Posted by: Ross Gardner | May 18, 2013

St Mark’s Day comes late this year

Indeed it did.  Well, not exactly.  The day set aside for the St Mark, the patron saint of Venice, came and went as usual on April 25th.  The swarms of large black midges that take the same name (owing to their appearance often coinciding closely with the same date) seem, nevertheless, to have occurred rather later than usual; another of the effects of a long winter perhaps.

A male St MArk's Fly (Bibion marci).  Copyright 2013 Ross Gardner.

A male St MArk’s Fly (Bibio marci). Copyright 2013 Ross Gardner.

Where it occurs the St Mark’s Fly is a hard species to miss.  I found them today filling the air above the vegetation and at times almost smothering the abundantly flowering Cow Parsley.  As larvae they live in the soil feeding on organic material and plant roots.  The airborne swarms are the males in search of mates, drifting lazily about with legs hanging distinctively beneath them.  Those with huge bulging eyes that seem to make up the entire head are the males.  The eyes of the female are considerably smaller.

St Mark's Fly in number.  Ross Gardner 2013.

St Mark’s Fly in number. Ross Gardner 2013.

On the subject of things arriving late this year, I couldn’t let the season pass without a shot of a particularly fine Essex bluebell wood taken last weekend.  To quote John Mills at the end of ‘Ice Cold in Alex’: “Worth waiting for.”

An Essex bluebell wood.  Ross Gardner 2013.

An Essex bluebell wood. Ross Gardner 2013.

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