By Dancersend

Rare bee-fly

A couple of days ago a visitor to the reserve, a keen entomologist, reported seeing the very rare bee-fly Downland villa, Villa cingulata. Her photos seemed to confirm it, though the expert from the Soldierflies and Allies Recording Scheme warned me that the Villa group are difficult to identify from photos. I went to the reserve this morning hoping to see the fly myself and on stepping out of my car the first insect I saw, nectaring on hogweed, was a Downland villa! After that, I quickly saw another six on hogweed flower heads nearby. I also found a dead specimen in a spider's web, so I can now get it properly checked and, hopefully, confirmed (see extra photo). This is a UK Red Data Book RDB1 species, meaning it is found in 5 or fewer 10km squares. There are recent records from chalk grassland sites in the Cotswolds and Chilterns, but I think it will be new for my patch of the Chilterns - I hope this doesn't move it to RDB2 status!

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