26th July 2018 – Horsefly horror!

Tabanus sudeticus 1

I’m used to being harassed by horseflies during the summer at SML but generally they’re less bother than the stinging nettles, which topple and lean into the net rides when my back is turned and catch me unawares. I hadn’t realised that horseflies lay their eggs in moist ground, which explains their presence at SML despite the lack of livestock nearby. In fact, this summer, the dry conditions seem to have reduced their numbers significantly.

So, it came as a surprise when I spotted the beast in the photos, caught in one of the mist nets. Bearing in mind that the mesh is 16x16mm, it really was a brute. I had no idea horseflies this size even existed in the UK but, after a bit of research, I have provisionally identified it as a female Dark Giant Horsefly Tabanus sudeticus, apparently the largest fly in Europe. I’m glad to have seen it but definitely don’t want to become part of its food chain!

Tabanus sudeticus 2

In terms of the ringing it was slow and steady with 42 new birds:

1 Blackbird, 6 Blackcap, 2 Blue Tit, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Dunnock, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Goldfinch, 8 Reed Warbler, 3 Robin, 7 Sedge Warbler, 2 Whitethroat, 8 Willlow Warbler, 3 Wren.


Juvenile Willow Warbler – 26th July 2018

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