Birds, Bugs and Chippings

Friday, May 12th 2017

Yesterday evening was perfect for our guided walk and talk with 22 members of Gilling West Garden Society.

Today the sun did not shine; however, we were pleased to get a few spots of rain. Sadly the few drops did not actually develop into anything that really soaked the ground. The up-side of this was that it was dry for the nest box visit event today, where people who have sponsored a nest box at the reserve were able to get out with our nest box team and see how we monitor the boxes and the data we collect.

In the afternoon we finally finished putting wood chips on the wet area near the Voley pond.  Other wood chip paths were topped up.

Anyone who has been to the reserve recently will notice the black flies that are prominent, on the wing. These flies are St. Mark’s flies named after St. Mark's Day which is the 25th April. There are 20 varieties of this fly (Bibio) in the UK, of which the male of the species, below, can been seen mainly on the wing with their long legs dangling down ready to grab a passing female to mate with.

The male and female look totally different; with the male with big bulging eyes to spy the female, and totally different coloured wings. As seen in the pic below, the male is also smaller.

Once mated the female drops to the ground and lays her eggs in the soil and then dies. The majority of their life is spent as young grubs which develop feeding on rotting vegetation, only to emerge the following year for just one week as a winged adult. Then the whole ritual starts again!
 


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