Arnside and beyond

By gladders


A hoverfly hovers over the flowers of Phacelia.  I finally took the difficult decision of clearing Phacelia on the allotment to make space for the Brassicas.  The  flowers have been attracting large numbers of bumblebees, and as a compromise I have left a quarter of it and brought the cut stems home and left them outside in a bucket of water where they are continuing to attract bees.  Butterflies were also stopping by to feed, including the first time I have seen a small pearl-bordered butterfly on the allotment. I was interested to see how the Phacelia affected the soil as it is meant to be a soil improver without being a nitrogen fixer. The soil underneath was full of fine white roots and had a beautiful fine tilth, I shall be planting a much bigger area this autumn, and hence an even bigger dilemma next Spring.

I think this one is Scaeva pyrastri, which has white comma shaped markings on its abdomen.  It was being more obliging than most allowing just enough time to focus before darting off.  The flight control of these small insects is staggering when you think about it.  They can hang in the air, perfectly stationary unaffected by light winds, then accelerate rapidly as they dart off.

It was a lovely warm day, I was tempted to drop down to the front to see the sunset over the estuary, but was concerned it might be difficult to dodge the myopic visitors who were testing their eyesight by driving 30 miles to the coast.

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