This attractive cranefly is easily identified from the other Nephrotoma species because of its distinctive abdominal markings. It is known to like dry woodlands on sandy soil and this one was found on a path in Longdon Wood.
We are seeing Dotted Bee-flies around in Worcestershire this spring, with several records from the Wyre Forest area, and wonder if this is undergoing a range expansion. To distinguish this species from the more frequently recorded Dark-edged Bee-fly Bombylius major, wait until the fly has settled and look carefully for dots on the wings. The black hairs at the end of the abdomen are conspicuous even in flight. I have found this fly less easy to approach for photography than the obliging Dark-edged Bee-fly.
These galls are commonly found on Bracken in the summer and autumn. They are caused by the larvae of a Cecidomyiid gall midge which cause these black, shiny, and rolled swellings to occur on the fronds. The mature larvae leave the galls to pupate in the soil, and there are two generations a year.
This large cluster of eggs was found on a Salix leaf near a wet flush in Longdon Wood, possibly laid by one of the large Tabanus horseflies?
The adult flies in the family Chironomidae (the non-biting midges), look a little like mosquitoes, and their larvae are aquatic or semi-aquatic. Some of these are bright red and commonly called bloodworms due to the presence of haemoglobin in their circulatory fluid so that they can carry oxygen which enables then to live in polluted water in almost anaerobic conditions. Some build tubes underwater from a mixture of mud and saliva, and these can be seen in Wyre during the summer, especially where the puddles are drying out. A few of these tubes placed in an aquarium have provided views of the bloodworms inside the tubes, and repairing those that were damaged.
This large and attractive hoverfly is now seen annually in the Wyre Forest as well as gardens nearby, since extending its range from SE England in recent years. The larvae have been found in the nests of the hornet and social wasps.
This large and impressive cranefly was seen ovipositing on a rotting wood pile in Wyre. The female spent some time searching for the right place to lay, and was observed inserting her abdomen deep inside a crack in the wood as seen here. A male was also spotted nearby.
This muscid fly can be seen early in the year. It can be spotted feeding on flowers, although it lays its eggs in dung in which the larvae develop. This one was caught and identified by Mick Blythe.
A walk on the west side of the River Severn yesterday near the Bewdley bypass resulted in the find of two female Yellow-legged Water-Snipeflies (Atherix ibis). They are impressive flies with their mottled wings and they have interesting breeding behaviour. The females gather together in dense clusters on branches overhanging water where they lay their eggs in a glutinous matrix before dying. The result is a mass of eggs and dead flies suspended from twigs or flood debris.
Whilst in Cleobury Coppice on 5th September 2012, we found a number of galls on the oak trees, including this one. The tip of the leaf gall was turned down and had browned even though the leaf was still green. It was empty and the single larva which had spent the summer inside the gall, had presumably dropped out to pupate on the ground.