest was, as it is with many people, in birds but one day in the summer of 1986 I was walking along a country lane with brambles in the hedgerow and I saw one of these on a bramble flower. I guess it was love at first sight! I had no idea what it was but I was mesmerised and took a series of snaps of it and then I had to find someone to identify it for me; thanks to the Southampton Natural History Society I soon found out exactly what it was.
With my eyes opened I started looking for insects as well as birds; flowers and everything else soon followed. That encounter with this insect that day changed my whole perspective and opened up a new fascinating world for me. So it is, perhaps, not surprising that this little creature is one of my favourite insects!
Volucella pellucens is a striking black and white insect and is sometimes known as the great pied hoverfly. It is a devotee of brambles and is most often found around bramble bushes, often those in clearings in woodlands and copses. The males are very territorial and hover in the middle of their established piece of air space, often several metres above the ground.
They fly from May through to September but are at their peak in July and August when the brambles are in full flower.