Thursday, 23 July 2009

Beauty and the Bummler

In my urban childhood, fly identification was a piece of cake. Any large fly on a piece of cake was announced as a 'bummler' (usually in a loud voice) before being unceremoniously flattened with a rolled up newspaper. Any kid that showed even a passing interest in the fly was also classified as a bummler and learned to keep a low profile.

Happily, things move on and now, without fear of derision, aided by the ease of close up photography with even a small compact digital camera, I can openly enjoy the strange beauty to be found in your average fly. This one was the largest fly on ragwort on the dunes behind Goswick Sands at the weekend. The plants were alive with insect life and covered in soldier beetles, flies, bees, hoverflies and of course - typical on the Northumberland coast - cinnabar moth caterpillars by the dozen.

I freely admit to being well out of my comfort zone when it comes to fly identification and will readily accept guidance here. My best shot is that this is a Flesh Fly - one of the blow-fly family.

In looking for information I picked up a fact about bluebottles (another member of the same family) that I never realised. Only the females tend to end up in houses looking for your best joint to spit all over. Males prefer feeding on flowers - just like his male cousin then.

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