First Bee-fly and a roundabout full of Cowslips




Sundays trip out was to the roundabout at Burley-in-Wharfedale.


Roundabouts and verges along Burley-in-Wharfedale’s bypass have become unlikely nature havens with the help of local wildlife enthusiasts.

Grassland wildflower seed mix was sown on the green spaces when the bypass was built, but a regular grass-cutting regime by Bradford Council did not give the flowers the chance to set seed.

Burley Village Wildlife Group held talks with the Council about a change in the grass cutting regime, which encouraged wild plants to flourish while ensuring road safety was not compromised.

Five years down the road, the roundabouts and verges now boast wildflowers such as daffodils, buttercups, ox-eye daisies, knapweed, wild carrot and scabious.

Local naturalists say this in turn supports a variety of insects, including species in decline such as bumblebees, honeybees, butterflies, hoverflies and moths.

The project impressed a passing Yorkshire Dales Road Verge Project conservation officer, who said he was “bowled over” by the array of wildflowers, on one of the most flower-rich verges he had seen in the region. (Taken from the Ilkley Gazette 2011)

I had gone to see the Cowslips growing on the verges.







They looked stunning in the sun and it was so nice to see so many, over the years they are starting to spread further away from were they were planted.
While I was bent down amongst the flowers , I could see Bumble Bees and Hover flies buzzing around.


Then this chap came along...a Bee-Fly  Bombyliidae





Straight away I new what it was as I had seen so many on other peoples blogs, and was getting a little jealous that I had not seen one.

WHO NEW THEY WERE SO SMALL !!!!

because we take  (or try) photos of insects close up I had not realised from other peoples photographs they were so small, I had visions they were the size of your small finger, but they are the size of a child's little finger nail.


In all the excitement it was hard to get a good photo before it moved of, I kept on loosing it in the grass as it tried to get warm in the sun and I did not want to crush any of the flowers as well.


On this photo you can make out its long proboscis. Now I have seen one , I know what to look for and hope to see another...

On my wonder round I managed to see more Chiffcaff's to day..




 as well as the odd sheep.

This reminded me of a teenager who just could not be bothered to get up to feed !

And this was the other teenager having a bad hair day.







The Cowslips were growing on the main roundabouts in the by-pass, 
can you see the Westie  enjoying his ride out.



If the traffic is not to bad you can cross over in to a small wood that follows the river Wharfe then opens up into fields, we get Sand martins using the bankings, not to day but did see some House Martins 







Wild flowers are starting to come through in the wood. 

Then on to the river.

 It's another beautiful spot to go to in my area.

Happy Hunting

Amanda xxx

Just one more sheep photo :)



Comments

  1. I think you ought to consider becoming a shepherdess :o)

    Great news about the verge-cutting and the roundabout looks stunning.

    Well done on your Bee Fly too- love 'em xx

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    1. Thanks CT, I would be quite happy looking after sheep :)
      Amanda xx

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  2. Those cowslips look amazing Amanda. I love them anyway, such a beautiful wild flower. Must look like a splash of sunshine there for you ;-) I totally agree about your observations of the Beeflies. It's amazing once you know the size of what you are looking for, how many more you see and of course, as you said, the close-up photos we all take don't give an idea of size. That's something I need to work on myself is sometimes showing the environment as well to give some sense of perspective.

    Really nice post anyhow-enjoyed it a lot...

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    1. Thanks JJ for coming by and leaving a comment, once the cowslips have passed all the other wild flowers come through, must remember to go back.
      Amanda xx

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  3. Lovely post!

    No bee-flies here that I've seen, but we've plenty of wild cowslips if you know where to look, and too many sheep!

