I visited Chapman's Pond, Dringhouses (York) this morning, as the OPAL Water Centre guys were up doing some more water sampling. They visit the site every three months and do chemical, biological and physical analyses (See their pages on Aquatic Biomonitoring for more info).
Whilst they were out on the pond, I spent a happy half hour walking in the scrubby area of the site, which is great for wildlife. There were masses of birds singing in the trees, and I spotted a couple of bumblebees and a speckled wood butterfly.
I also saw this on some brambles - this amazing looking creature is a bee-fly
The thing sticking out of the front of the bee is called a proboscis, and it uses it to suck nectar out of flowers. The bee-fly has a dark side though, it comes out at this time of year to lay it's eggs in the burrows of solitary bees. The eggs hatch into larvae and eat the food meant for the solitary bee larvae. The bee fly larva then undergoes metamorphosis into a grub-like creature and then eats the bee larvae!!
Isn't nature amazing? Bee-flies tend to be out and about March-June, so why not have a look in your local greenspace and see if you can spot some?