Semaphore Fly

Pete and I spent the morning with his Mum, who very much enjoyed the freshly baked scones with jam, cream and fresh strawberries that I took along. Her partner was out doing errands for most of the time we were there - it was good to spend some time alone with her - I think she found it easier to talk freely about some of the things that had been worrying her. We left her a lot more cheerful than we'd found her.

In the afternoon I spent just over an hour in the dentists chair, having the second stage of a root filling on my canine tooth. My dentist is very kind and gentle, and I was so relaxed that I drifted off to sleep. It's not often that I get the chance to lie down in the afternoon! However, the news that he might eventually have to fit a crown was not something I wanted to hear.

I didn't get my camera out until early evening, when I photographed a few of Pete's specimens, including the unmistakable Sulphur Beetle Cteniopus sulphureus, Britain's only completely yellow beetle (see extra). This is a species of dry grassland mostly coastal, but extending inland in East Anglia. It can often be seen feeding on umbellifers like this Wild Carrot.

While I was photographing some reed beetles I spotted this Semaphore Fly Poecilobothrus nobilitatus lurking on a magnolia leaf. This is a common fly of well-vegetated wetlands, and can occasionally be found near our largest pond. The male has conspicuous white wing tips. He performs a courtship display where the conspicuously marked wings are raised and lowered, a bit like an airport marshaller guiding a plane to a parking spot with a pair of batons. Wingspan is directly related to body size, so the better (or bigger) the display, the healthier the male.

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