22 March 2021
major, on Pussy
Willow, Downs Link,
south of the Cement Works
About a hundred lively butterflies on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, on a humid afternoon, were led in frequency by Meadow Browns, with an ambush predator the Hornet Robber Fly stalking the winding path and southern steps.
The tiny fruit fly Oxyna was seen on Yarrow for the first time on Mill Hill. A Kite-tailed Robberfly, Tolmerus atricapillus, waited in ambush on the southern steps.
9 June 2020
Downs Link Path, south of the Cement Works (dis)
A Common Bee-fly visited the Dog Violets that were scattered over the lower slopes of Mill Hill, the land now dried after the recent dry weather.
An ambush predator, the Kite-tailed Robberfly, Tolmerus atricapillus, waited on a Bramble leaf on the lower slopes of Mill Hill.
A predatory Hornet Robber Fly, Asilus crabroniformis, landed on the middle slopes of Mill Hill.
A predatory Hornet Robber Fly, Asilus crabroniformis, landed on the Pixie Path to Mill Hill.
The ambush predator, the Kite-tailed Robberfly, Tolmerus atricapillus, waited on a Bramble leaf on the middle slopes of Mill Hill.
This tiny fruit fly is Oxyna, cf. nebulosa.
It was found on the verges of the Downs Link Cyclepath south of the Cement Works.
This fly was too well camouflaged to be recognised in the field on a Greater Knapweed on Mill Hill. It is likely to be a Conopid fly, probably Sicus ferrugineus. This is a widespread species that is not often recorded. The Greater Knapweed attracted scores of bumblebees and the larvae of this fly are endoparasites of bumblebees, overwintering in their victims. The flies inject an egg into the bumblebees.
A Common Bee-fly, Bombylius major, visited the first few Cowslips on the the verges of the Downs Link Cyclepath south of the Cement Works.
Kite-tailed Robberfly, Tolmerus atricapillus at Mill Hill
The Robber Fly, Machimus atricapillus, was spotted amongst some fresh blackberries on the middle slopes of Mill Hill.
This could be Machimus rusticus
Renamed Kite-tailed Robberfly - Tolmerus atricapillus
A Common Bee-fly, Bombylius major, was seen near Ladywells, on the Coombes Road.
|30 March 2017|
1 August 2016
The smaller Robber Fly, Machimus atricapillus, were occasionally seen (10+) and were seen mating on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. There were more of this predator than seen before.
Cattle were grazing in the pasture to the east of Mill Hill and sheep in the nearer meadow below (to the west).
Crane-flies were seen in a field next to Ladywells.
12 April 2016
A Buzzard soared over the lower slopes of Mill Hill in the bright blue sky. Common Bee-Flies, Bombylius major, were frequently seen.
Subsequent perusal of the blurry photographs showed one of the Bee-flies had dotted wings indicating the scarce Dotted Bee-fly, Bombylius discolor.
Identifying bee-flies in genus Bombylius
Two robber flies were noted: the smaller Robber Fly, Machimus atricapillus, on the southern steps of Mill Hill and the much larger Hornet Robber Fly, Asilus crabroniformis, on the top meadow. Both of these flies will prey on butterflies
The predatory Robber Fly, Machimus atricapillus, was seen at least twice on the lower slopes of Mill Hill.
My first Common Bee-Fly, Bombylius major, of the year was spotted visiting Ground Ivy on the cyclepath verges, north of Old Shoreham.
Crane-flies were seen frequently. This one was photographed on Anchor Bottom.
Hornet Robber Fly, Asilus crabroniformis
Top of The Drive & Buckingham Cutting south verge
A Common Bee-Fly, Bombylius major, (first of the year) was spotted on the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham.
Robber Fly on the lower slopes of Mill Hill
It looks like Machimus atricapillus ... the antennae look good for it (the very similar M. cingulatus has a slightly shorter arista) and is associated with chalk and limestone grassland. Under Enquiry (link)
Robber Fly (unidentified)
It is possible that it was a species of the Machimus-group of Robber-flies
A Hornet Robber Fly, Asilus crabroniformis, landed on the Pixie Path in front of me. (ID not certain. It might have been the fly above.)
Bibio species, St. Mark's Fly were common over the Pixie Path to Mill Hill. This fly comes out in large batches on the downs and their abundance can be a by nuisance.
Crane-flies were seen on the lower slopes of Mill Hill.
