I'm confident that this won't be my best shot this season of a hairy-footed flower bee, but getting the first one of the year on camera at all tends to be a challenge, because they're highly reactive when they're fresh. My first few sightings of this one all involved me hearing him first, and then spotting him just in time to see him making the leap into hyperspace to evade me. The temperature worked in my favour though: it was only about 8° and the sunshine was patchy, so every now and then he would get cold and tired, and would have to settle in a sunny spot for a few seconds to bask and warm himself up.
I say "he", but it's possible that there were actually two freshly-emerged male plumpies in the garden today. Shortly after taking this photo, I failed to get a lens on one that was feeding from a primrose in the front garden, and which may have been a different specimen - but on the other hand this one, which was mainly working a beat around the secret garden, did disappear completely from time to time, and it may be that he was covering both territories.
Having found the first solitary bee of the year - and my favourite one at that - there was never much doubt that he would be the subject of this evening's post, but Anthophora plumipes wasn't today's only new entry on my 2023 invertebrate list. This afternoon I sprayed a few of the garden's most used basking spots with sugar water, and when the sun emerged a host of flies came down to eat the sugar, among them some nice hoverflies. I've posted the best of these to my Facebook page, if you'd care to take a look.
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