Ahh...got it!! A decent shot! [Full-size image here
Seen here on leaves of the native gooseberry Ribes menziesii
I was mesmerized by these dainty ichneumonids, a number of which were floating gracefully from stem to stem in relatively dense coastal scrub on a warm, calm, summer day. Their motion was slow and lilting, with their conspicuous, arching, orange-ish antennae hypnotically waving back and forth as they flew. All this...together with the contrast between their relatively short, stocky wings and their long, lithe bodies and antennae...gave the delightful impression of being surrounded by tiny tinkerbell-like fairies!
The downside was they rarely would settle down to allow me to photograph them, and when the did they wouldn't stop moving...and would try to make sure there were stems and leaves between them and the camera! Although their flight was lilting, they were still too bouncy for me to frame and focus on well enough to get a decent "in-flight" photo. But I would
love to capture their in-air grace!
Regard the ID here, with so many ichneumonids out there, I figured it would be hopeless for me to try to figure these out. But with relatively little browsing of BugGuide images, I think I found it (and fairly quickly...I love BugGuide!!).
That's always a reassuring epithet in these parts :-) I'm guessing that's the correct species here, but am not certain...the other species currently appearing on BugGuide (and even the other genus Labena
in the subfamily Labeninae) look quite similar to me. I did find an old key by Rohwer from 1920
listing 4 species. But I can't confidently get a result from that key, and I don't know whether the circumscription and synonymy in the genus has changed since then.