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    1. Thanks Annie, Cowslips look a little different to what I remember as a kid but still nice to see so many, nothing wrong with a lot of sheep :)
      Amanda xx

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  4. Well done on the bee fly Amanda - they are lovely little insects and you got some great photos. Lovely to see all the cowslips and its wonderful news that the Council have taken action on verge cutting. I get so annoyed when I drive round an area or lanes and see masses of wildflowers and then a week or so later they have all been mowed down in their prime :(

    Love the photos of the "teenage sheep" - had to smile at your apt comments :)

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    1. Thanks RR, had dreamed about seeing a Bee-fly the night before ! so glad I have now seen one. All the wild flowers on the verges just shows they don't have to go round cutting all the grass to an inch of it's life, must say they are quite good round here and don't cut all the grass at the park, just path ways.
      Amanda xx

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  5. What a great idea for the wildflowers in the round-abouts! They (round-abouts) are becoming much more common here in the states. I've had some trouble getting used to them, but research apparently shows they reduce fatal crashes, so it's worth it to make the change. Adding wildflowers makes them even more valuable! You captured some wonderful pollinator shots, too!

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    1. Thanks PP, the roundabout and verge planting are good places for all wildlife making good links to different habitats, just wish all councils would take this approach.
      Amanda xx

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  6. What a wonderful project with those verges, so much to see for us and so many different habitats and useful species for the animal life too! How great is that. The bee fly is amazing, I haven't heard of that, but will need to keep my eyes out more now! What a great visit! xx

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    1. Thanks Amy, the wild flowers will grow any were if left, they do cut it a little on the junctions so you can see down the road, good management.. Look out for the Bee-fly, but remember they are tiny, like a Hover fly.
      Amanda xx

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  7. I thought the Westie was navigating Amanda.{:))

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    1. Thanks Roy, Westie looks quite happy sat in the front going for a drive :)
      Amanda xx

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  8. A great spot for you! Such charming insects.

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    1. Thanks Simon, another insect for you to look out for, might have to stop running to spot one !
      Amanda xx

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  9. Great photos, some nice captures there.

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    1. Thanks Ian glad you like the photos.
      Amanda xx

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  10. Well a bee fly is a new one on me, I shall have to look out for one! Thank you. I love verges that are full of wild flowers your verges look wonderful. We have been for a walk in a wood today, the wild flowers are just wonderful now aren't they :).

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  11. Thanks sustainablemum, flowers all look nice and fresh at the moment in the woods, with the dappled light coming through the trees, it's a nice time before the leaves take over. Have been looking for the Bee-fly the last four years so this one was very special to see.
    Amanda xx

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  12. I love the roundabout Amanda, with all the lovely cowslip.....glad it is not near me, I would not be able to keep my eyes on the road :)

    Good images of the bee fly.....they are teeny beeny little things aren't they ?

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    1. Thanks Cheryl, I'm glad my husband drives when we are in the car so I can look out for things, as I do get a little distracted when driving !
      The Bee-fly is actually a fly that looks like a bee and behaves like a Humming bird ! smaller than some Hover flies, you will have to look out for them in your garden.
      Amanda xx

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  13. I really like how some councils have started to use these areas to plant wildflowers. Several of the roundabouts on my way to work have them in the summer and it brightens my day. There's a big patch of cowslips at one of the motorway junctions too but I don't know if they've arrived there naturally or have been planted. Still enjoying your sheep photos :-) x

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    1. Thanks Juile, I think most of the wild flowers on the roundabout were planted, brilliant they are taking the time to do this as it's so good for the wildlife.. and it looks nice too.
      Amanda xx

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  14. What a lovely splash of colour on the roundabout. Great shot of the Bee-fly, I must look out for him. The sheep always make me smile when I see them kneeling down to eat. :-)

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    1. Thanks Deb, they look good all through the summer the verges , full of wild flowers.
      Amanda xx

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  15. Beginning to think you have a fixation about sheep... :-)
    Really pleased you got to see some bee flies at last, and the photos are great! I'm happy cos I've seen some this year, and got good photos last year so not bothered I can't get more photos. My cowslips were flowering about a month ago - I wonder if they are different? They came from a neighbour, so no idea if they are the true wild ones or not. They are pretty anyway, and self seed. xx

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    1. You would be right Mandy I do have a thing for sheep, great to photograph as they are cute, they don't fly of or hide in branches like most things I try to photograph :)
      These Cowslips were planted in the beginning but are now spreading on there own know, I don't think the insects will mind if they are not true wild flowers?
      Amanda xx

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