In 1948 the Grey Walls Press in London published a book, edited by S. L. Locker, called ‘The Nature Diaries and Notebooks of Richard Jefferies’.
For Saturday 16th October 1878 Richard is in Surbiton, Surrey and records a fascinating scene: ‘Wasp and very large blue-fly struggling, wrestling on leaf. In a few seconds the wasp got the mastery, brought his tail round, and stung once or thrice; then bit off the fly’s proboscis, then the legs, then bit behind the head, then snipped off the wings, then fell off her leaf, but flew with burden to the next, rolled the fly around, and literally devoured its intestines. Dropped off the leaf in its eager haste, got on third leaf, and continued ‘till nothing was left but a small part of the body – the head had been snipped off before.
This was one of those black flies – a little blue underneath – not like meat flies, but bigger and squarer, that got to the ivy. Ivy in bloom close by, where, doubtless, the robber found his prey and seized it.
Now, I spend a reasonable amount of time in my garden, and watch all kinds of birds and insects, but have never seen anything like this. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m watching and writing in 2017. The book was published in 1948 and this recorded event took place in 1878. Do you think that if I watch in my garden in 2018 I may see something similar?