I spotted my first Hornet Robber Fly, Asilus crabroniformis, of the year on the middle slopes of Mill Hill (Triangle area).
Dichetophora (Sciomyzidae) fly on the upper part of Mill Hill.
It is most likely to be Dichetophora obliterata (female).
attractive fly with a rust coloured abdomen and grey thorax. The thighs
are quite distinctive, being orangey-red just above the knee joint but
pale in the upper parts nearer to the body. This widespread species is
known as a snail-killing fly. The larvae are predatory on snails.
There was a chill breeze and no butterflies were seen in the afternoon, not on the Waterworks Road where the two Bee-flies visiting the patch of Ground Ivy were too energetic to photograph or even to identify to species species they would not settle. They were paler than normal, one was a pale orange when viewed from the side.
A Common Bee-Fly, Bombylius major, (first of the year) was spotted over the path amongst the Hawthorn scrub on Mill Hill.
Robber Fly preying on a Chalkhill Blue Butterfly on Mill Hill.
The predatory small Dance Fly, Empis tessellata was seen with its prey of a smaller fly.
Crane-flies, Tipula, were mating on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. A handful were noted, but I expect there were many more.
Common Bee-Flies, Bombylius major, flitted around the Butterfly Copse near the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham.
A Common Bee-Fly, Bombylius major, was also spotted amongst the Dog Violets on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. There was another one amongst the Alexanders at the top of Buckingham Park, north Shoreham.
The first Bee-fly of the year was seen on the southern steps to the lower slopes of Mill Hill. It was not identified to species.
Two large Hornet Robber Flies, Asilus crabroniformis, my first of the year settled on the Pixie Path (next to Frampton's Field, Old Shoreham).
A Dotted Bee-fly, Bombylius discolor, was spotted hovering about and visiting Dog Violets on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. Its identity was confirmed by a poor photograph.
Dotted Bee-flies Information
Fly, Platystoma seminationis on Alexanders, Mill Hill.
Small flies on Dove's Foot Cranesbill.
At least two Common Bee-Flies, Bombylius major, were seen in the Butterfly Copse next to the the Waterworks Road.
The first Bee-flies of the year were seen near where Cowslips were in flower on the Downs-Coastal Link Cyclepath.
Under a cloudy sky at the top of the Pixie Path the first Hornet Robber Fly of 2009 settled briefly.
Three Bee-flies in the north-west scrub on Mill Hill did not settle. They were most likely to be the rarer Dotted Bee-fly seen in this location before. However, it was a Common Bee-Fly, Bombylius major, that landed on the steps of the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road.
There were frequent Dotted Bee-flieshovering in mid-air and visiting Ground Ivy on the Coastal Link Cyclepath near the Cement Works.
Dotted Bee-flies Information
An unexpected treat was three or four individual Dotted Bee-flies, Bombylius discolor, using their long feeding tubes to take nectar on a large patch of Ground Ivy, Glechoma hederacea.
At least two Common Bee-Flies, Bombylius major, were also spotted hovering over the vegetation bordering the grassy area at the top of Chanctonbury Drive, Shoreham, south-east of the bridge over the A27 to Mill Hill.
The small Soldier Fly, Chloromyia formosa, illustrated on the left was seen occasionally and was probably frequent at the top of Buckingham Park, Shoreham, amongst the vegetation under the canopy of trees. This is not a hoverfly.
A few of the distinctive Panorpa flies were seen amongst the Privet and Brambles on the lower slopes of Mill Hill.
On a breezy afternoon, the first two Common Bee-flies, Bombylius major, of 2008, buzzed over footpath that runs along the south of Frampton's Field, and another one was seen at the top (north) of The Street, Old Shoreham.
Image of Fly
A fly on a Dandelion at the top of McIntyres Field, north Lancing, was my first fly noted this year.
AHornet Robber Fly was seen on the Slonk Hill Cutting south in the open overgrown bit east of the hedgerows that close in on the path.
A Hornet Robber Fly was seen on Mill Hill south of the Reservoir. These flies are very wary and I find it nigh impossible to get near enough for a decent photograph.
The first Hornet Robber Fly seen this year was seen on the Buckingham Cutting south.
In a brief burst of early afternoon sunshine, I spotted my first Dung Fly at the top of Chanctonbury Drive (SE of the bridge to Mill Hill).
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