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June 2021 Observations Nature Observations

Fuzzy Flies and Song Sparrows

Sometimes my reading and my outside explorations overlap wonderfully. This year I’ve been reading through Flies: The Natural History and Diversity of Diptera by Stephen Marshall, and it is an incredible book, one I will have to review on here at some point. One particular group of Flies that I came across while reading grabbed my attention: the Thereviidae. They’re known as Stiletto Flies, but what really struck me was the fuzzy white appearance of the adult pictured in the book. I thought to myself, I have never seen such a creature and would love to see one. Well, about a month after reading about that group of flies, I came across one very similar. I’m not sure that it’s the same genus, but it certainly seems to match the general look of the Acrosathe featured in the book.

A Thereviid Fly, possibly Genus Acrosathe.

I attempted to take pictures of the Bluebirds (Sialia sialis) that are at my parents’ place. I never see Bluebirds in Simcoe, so it seems they prefer more open farmland habitat. I was proud of myself, upon seeing the shape/size of the bill and the face that I thought they looked Robin-like. And it turns out that they are part of the Thrush family which includes the American Robin (Turdus migratorius). The Bluebirds kept their distance, so this is the best picture I managed.

Eastern Bluebird. Note the longish blunt bill reminiscent of their relatives, the Robins.

Another bird caught my attention in my parents’ garden by its beautiful song. I should have guessed its identity right then and there, since it turned out to be a Song Sparrow, but I’m very cautious in IDing small sparrows or sparrow-like birds in the field. Recently I’ve come to appreciate the diversity of these types of birds. 

Song Sparrow perched in my parents’ garden.

The most exciting Arthropod find at my parents’ house, besides the fuzzy Acrosathe, was this Giant Mayfly (Hexagenia).

Giant Mayfly (Hexagenia).

When I arrived to take pictures of this individual it was somewhat entangled in a spider web, from which I freed it. The Spider owner of the web that caught a Giant Mayfly was suitably large and intimidating herself. 

Long-Jawed Orbweaver (Tetragnathidae) that had caught the Giant Mayfly pictured above.

Two other notable observations should be mentioned, and both are Butterflies. In the sandy areas of my parents’ farm I encountered several Common Sootywings (Pholisora catullus) fluttering about. 

Common Sootywing

And in the garden I managed to photograph a beautiful Northern Crescent (Phycioides cocyta) drinking nectar from flowers.

For other Nature Observations like this post, see:

The Wonders of Wrens

-A Visit to Big Creek, Part 1 and 2

Nature Observations: Pinery, Winter 2019

And for more nature observations, photos and natural history facts, check out my instagram at norfolknaturalist.

By hiebertjeffrey

I like to take pictures of wildlife whether it's ants in my backyard or birds on a trail. I love learning about the creatures that live on this planet with us and sharing that with others.

7 replies on “Fuzzy Flies and Song Sparrows”

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