Another rather blowy day, feeling decidedly autumnal on my late afternoon walk round Castor Hanglands. I'd been hoping to photograph dragonflies or butterflies, but they must have been put off by the breeze, and everywhere seemed very quiet. Pretty much all the birds have stopped singing now, and there aren't even the plaintive cheeps of fledglings hoping to be fed.
I was admiring the Hemp Agrimony, whose tousled dusky-pink flowers usually attract plenty of insects, when I spotted this male Phasia hempitera, hanging on tightly while it supped some nectar. I had to carefully hold the stem still with my left hand to even be able to focus on it, but it was worth the effort. These really are attractive flies even if their life history is a bit gross. It is a parasite of Heteropteran bugs, with known hosts including Green Shieldbug and Forest Bug. The female lays her eggs on these insects and the larvae then develop inside the living host.