This is the closest I’ve ever got to a European hornet (Vespa crabro). Now that I’m without a long lens and only using my Olympus point-and-shoot camera, I have to get within a foot, often closer, to get reasonable images. So, I was quiet and my approach was slow and steady, and the Hornet didn’t seem bothered by my presence, luckily.
I wasn’t sure what this queen was doing on the ground but I have just been reading on Wikipedia (not sure how reliable it is, but looks well referenced) that Hornets use soil when building their nests (‘trace amounts of silicon, calcium, iron, and potassium were found’ in nest fibres) so perhaps she was mineral gathering for her latest construction project.
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