I didn't want to look too close as to what these guys were pulling apart in the mud below...
I accidentally discovered this morning how to make a wasp pose for a picture. This one received a spray from the water hose as it was perched on a potted plant. It struggled a moment to regain its composure, then apparently settled down to dry off before attempting to fly.
Visiting flowers of Origanum sp.
Apparently, this impressive wasp has been expanding its range from the Mediterranean region into Central Europe:
Rather a lot of them at the water's edge. Different individuals in the photos.
This Paper Wasp nest was quite round, about 5" diameter, and set among small branches in a tree at eye-level. This beautiful nest included shades of beige, cream and grey, and really looked like hand-made paper.
The Vespidae are a large (nearly 5,000 species), diverse, cosmopolitan family of wasps, including nearly all the known eusocial wasps (such as Polistes annularis) and many solitary wasps. Each social wasp colony includes a queen and a number of female workers with varying degrees of sterility relative to the queen. In temperate social species, colonies usually only last one year, dying at the onset of winter. New queens and males (drones) are produced towards the end...