Wenlock Edge, Shropshire The stripy sun fly joins the summer swarm of insects to the opening of the festival of flowers

The sun fly alights on a bramble leaf and alters its position as if by the clockwise clicks of an invisible dial. Gold on black, black on gold, it radiates. The sun fly is one of the syrphid flies, a hoverfly of rough flowery places such as this verge of a long-abandoned railway line through the woods.

It’s a chunky little fist of bling, folding up a cut-glass wingspan of 25mm. Its thorax is black with three vertical yellow stripes – which has earned it the nickname of the footballer or the common tiger hoverfly. It presents a regal, black-banded backside of an abdomen with crescentic yellow markings like the folded gold of Saxon hoards.

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