Come the summer months I spend less time with birds and, consequently, more with beasties. I enjoy a walk with a camera, looking down instead of up and ahead. If I find something I take a picture and then try to identify it. In past times this was tough but now it is a bit easier with so much (and better quality) reference material.
A couple of day ago I took this picture. At the time I wondered if it was a hoverfly rather than a bumble bee. It is. This is Volucella bombylans, a hoverfly that mimics a Bumble Bee. There are two versions of this species for two different hosts. The white tip on the abdomen indicates this one mimics the White-tailed Bumble Bee, Bombus lucorum. This gives it a degree of protection from predators since Bumble Bees sting. However this species of Hoverfly also begins life in a Bumble bee nest so the association is much tighter. Endlessly fascinating.