Educated Fleas

I thought that I would take Fizz up in the fields and take her picture in amongst the Dandelions…

Fizz

FizzBut I became distracted.

This is St Mark’s Fly (Bibio marci)

St Mark's FlyWe call it that because they all emerge around about the same time, April the twenty fifth and that is St Mark’s Day. They are a little bit late this year.

These first picture are of the male. He has large eyes and clear wings, also very long back legs that hang below him in flight. Last year I searched in vain for a female of the species. They look quite different.

The problem is that the adults only live for about a week and as they all emerge at the same time there is very little opportunity to see them.

St Mark's FlyAnd there she was, distracting me… I forgot all about Fizz.

St Mark's FlyShe has small eyes , she is a little bit longer than the male and has dark wings.

St Mark's FlyBut even though she looks so different I am quite confident that this is the female of the species.

St Mark's Fly

St Mark's FlyI have heard it said that the male has such big eyes so that he can find the female and that is quite believable. I had a lot of trouble finding her.

The Dandelions are beginning to fade now.

FizzThe Buttercups are just starting to appear.

As soon as the Dandelions go these fields will fill with Buttercups.Buttercup

ButtercupIt looks like these fields are going to be grown for silage again this year, the grass is already too long for Sheep. That is good because for a few months we will get long grass and lots of wildflowers and all of the associated insects.

I will leave you with the firework display called Ribwort Plantain.

Ribwort Plantain

Ribwort Plantain

Ribwort Plantain

Ribwort Plantain

Ribwort Plantain

 

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20 thoughts on “Educated Fleas”

    1. Thank you Andrew πŸ™‚ The flies are about now but my last pictures from last year were taken on the fourth of May. They are a bit late this year. I was after a photograph of the seeds blowing in front of Fizz’s face but that was a fail (coordination problems, plus a bit of a focus issue)

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      1. I must look out more, Colin. My focus is on moths at the moment but the wind and rain are not helping. I’m going to leave the trap on inside the shed tonight and with the door open I may get something. Do St Mark’s flies come to light, I wonder.

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  1. Colin,
    How amazing. I saw one yesterday morning at the campsite in The Ardennes Forest in Belgium.

    I remember thinking that you’d know what it was if you were with me, and then you put up a post giving the answer without me even asking!

    Thanks.
    Stephen

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    1. Thank you Steven πŸ™‚ I am not that surprised that we should see them at the same time, this is the only time of year when anyone can see them. That is probably the reason for my fascination with them. The flight time is very short and if the weather is bad then you probably just have to wait until next year for another chance. That is exactly what I told myself last year and I am really glad to have got the female this time around.

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    1. Thank you Clare πŸ™‚ I will be interested to know if the St Mark’s Fly emerges later in other parts of the country. Then St Mark’s would be a bit of a misnomer. I think though that the weather has a lot to do with it, they are just not so easy to see if the weather is bad. This time last year our hedgerows were full of Cow Parsley, we seem to be running about two weeks late as far as flowers go.

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      1. We are about 3-4 weeks later than last year re. flowers. I have photos of Garlic Mustard on 13th April last year but I saw the first G Mustard flowers yesterday. I took my first photo of St Mark’s Fly on 30th April last year but haven’t seen any so far this year. (As I am not able to go out every day this year I may have missed them!) I will have to eat my words about not seeing a female last year as I have just found a photo of one!

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    1. Thank you Trini πŸ™‚ I was going to show you some pictures of the new, improved Fizz but she is making so much noise, barking at my window, that I am going to have to take her out for a walk πŸ™‚ (Blog session interrupted)

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  2. I simply had to save the first photo of Fizz among the dandelion, with her bright ball firmly in her mouth. I look forward to the buttercups also, Colin. Each day is special.

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