My Sefton Coast Diptera Highlights 2022

Despite the occasional excessive heat and drought-like conditions during the Summer, 2022 proved to be an excellent year for me in the field. I recorded my highest yearly total of Syphidae species on the Sefton coast, with 90 spp noted and photographed. Syrphid highlights included; Callicera rufa recorded on the Sefton Coast for the third consecutive year, at Ainsdale NNR on 14th May, Chrysotoxum verralli at Ainsdale NNR on 4th August, this being the first record on the Sefton Coast for 32 years and three records of Xanthandrus comtus in Crosby during the year, in July, September and November.

Chrysotoxum verralli – Ainsdale NNR – 14th May

Another feature of the Summer and early Autumn was the large increase in records of Volucella zonaria and V. inanis on the coast. Both species have been steadily increasing in my local patches over the last few years, but 2022 was a boom year for both. I had 74 sightings of V. zonaria and 42 sightings of inanis this year. By comparison, in 2020, I had 26 sightings of V. zonaria and 5 of V. inanis.
Other Diptera highlights included Bombylius major at Ainsdale NNR on 24th March. This appears to be only the second Sefton Coast record, following one I had at Blundellsands in April 2021. Hopefully these records will herald more records of this species which has previously been strangely absent on the coast here. Both Gonia picea and G. ornata were once again recorded at Hightown Dunes and elsewhere on the coast during the Spring,

Gonia ornata – Hightown Dunes – 11th April
Gonia picea – Hightown Dunes – 20th April

A highlight of the Summer was finding Miltogramma punctata at Victoria Park, Crosby, on 21st July, seemingly the secord or third Lancashire record.

Miltogramma punctata – Victoria Park, Crosby – 21th July

Finally, a highlight for me during the Summer and Autumn was a series of records of Stomorhina lunata in the Crosby area. Following a male in Alexandra Park, Crosby, on 7th July, I found another male in the Key Park, Blundellsands, on 2nd October. I then recorded six individuals ( five male and one female) at Crosby Marine Park between 2nd and 6th October, all present on Ivy clumps at the site.

Stomorhina lunata – Crosby Marine Park – 6th October