March is usually when dipterists become active again outside and start looking for those early flying flies. Several reports of early Marmalade Hoverflies Episyrphus balteatus have been received. Also the daffodil leaf-mining scathophagid Norellia spinipes has been seen at several locations. The dark-edged bee-fly Bombylius major really got going on 24th March and has been reported regularly from around the county. However more records are needed as it helps us track not only where it can be found but when it is on the wing.
Today (30th March) I received an email from Tim Pridmore, the warden at Farthinghoe Nature Reserve. He saw and photographed the much scarcer Dotted Bee-fly Bombylius discolor at the reserve. This is almost certainly the first record for Northants. In flight the two species are almost indistinguishable but when perched the dotted wings are quite clearly different from the dark leading edge of the dark-edged bee-fly. Tim kindly sent me the photo he took and gave me permission to place it here. So make sure you get a good look at bee-flies as there might be more about.
Dotted Bee-fly Bombylius discolor at Farthinghoe Nature Reserve. Copyright Tim Pridmore 2019