Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Winter hoverflies

Despite rather unpleasant weather a few photos of recent sightings have been posted on the web. This has included two records of Scaeva selenitica from gardens in Worthing (West Sussex) and Farnham (Surrey) yesterday!

This got me thinking about the benefit of establishing a network of non-specialists who are keen photographers of insects in their gardens. At the moment we have data from Jenny Owen's garden in Leicester and Alan Stubbs' garden in Peterborough. Jenny recorded over 90 species using a malaise trap for 30 years or more. Alan has recorded over 60 using a modified transect approach over about 20 years.

Apart from these, we also have data on a single garden in southern England that is effectively monitored by regular photography of its animal visitors. In terms of hoverflies, this garden has yielded 45 species over eight years. I wonder if there are other photographers who might be interested in developing a photographic investigation into garden hoverflies? The great thing about this sort of study is that skill as a photographer can greatly influence the outcome, whereas identification skills are less essential.

Frequency of occurrence of the 21 commonest hoverflies in photographs from a southern English garden.