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A European hornet, Vespa crabro (Hymenoptera: Vespidae).  The above photo does not show the yellow face which was quite striking when it was flying.  This specimen was fairly large (4 or 5 cm long) so I presume it was a queen.

Photo taken beside the top lake, Whiteknights Park, Reading University grounds, Reading, UK, on 2010-10-11.

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