Bombylius discolor: the dotted bee-fly

I have been wildlife watching now for many, many years and I always work on the principle that statistically I am likely to see common species when I am out 'in the field' rather than rarities but, equally, one should always expect the unexpected. In spring the bee-fly is a fairly common sight around spring flowers and especially primroses and ground ivy, it has a brown furry body, long proboscis and appears to hover when taking nectar from these flowers.
I happened upon a bee-fly that did not look quite right somehow. It was a bit bigger than usual and had light markings along the side and on closer inspection the wings were dotted. Thinking this was odd I took a photograph and so was able to look it up when I got home. There was nothing like it in my field guide but a bit of digging around and I discovered we actually have twelve species of bee-fly in this country although most are uncommon or rare.
I soon had an identification for this one, a dotted bee-fly (Bombylius discolor), not rare but certainly uncommon and an interesting find. Yes, always expect the unexpected!
Bombylius discolor: the dotted bee-fly

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