Thursday, 18 April 2013

On a very windy day...

Today's weather, though quite sunny, has been dominated by a very blustery wind. Only a fool would attempt to catch flies in such conditions, so I gathered my sweep net and set out for the pocket park.

A couple of flies were taking shelter in the trumpets of daffodils. One was the very common muscid (i.e related to the House Fly) Eudasyphora cyanella; the other was a species of cluster fly, Pollenia angustigena. Cluster Flies are slightly larger than house flies and are recognised by golden hairs on the upper side of the thorax, often quite clear to the naked eye. The commonest species is generally Pollenia rudis but P. angustigena has proved to be at least as common hereabouts. The golden hairs tend to rub off after a time but my specimen had a liberal coating of them and so had probably only recently emerged from its pupa.

Almost inevitably a Common Dung Fly Scatophaga stercoraria was seen, sitting on a dandelion and minding its own business. 

Common Dung Fly Scatophaga stercoraria on Dandelion.
Byfield Pocket Park 17 April, 2013

In the adjacent graveyard a blowfly was basking in strong sunshine. Once again it was a very familiar species, Calliphora vicina. Showing no consideration for photographers it had chosen to pose on a quartz-rich granite even though more helpful surfaces were available.

The blowfly Calliphora vicina on a granite headstone
adjacent to Byfield Pocket Park. 17 April, 2013

Not a great haul, but the weather was quite exhilarating so I didn't regard the time as wasted. On arriving home I found a large bumble bee on a window ledge. It was tempting to believe that it had come into the house to shelter from the wind, but of course it had merely taken a wrong turning. It was probably a Buff-tailed Bumble Bee Bombus terrestris but this species is very difficult to distinguish from Bombus lucorum without putting it under a microscope - or at least using a good hand lens. This would probably lead to its death, so I opened the window and freed it.

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