Closer inspection revealed it to be a mining bee of some description, although its yellow legs seem to mark it as a different species from the tawny ones I've photographed.
As I watched, it began to dig down into the earth, backside up in the air until that was all was that left visible. Presumably this species lays its eggs underground, although the stripy abdomen would surely indicate this specimen was a male.
It ad almost disappeared completely when an angry ant attacked it, and presumably a dose of formic acid caused the bee to think better of mining here, and fly off.
Sadly my first pictures of the encounter failed, but I still got a few.
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