Saturday, June 16, 2007

Pied Flies and a moth

Last year I tried to get some shots of the pied flycatchers at Nagshead Reserve, but they were a bit shy, there are always lots of people around and the best most people seemed to be managing were digiscoped shots.
This year there were quite a lot of reports from sites near to, but outside, the reserve. I knew roughly where there was a nest site, and after a few wayward ambles into the woods I found it. The light was tricky - either bright sun with strong shadows, or more often shade when the sun moved behind the tree canopy. Still I ended up with a few shots that weren't distant dots.

One interesting event was the appearance of this second male. He went up to the nest entrance, but not in, and was soon chased off, although he did return.

The funniest moment was when a large fly landed on the rim of the nest when I knew the female was inside. I waited with bated breath as it strolled along. Just as I had decided nothing was going to happen the female shot out the hole, did a rapid 180 degree turn and dived back inside. No sign of the fly. Talk about a bad choice of landing site. Sadly the pictures were really too blurred to use as it was all so fast.
I could hardly fail to notice the winged insects with huge antennae flitting and dancing all around me. My first thought was that they reminded me of the longhorn caddis flies I used to see when fishing, but they had moth wings. Quick look in the bug book revealed them to be male Nemophora degeerella. The antennae are the longest of any British moth and in the male can be 4 times as long as the wings. Much shorter in the female.

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