Was obviously investigating the holes in a pine stump. Presumably a parasitoid?
I am hoping the behaviour as well as its odd dumpy shape may identify it.
No interactions present.
I should have said that it is a hoverfly. Hopefully, Roger Morris will comment, as it is not a genus I know at all.
My Flickr photos...
Thanks Ian - it looked like something specialised. It was definitely interested in the large holes in the top of the stump, though, not the ants on the side and base. Thought it might be a bee/wasp parasitoid.
Didn't take a specimen - it's Forestry Commission and I'm not sure I'm allowed to!
Jamie from Briantspuddle
I have a permit from the FC to collect on their land, locally to me. If you contact their local ecologist, I'm sure they would issue you one and would be glad to receive your records. Probably best not to collect this species, though.
Looked at Stubbs & Falk - habitat suggests M. analis out of the four British species. Dry woodland/heathland edge, breeding in pine stumps containing Lasius niger nests, but possibly other ant species. The larvae look like slugs! They say adults are rarely seen free-flying (usually caught by sweeping) so this was lucky. It would also be interesting to know if the behaviour of investigating holes in the stump has been noticed before.
Thanks Roger - if I go back to the site is there any ecological info it would be useful to investigate? I will look at the ant species in the stump for starters.
Lat/Lng: 50.7, -2.3
OS grid ref: SY8092