The next day I'd hoped to nip off to the local woods, but circumstances (the baby) conspired against that happening, and I ended up doing the 'make the baby' sleep route around the village. That turned out to be a very fortuitous turn of events, as while I was wandering past a hedge, idly looking out for bees and hoverflies, a furry ginger bumblebee mimic was basking on a sunlit leaf. I immediately recognised it as a Criorhina species, but wasn't sure which one, and knew there are a couple of similar looking ginger species. I didn't have my camera on me, so had to settle for some hastily taken phone shots before it flew away. Fortunately they were good enough to identify the fly as Criorhina floccosa, my second Criorhina of the year - making good on my resolutions! Maybe next year I'll resolve to take some decent photos of them, after the previous one was my definition of a record shot!
That plan lasted all of five minutes when I was passing a large dead log and thought I should check it for basking hoverflies. I didn't see any hoverflies, but I did see an almost unbelievably large ichneumon wasp crawling across the surface. I quickly rattled off a set of photos, and was just pondering what to put in the frame to give a sense of the scale of the beast (it was massive!) when it attempted to fly off. Fortunately the sun had gone behind a cloud, and the wasp was clearly a bit chilly, as it nose dived into the ground. I put my net on top of it, and made a quick phone call to summon Rosie with a large pot. The wasp then spent the afternoon in the office, and became quite a celebrity, with a steady stream of visitors, before we released it later in the day. Given the size of the wasp we were pretty sure it could only be Rhyssa persuasoria, the Giant Ichneumon, which is the largest species found in the UK, using its 4cm ovipositor to drill into the depths of logs and lay its eggs in the larvae of the almost as impressive Giant Horntail (which I'd also love to see). A quick check with an expert later, and the ID was confirmed, a fourth tick in four days - I wonder what tomorrow might bring?