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10:35AM

The Flies have it!

There were some moments of decent weather with bright sunshine and even a bit of heat out of the wind yesterday, so as Barry had mentioned that there was some bee activity near the viewpoint I decided to go to look for some rare early season bees with Jim Barrett. We very quickly found a little group of early colletes flying backwards and forwards (presumably looking for nesting sites) though their constant motion made photography impossible. Even more exciting we then noticed a female grey-backed mining bee (see here) diving into a nest hole, though despite waiting for about 20 minutes, camera ready, she did not come out again! Fortunately for my photographic itch there were lots of these little flies which were more more compliant. These are Johann's bibio, a tiny early spring relative of St Mark's Fly.

As with many species of this family males and females look quite different. Whereas the male has largely black legs and huge eyes which cover virtually the whole of the head, the female's legs are more extensively red and the eyes are relatively small. This species is common in a range of habitats and the larvae, in common with related species, live in the soil, feeding on plant material either living or dead.

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