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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

16 November, 2015

Hoverfly: Parasyrphus vittiger

With experience there comes a time when you see a fleeting glimpse of a bird and you know what it is instantly even though you did not see its plumage colouring or anything else in detail. A well known ornithologist, T A Coward, is credited with making the term popular by using it in a book he wrote in 1922 but whether he invented the term is not clear. There are various suggestions as to its origination but, to me, it stands for 'just is'. "Why was that flash a robin?"; answer "I can't explain, it just is, I could tell by its jizz."
What on earth has that got to do with a hoverfly? Well, jizz can apply to virtually anything and sometimes it does not tell you what a species is but it tells you that something you have seen is possibly something you have not encountered before. So it was with this hoverfly, Parasyrphus vittiger
I was walking on heathland with conifers nearby in September and I saw and photographed this insect visiting the last remaining heather flowers. There are several species with yellow and black bands on the abdomen but there was something about the jizz of this one that struck me as being different. Armed with the photograph, the date

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