Finally got some good pics, but thought I'd better start a new thread because of not being quite sure I have the same one that I was looking for before (Epistrophe Elegans). There may be two differenc species here.
I'm going to disagree with Bird Wocha. Looking at the second image in particular (hoverflies best pic.JPG) the veination of the wing is fairly clear and is wrong for Volucella. I think this is a narcissus fly Merodon equestris.
Thank you both, this is very interesting! The differences between the different kinds seem very subtle. Also the fact that there are different colour variations. On balance so far I favour the narcissus fly, but it could be either or something else altogether! I don't think this is the same as the original one on my previous thread about hover flies (probably identified as Epistrophe elegans, because their buzzing seemed less irritating).
Thank you very much, bombuslucorum, I'm sure you are right on both ID's. Not only do these second type buzz more nicely but they actually stayed still for longer, and didn't act so wary as the first one, hence the better pics.
Would the picture of three flies all be colour varieties of M. equestris? The top two are less clear, and it may be due to differences in lighting, but they do look paler on the abdomen.
I'm getting fascinated by these different kinds of large hoverflies and will be pursuing them with camera whenever I get the chance! What is so amazing is their close resemblance to bumblebees; you have to be reasonably close and familiar with the differences to be sure.
Well, when Bombuslucorum confirmed the ID it confirms who provided the correct answer.
Many questions are answered by us amateurs, but if we don't get any recognition we might just give up (which the museum experts would not be happy about because they'd have more work to do). If you want to change this you have to first unmark Bombuslucorum's reply as "correct answer" because there can only be one correct answer. I'm not asking you to do that, I just think maybe this should be made clearer somewhere by the webmaster.
Sorry, see what you mean now. It can be discouraging when not given recognition for what you do. Not being an expert on any particular kind of organism I am usually just pleased to get an ID right (though almost never down to species level).
Have corrected the above anyway.