Posts Tagged 'flies'

Fake Bees

At first glance, you might think this was a small bumble bee. I did, and this isn’t my first bumble rodeo. But look at those eyes. In front of the face, not on the side like a bee. And the eyes are touching: this is a fly, a bumblebee-mimicking fly. Possible Merodon genus.
Here’s another. Abdomen looks quite different, so I’m thinking perhaps Mallota genus. The wing pattern, which seems to be a major way to separate these two similar genera, can’t really be discerned. An awful lot of insects can’t be(e) told apart without an expert in the family (of insects, or if you’re lucky enough to have an entomologist in the family tree) or the insect in hand. Since I concentrate on photographing and not capturing, so be it.

The spontaneous vascular plant survey of Central Park has been published in the Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society. Worth a look.

Credit to the U.S. for not exporting tear gas, a chemical weapon, to China to use on Hong Kong democrats. But then, perhaps the real reason is that police-paramilitaries wanted it on hand to use on peaceful protesters in the U.S.

Some Flower Flies

Margined Calligrapher (Toxomerus marginatus)
Mating Eastern Calligraphers (Toxomerus geminatus)
Variable Duskyface (Melanostoma mellinum), male I think.
Variable Duskyface female.
Pollen-dusted Black-shouldered Drone Fly (Eristalis dimidiata)

Dandilions and henbit deadnettle the flowers here.

Plus, as an extra bonus you also get this recent march fly observation:
Bibio genus something. Check out that beetle-like head.

Lake Larvae

…something, or other.
Many of them, in fact. I think these might be lake midges, in the family Chironomidae.
And most of them seem to be just the larval husks, the exuviae, of the larval form.
The westerly breeze pushed them all to one part of the Sylvan Water. There were a heck of a lot of them: in this shot, they make up the cloudy looking area reaching uptimes to two from the shoreline.
This an adult non-biting midge. Same crew? They’re around, but nowhere near the numbers the water would suggest. They may spread, though. The other evening at sunset I noticed a cluster swarming at 4th floor level by Sunset Park, six or seven blocks as the midge flies from the Valley Water.

More Flies!

February 23
March 1
March 5
March 8
March 14
March 15 (two views of this one).
April 1, and one I can actually ID: Black-shouldered Dronefly. Note the pollen on this specimen. Flower flies pollinate, too.

Two more from yesterday.

The mysteries of Diptera!

PS: the answer to yesterday’s mystery photo: it’s the toe of an American Coot. Coots aren’t ducks; they don’t have webbed toes. They have lobed toes.


Non-biting midge bigger than your average fly,
characteristically holding his forelimbs out in front. The feathery antennae are reminiscent of some moths. Probably cold, letting me get the phone camera close up.

Eristalis tenax

An early flying Common Drone Fly (Eristalis tenax). An introduced species. A bee mimic. Their flight season is long, from mid-March to mid-November, but this was the only one seen this day a week ago.

Spring’s solace is dependent upon the winter, the bright awakening from cold and dormancy, the “green fuse” lit amidst the snow and muddy melt. We hardly had winter. It’s an early spring this year. Spring will always be early from now on. Until one day, only those who think early is normal will be around, and then early springs won’t be “early” any more.

There is nothing like a pandemic to reveal the brute monstrosity of our savage republic. The right-wing effort to shrink government down to such a small thing you could flush it down the toilet has turned out to overflow the toilet after all. Solidarity, what Margaret Thatcher once disparaged as society, must be our response.

COVID-19 is killing the elderly and the immune-compromised, mostly — but not exclusively. In South Korea, where they are testing broadly (as opposed to Italy, say, where they are testing those with symptoms, or the USA, where testing is STILL extremely rare) it’s people in their twenties who are showing the most cases. But they’re asymptomatic. So, while the young and healthy mostly do not have too much to worry about themselves, they’re carriers who threaten others. NYC’s bars have been packed. The stupidity will have more consequences.

What Colors!

I can’t believe there are still fish in the Dell and Crescent Waters, since this male Belted Kingfisher has been around all winter dipping into the stock here.

Here he has a goldfish. Usually they just scarf their prey down PDQ, flipping it so it’s head first and then sluuuurrrppppp! This bird, however, just chortled and rattled from tree to tree, carrying the fish with him.
He was up pretty high in a tree here. And he dropped the fish. What?
About 12 seconds after my last shot of fish-in-bill, I caught this image of the Kingfisher in the act of spitting up a pellet! I guess he couldn’t have the external thing meeting the internal thing half-way, so the fish had be sacrificed to get that bundle of scales and tiny fish bones out of the gullet…
I was chatting with a passerby for a few minutes, so didn’t find this before the fleshfly was on the job already.

Phoebe Again

The day after spotting an Eastern Phoebe in Green-Wood, I saw one in Prospect Park.Traditionally, one of the first migratory birds to show up here in the spring. This means they’re not coming from very far away. And as it gets warmer, some of them aren’t even leaving. This one made a dive down to the leaf litter and got something to eat, because it promptly wiped its bill on the branch it landed on. Snicker-snack!

Saw the Green-Wood Phoebe again yesterday. The bird is being very loyal to the Dell and Crescent Waters. There are flies about in temps of the low 40s.


Steve Pyne is a historian of fire. He calls our age the Pyrocene: a warmer, drier time of larger and more ferocious bushfires feeding off rampant development into areas nobody should live in, plus incredibly wrong-headed fire-management policies (which were developed for the logging and the real estate industries). Here he writes about the current firestorm horrors in Australia as a new paradigm. Here he is warning that the New Jersey Pine Barrens are ripe for a wildfire storm.

Out with the Year…

Not infrequently, a wanderer in Green-Wood will find piles gingko nuts at the base of trees.
Or higher up trees, as in this example. Raccoons have been at work.
Here’s another pile out on a big limb.
And where there is poop, there are flies. I’ve really noticed the flies this fall: they can take cold weather other flying insects don’t go near.

12th Month Insect

Diptera are the only things out and about now, and just barely. This fly was on the Dead Horse Bay beach the other day.

A gnat landed on my nose yesterday as I walked down the street.

Flies are hard to ID when they are not in hand. Out of a total of 80 iNaturalist Diptera observations, I have 24 identifications that are research grade.

The coyotes are coming. In fact, they’re already here. Here being NYC, specifically the Bronx — which is part of the mainland and abuts coyote-rich Westchester Co. — and Queens, which is only connected to America by bridges and tunnels. 45 individual coyotes have been charted in this study of our new neighbors. It’s a certainty they will show up in Brooklyn, which borders Queens. However, this single Kings County iNaturalist observation isn’t very convincing.

I saw one in Woodlawn in the Bronx years ago. It was in the middle of the afternoon. My friends were just waking up from a nap… why yes, they did lay down in the cemetery to nap. The coyote looked at me and I looked at the coyote. On our way, we said “We saw a coyote!” to the gate-keeper. He was very Blasé about, saying they crossed the road from Van Cortlandt Park.

A reputable source still has the best local sighting, however: a berg of ice headed down the Hudson with a coyote on one end and two bald eagles on the other.


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