I shared a bench overlooking Hay Meadow with the Dark Giant Horsefly on Monday. These flies are huge (25mm long) and apparently the heaviest flies in Europe. This one is female (her eyes don’t meet unlike the males) – not good news as she is the one that feeds on blood, though only just before she lays eggs fortunately; otherwise she feeds on nectar like the males. Thankfully she prefers the blood of cattle and ponies – watch out White Parks! Humans are sometimes bitten, though, and can have a severe reaction). Dark Giant Horseflies are not that common, mainly occurring in boggy areas in the north and west of Britain, so right at home in Fairfield Reserve. They fly in July and August.
I saw a stoat at around 6am yesterday morning on the track by Admiralty Wood (a few metres beyond the exit from the Pony Wood path). It bounded towards me as I walked towards the canal, only becoming aware of me when quite close – distracted perhaps by the enormous rodent (at least I think that’s what it was – I was concentrating on the stoat!) it was carrying in its mouth which it dropped and had to pick up again. Once the animal sensed me, it dived off into the hedgerow – the side on view as it departed gave me a good view of its black-tipped tail.
One Brown Hare sighted browsing on vegetation at the foot of the far hedge in West Field (Pony Wood end) at around 7am this morning (02/05/20).