When we’re birdwatching or bug-hunting it’s very easy to see what we expect to see and miss some new or unexpected creature because of it. I am sure I do it quite often but here are two beautiful little creatures that I wasn’t quite tricked by.

In each case I was lucky enough to see other individuals from viewpoints that made their identity clearer.

Not a moth or butterfly…

…but a planthopper
Not a bee…
…but a fly

The planthopper is one of the thousands of species of sap-sucking insects which are classified under Hemiptera. Its family, Ricaniidae, is related to the other hoppers (treehoppers and leafhoppers) and to cicadas. Most of its relatives aren’t so pretty but cicadas do have similarly attractive wings.

If we see a furry golden rear end sticking out of a flower we usually assume it’s a bee, don’t we? But wasps, beetles and flies are also keen pollinators and some flies, especially bee-flies, Bombyliidae, are furry. The eyes are the giveaway: the flies’ eyes are huge and dark.

I saw both of these on a visit to Oak Valley a couple of days ago. Oddly, I was nearly tricked by a bird on my only previous visit to the location.

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